Physical education in post-Communist Poland : a transitory journey
In 1989 the fall of communism in Poland led to a shift in political governance from totalitarianism to a decentralized democracy. Changes to society were all embracing and reforms became central to implementing deep cultural change in a population that had for the last 43 years been subjected to authoritarianism. Physical education (PE), which belongs to the definitional framework of physical culture (PC), was ideologically driven by Marxist theories. Since then education reforms have led to new conditions of autonomy for interpreting curriculum, meaning that PE teachers have become accountable at local levels of governance. This study has been carried out to capture the transitory journey of PE as it adapts to reforms that are underpinned by decentralist policies, and conveys the voices of teachers at the individual level. A sequence of interviews (ท=33) were conducted, which overlapped process that included the construction of an open-style questionnaire that provided words from informants (ท=348) in Poland's reforming PE system. These words were used to discover a grounded theory on physical education in transition. The theory is explained by a globosity of change and concept, which provides an explanation of reforms. It has emerged that three layers construct this concept and that teachers are required to make 1) ideological, 2) structural, and 3) individual transitions. Further to this, two significant dimensions of transition were crossed to form a Four Scenarios Model. The model captures an analytic story that shows how teachers from different political eras make up the profession. Adaptations to the three layers go beyond the school context as an entire nation shifts to a new socio-cultural tempo so as to get in step with the metronomic pace of a culturally new Poland, one that is democratized, belongs to the European Union (EU) and understands the challenges of new economic frames.