School of Education
In February 2007 a new senior secondary Physical Education Studies (PES) was introduced in Western Australia (WA). The course was one of approximately 50 new courses that were developed in conjunction with the introduction of new Western Australian Certificate of Education (WACE). Notably, the rationale for PES claims that the “integration of theory and practice is central to studies in this course” (Curriculum Council of WA, 2009, Physical Education Course Syllabus, p. 2). This paper draws on findings from an ongoing PhD study to examine the notion of integrated theory and practice in the context of senior schooling. It will acknowledge that pedagogy is not a discrete entity, and is influenced by a range of different factors, not least in senior schooling, examinations. The paper initially draws on literature addressing pedagogical practice in physical education (PE) in senior schooling, as a backdrop to the case for “the integration of theory and practice" (in the context of PES in WA) and briefly reports on how this was progressed in the initial course design and then subsequently during implementation. Attention then focuses on a series of case studies which reflect the ultimate aim of the study, that of identifying legitimate and original practice in the field of senior school PES, and specifically integrated theory – prac pedagogy. The paper discusses different ways in which integration has been interpreted and enacted in the case study schools and the factors influencing the various approaches and responses identified. This paper extends insights into the various discourses impacting integration and highlights the need for more work that engages with the complexities of how curriculum and assessment discourses can be effectively mediated through pedagogical practice.