Imagination in physical education
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Home-education, school-education and recent technology revolution are intertwined in shaping children’s identity in the context of body movement and body-schema. Moreover, the notion of imagination in physical education emphasizes one’s “body image” and “body schema,” and is represented in a nature of object (i.e. body movement) and fantasized as the corporeal postural model of the body in one’s Utopian visions instead of reality action. As Sepper (1996) points out, “[i]magination by its nature has as object that is not really ‘there,’ and in dreams and hallucinations, it takes appearances for reality” (p. 1). The imaginational context of body movement, as a social phenomenon, varies from culture to culture, from traditional to modern/postmodern society, from a local village to a global world, and from actual to virtual reality. The purpose of study was to investigate how young children, specifically in third/fourth grade children, from different ethnic groups and cultural environments construct and present their body-schema in contemporary physical education classroom. Four major ethnic populations were focused upon: Caucasian, African-American, Hispanic-American, and Asian-American. Twenty-two third and fourth graders (8 males and 14 females) from Yaya Elementary School, Georgia, the United States and Cathay Elementary School, Taipei, Taiwan participated in the study. The methods of data collection included: 1) informal and formal interviews; 2) non-participated observation; and 3) document analysis. Data were analyzed by constant comparative method to achieve a better understanding of children’s body-schema construction according to their various family and cultural backgrounds so as to increase school teacher’s awareness of their different body movements and to help develop culturally responsive educational curriculum in elementary physical education. Four major themes were revealed in the study: a) father-image/mother-image and sibling-image/PE teacher-image; b) gender and sports; c) technology, body-image and the imaginary; and d) mapping cultural images. Results indicated children’s imagination in body-schema/body-image was found to be largely governed by both cultural and social elements. Consequently, youth identity formation has been transformed in a multicultural/global environment where social and cultural conditions had been drastically changed.