AbstractIn this paper we suggest that official curriculum statements provide a relatively modest influence on
the emergence of Health and Physical Education (HPE) in school settings and that not enough
attention is paid to the other factors that influence curriculum practice in schools. We argue that
while the perspectives of teachers may reflect the conceptions and philosophies of particular national
curriculum documents, there are a variety of agents and discursive elements operating at the level of curriculum practice that influence how teachers in secondary school situations perform in the subject area of Physical Education. The metaphor of music is used as the basis for conceptualising
curriculum as a complex emergent practice resulting from the interplay of many different elements
operating at multiple levels of the education system. In particular, we identify four ‘rhythms’, that of
health, criticality, biculturalism, and technology, that contribute to giving New Zealand Physical
Education and performance of HPE in schools a unique style and character.
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