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Title: A critical discourse analysis examining the relationships between learning and health and wellbeing in Scotland's Curriculum for Excellence
Author: Spratt, Jennifer
ISNI:       0000 0004 5361 3003
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2014
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Scotland's Curriculum for Excellence (Scottish Executive 2004) reframes the role of teachers to include responsibility towards children's health, demanding that health and wellbeing be considered ‘across learning'. In legitimating intervention by schools in increasingly personal aspects of children's lives this policy has shifted the boundaries between the state and the child. The thesis explores how different professional and academic discourses of wellbeing are invoked in the context of learning, leading to a critique of the purposes of the policy. Drawing from Ereaut and Whiting (2008) five discursive themes are identified: physical health promotion; social and emotional literacy; care; philosophical discourse of flourishing; and sustainability. Fielding's (2007a) constructs of the ‘person centred learning community' and the ‘high performance learning organisation' are used. The former aligns with a welfare-liberal understanding of learning as valuable personal development supporting wellbeing as flourishing. The latter is underpinned by neo-liberal principles seeking to manipulate emotional wellbeing to raise performance. This distinction between learning for wellbeing, and wellbeing for learning informs the Critical Discourse Analysis. Data is drawn from policy documents, and semi-structured interviews with policy actors and teachers. Analysis demonstrated that the policy overlooks key contributions of education to wellbeing, prioritising discourses of other professional groups. Moreover, health and wellbeing is consistently and repeatedly portrayed as a prerequisite of learning, rather than an outcome of education. This invites the interpretation of a neo-liberal attempt to build human capital by harnessing emotions of children. However, this is tempered by the interviews, where more nuanced representations show how seemingly different discourses can exist alongside each other, demonstrating that there is space in Curriculum for Excellence for an interpretation of learning for human flourishing. The thesis concludes by offering a model demonstrating how discourses of care, physical health promotion and psychology could contribute to education for flourishing.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: University of Aberdeen
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Health education ; Curriculum for Excellence (Scotland) ; Learning