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The body as curriculum: learning with adolescent girls

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Abstract:

We discuss a curriculum project focused on the body as a legitimate area for study and on storytelling, reflection and critical analysis as legitimate learning processes. We used feminist and activist perspectives to examine the curricular processes used in work with four adolescent girls to help them and us understand how they experienced their bodies, the themes of the body that emerged, and the curricular processes and strategies that successfully supported critique. Analysis of our data revealed two major themes: being noticed and regulating their bodies. The girls experienced beauty as a means for being noticed by boys and accepted by girls. Standards of beauty were refracted through a lens of white supremacy. All four girls expressed dissatisfaction with their bodies and described active and strategic efforts to monitor, restrict, and control them. They expressed resistance to bodily regulation through critiques of 'other' girls. The findings of this study suggest a need for inquiry-based integrated physical education and language arts curricula based on girls' questions and concerns of the body.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00220270010006046

Publication date: May 1, 2001

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