The marginalization of physical education: impoverished curriculum policy and practice in Hong Kong

Johns, D.P. and Dimmock, C. (1999) The marginalization of physical education: impoverished curriculum policy and practice in Hong Kong. Journal of Education Policy, 14(4), pp. 363-384. (doi: 10.1080/026809399286242)

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This paper focuses on two themes - the marginalization of curriculum subjects and the gap between curriculum policy aims and the implemented curriculum. Illustrating these themes, the study focuses on the marginalization of physical education and the policy-practice gap in the Hong Kong school curriculum. A framework recognizing three domains - normative, institutional and resources - is proposed as a useful heuristic device to gain further insight into problems connected with the two themes and as a way of generating appropriate policies to address them. In accounting for the differential weightings given curriculum subjects, it is necessary to go beyond school-level (institutional) decisions taken by principals and teachers and to consider long-cherished Chinese societal values, reflective of the normative domain. What is considered ‘valid knowledge’ is a product of deeply ingrained Chinese socio-cultural values that place high esteem on academic subjects leading to careers in the professions, public service and highly remunerated work in the service-based economy. Schools are sandwiched between pressures from the central authority and from societal and parental values and expectations, leading to a policy-practice gap where core subjects, such as physical education, struggle for survival and resources. The three domains of the framework are used to suggest a number of strategies for addressing the problems of marginalization and policy-practice gap, one of which involves the adoption of a more integrated approach to the curriculum and a commitment to increase resource allocation, both of which could eventuate in changing societal norms and values. Finally, policy and political implications suggest that government policy makers endeavour to close the policy-practice gap by developing a closer understanding of the problems schools experience in implementing policy.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Dimmock, Professor Clive
Authors: Johns, D.P., and Dimmock, C.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Education > Professional Learning and Leadership
Journal Name:Journal of Education Policy
ISSN (Online):1464-5106

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