Keynote address at PEPAYS Ireland Research Forum 2017
"Wholism, the physical body and wellbeing education"
Dr. Maeve O'Brien (Head of the School of Development at the Institute of Education, St Patrick's Campus, Dublin City University) and Dr. Andrew O’Shea (Co-ordinator of Human Development, Philosophy, Institute of Education, Dublin City University)
Thursday 15th June 2017 7.30pm to 8.30pm
Venue: Lecture Theatre, Department of Physical Education and Sport Sciences, University of Limerick
Much of the policy in education today tends to fragment an already overburdened curriculum and to pull away from the value of wholism, as something that is both comprehensive and integrative in terms of pedagogy and the broad aims of education. Wellbeing has emerged as a discourse in education that promises to meet some of these current challenges and to bring together new thinking about development that addresses students as subjects who engage with subjects in a learning environment. However, fragmentation of the curriculum parallels the fragmentation of the person and how he or she has been understood in relation to the valuing and prioritizing of some forms of learning over others. In this way the bodies of individuals and the ‘student body’ have been often at odds.
This presentation explores some of the challenges for Physical Education today as a subject, that while often marginalised within schooling and sometimes narrowly understood, has real potential to facilitate broad and deep learning. Through its work with the physical body as a medium for development and on its own terms, Physical Education has real potential in supporting the wellbeing of students. In taking stock of some of the historical and policy problems around wholism, we set the scene for a dialogue about wellbeing and the body as a necessary part of relational experience and development. Drawing on our own wellbeing research in the context of the award winning film Monsieur Lazhar, we explore the issue of ‘no touch’ as something that concerns the basic ingredients of healthy relationship. How through a focus on the significance of the body and its vulnerabilities can we better integrate the subject of Physical Education within a wholistic understanding of development.