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A Curriculum of Wellness

Reconceptualizing Physical Education


Michelle Kilborn

A Curriculum of Wellness seeks to encourage a deeper discussion about teaching our children how to be healthy and live well. It makes a significant contribution to the field of education as it features influential curriculum concepts nuanced with action research principles in a unified, intimate, and deeply relational inquiry into physical education teacher practice. This work presents a very practical yet complex and wisdom-guided way to transform teaching practices that follow more holistic understandings of wellness. A new mode of curriculum inquiry, wisdom-guided inquiry, is presented, providing an opportunity to open up a fresh avenue to understand curriculum and become engaged in discussions that concern teaching, learning, and public education. An outstanding feature of this book is its transdisciplinarity. While the story is situated within physical education discipline, this book has implications for all teachers and teacher educators because it provides insights that encourage us to consider more carefully the subjective insights of teachers and to understand these as central to being and becoming a teacher. A Curriculum of Wellness is essential reading for curriculum and pedagogy scholars, teacher educators, teachers, and other health-related professionals to think differently about curriculum and pedagogy – making it a great option for many related graduate and undergraduate courses.
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1. In bracketing “physical,” I am merely suggesting that this conversation can be applied to the broader educational environment. Much of what is presented in this book involves what it means to teach a curriculum of wellness, and this can take place in any classroom, school, community, or home around the world.

2. The term currere is the Latin infinitive of “curriculum,” which means “the running of the course” (curriculum, n.d.). Currere is theoretically grounded in existentialism, phenomenology, and psychoanalysis, and emphasizes the active nature of curriculum. The method of currere is an autobiographical process for individuals to “sketch the relations among school knowledge, life history, and intellectual development in ways that might function self-transformatively” (Pinar, Reynolds, Slattery & Taubman, 1995, p. 515).

3. This inquiry process relied upon a collaborative, reciprocal, and democratic relationship between the teacher-participant and researcher. This type of research is done with instead of on the teacher, where decision making is a shared process and meaning is co-generated.

4. Nonduality refers to unity rather than separateness. Nondualistic thinking rejects the subject-object dichotomy that is historically rooted in Plato’s dichotomy of Being and Becoming, Kant’s phenomenal mental world and noumenal material world, and Descartes’ body-mind dualism where mental substance (thinking) and corporeal substance (physical dimension) are separate entities (also known as Cartesian dualism). Rejecting the body-mind dualism allows us to consider the “embodied persons’ subjective experience in the world” (Rintala, 1991, p. 274).

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