'Equity and difference in physical education, youth sport and health: A narrative approach', by Dr Hayley Fitzgerald and Professor Anne Flintoff, with Dr Fiona Dowling from the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, Oslo, has been published this month by Routledge and offers an innovative approach to the subject for discussion by students and academics.
Co-author, Professor Flintoff, comments: "Whilst many PE teachers claim that their main priority is for their students to have fun, research shows that for a good many children, they fail in this quest. For these young people, physical activity becomes something to be avoided rather than embraced, with many looking back negatively on their time in school PE. This book addresses some of these important issues and asks what can be done?"
The book is structured into three parts; the first provides an overview of current theory and research in difference and inequality in the field, together with an introduction to 'narrative ways of knowing'. Narratives are evocative stories about people's lives that aim to capture their everyday experiences; however they also provide insights into how those everyday worlds are structured by gender, race, disability, social class and other inequalities.
The second section of the book is structured around 15 short narratives, written by key international authors in the field, including the editors and two further Leeds Metropolitan academics, Dr David Carless and Emeritus Professor Sheila Scraton. These explore a range of issues including, 'Looking and 'feeling' the part', by Professor Flintoff and Professor Scraton, which explores the issue of PE 'kit' through the eyes of young women in school PE classes, and their teachers' responses. The narrative is based on interviews with sixty young people from four schools in Leeds which revealed their discomfort around their clothing and being taught in mixed sex lessons as significant parts of their overall PE experiences.
The third section of the book offers detailed, practical suggestions about how the narratives might be used in, or inform, teaching sessions.
Professor Flintoff adds: "This is the first book to explore issues of equity through narrative methods, and the first to examine narrative methods and their pedagogical value, in PE, youth sport and health. It should be invaluable reading for all undergraduate and postgraduate students, teachers and professionals who are working with young people in PE, youth sport and health."