How children experience national curriculum physical education
There has been a general reluctance within education, and in particular physical education, to involve the child proactively in the research process. Assessments of children's experiences have occluded possibilities for the development of understanding by the proclivity to employ restrictive methods of research. Herein potential is confined to accessing only those categories deemed to be of significance by the researcher. This study aimed to expand upon existing studies by opening potential for accessing new possibilities through the involvement of children directly in the exposition of research issues and development of theory. An interpretive approach, adhering to a grounded theory methodology, was taken over a three-year period of data collection and analysis. Following an initial year of familiarisation with the research field, through observations in four secondary schools, a case study formed the basis of the main body of research. Diaries, group and individual interviews formed the essential basis of data that was supported by observational study. Children involved in this study were found to have the capacity for reflection and analytic acumen to cast their experience meaningfully and constructively for interpretation. Therefore, although superficially findings supported many more general issues studied to date within the subject area, analysis revealed more specifically that children's experience of physical education was organised around certain domains of awareness. These configurations formed what I have termed a 'working consciousness' in given situations. 'Physical education' as a practical, spacial and social phenomenon heightens the significance of experience through the multiplicity of sentient possibilities that it creates for the child. However, in particular, the presence of 'significant' peers was found to be a predominant determinant of actual working consciousness, on occasion overriding 'curriculum' itself.