Publication Details

Welch, R. & Wright, J. (2011). Tracing discourses of health and the body: exploring pre-service primary teachers' constructions of `healthy¿ bodies. Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, 39 (3), 199-210.


Contemporary notions of childhood overweight and obesity have become increasingly influential in curriculum and pedagogy in school-based Health and Physical Education (HPE). Teachers' delivery of HPE subject matter and related school practices are likely to have a considerable impact on the attitudes and beliefs of the children they teach, particularly in the primary school. It thus becomes important to consider the ways of thinking about and doing health (discourse positions on health) that teachers bring to their teaching of HPE. This paper examines pre-service teachers' positions in relation to the health discourses to better understand what teachers, in this case beginning teachers, bring to their teaching of HPE and interactions with children in primary schools. It draws on a Foucauldian approach to discourse analysis to analyse pre-service teachers' qualitative survey and interview responses to questions about meanings of health. Three key positions emerged, signifying Agreement, Disagreement and Negotiated positions in relation to the dominant discourses of health and the body.

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