Looking beyond what's broken: towards an appreciative research agenda for physical education and sport pedagogy
Enright, E, Hill, J, Sanford, R & Gard, M in press, 'Looking beyond what's broken: towards an appreciative research agenda for physical education and sport pedagogy', Sport, Education and Society.
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Despite the volume of research devoted to the many ills that beset the pedagogical field of physical education and sport, we begin by arguing that there has been insufficient attention given to the way scholars conceptualise change and imagine bringing it about. In particular, we point to a tendency within the field to prioritise problems—what's broken—and suggest that this tendency harbours a self-fulfilling logic. Although somewhat oversold by some of its advocates, we then draw on Appreciative Inquiry (AI) as a potential intellectual resource for new agenda setting in physical education and sport pedagogy (PESP) research. AI invites researchers to prioritise the positive in the research contexts they study with a view to discovering and generating stories about success that research participants and scholars alike might build on. We argue that an appreciative agenda calls for more flexible and open communication about the start and imagined end points of our research, and a greater emphasis on collaboration that takes seriously the capacity of research participants to be the authors of change and the source of new directions in PESP inquiry.