The social construction of PETE in higher education: toward a research agenda

D. Kirk, D. MacDonald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


The focus of this paper is the social construction of physical education teacher education (PETE) and its fate within the broader process of curriculum change in the physical activity field. Our task is to map the dimensions of a research program centered on the social construction of the physical activity field and PETE in higher education. Debates in the pages of Quest and elsewhere over the past two decades have highlighted not only the contentious nature of PETE practices and structures but also that PETE is changing. This paper offers one way of making sense of the ongoing process of contestation and struggle through the presentation of a theoretical framework. This framework, primarily drawing upon the work of Lave and Wenger (1991) and Bernstein (1990, 1996), is described before it is used to study the social construction of PETE in Australia. We assess the progress that has been made in developing this research program, and the questions already evident for further developments of a program of study of the physical activity field in higher education. © 2001 National Association for Physical Education in Higher Education.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)440-456
Number of pages17
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • higher education
  • social constructionism
  • PETE
  • physical activity


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