student profile: Ms Rachel O'Brien


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Biographical details

Rachel O’Brien (Scheuer)graduated from the University of Sydney with a Bachelor of Education (Hons 1) Human Movement Health Education in 2013. In her final year of study, she had the opportunity to both conduct her own research as part of her Honours degree and to work as a tutor in Nutrition for Health and Sport in the Education Faculty. This dynamic (and busy) combination sparked her interest in an academic career for the first time. Commencing doctoral study in 2014, her research has now evolved into a project that combines many of the things she is most passionate about: hearing young people’s stories, being a part of school life, and critically considering the role of Sport, Health and Physical Education in shaping the lives of young people. Alongside her research she regularly teaches in Health and Physical Education units at the University of Sydney, Western Sydney University and the University of Wollongong and also serves as a Student Representative for the Office of Doctoral Studies Committee. She will complete her PhD early 2019.

Teaching and supervision

Teaching Fellow, 2018

The University of Sydney Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Teaching focused 0.2 role of Associate Lecturer in Health and Physical Education. This role involves unit coordination, teaching, curriculum and content design and development, administration, and service to the School.

Unit Coordinator, Lecturer and Tutor, Semester 2, 2018: 102072Primary PDHPE (Masters, Western Sydney University). Delivery of lectures, management of teaching staff, administrative duties, tutorial development and delivery, assessment marking and moderation.

Unit Coordinator, Lecturer and Tutor, Semester 2, 2018: EDUH4050Sports Medicine (Undergraduate, The University of Sydney). Development and delivery of lecture and tutorial material on Sports Sciences for HPE students.

Tutor, Semester 2, 2018: EDUP3034The Health Promoting School (Undergraduate, The University of Sydney). Development and delivery of tutorials on health and personal development curricula, focusing on critical pedagogy, programming and planning.

Curriculum Writer and Reviewer, 2018Alphacrucis College. Development and review of Bachelor of Education (Secondary) (Health and Physical Education) course design.

Tutor, Semester 1, 2018: EDUP3001PDHPE 2: Active and Healthy Primary Schools (Undergraduate, University of Sydney). Develop and deliver workshop material for Bachelor of Education (Primary) students in PDHPE pedagogy, focusing on Dance, Gymnastics, and Fundamental Movement Skills.

Tutor- Semester 2, 2017 EDMT5536 (Masters, The University of Sydney). K-6 Physical Development, Health, and Physical Education

PDHPE Teacher- Terms 3 & 4, 2016. Newington College, Stanmore NSW.

Tutor- Semester 1, 2016

Western Sydney University, Contemporary Childhoods

Tutor- Semester 1, 2015

University of Wollongong, About Young People

Tutor- Summer School, 2015 & Semester 1, 2015

University of Western Sydney, Contemporary Childhoods

Lecturer- Semester 2, 2014

University of Sydney, Identifying Health Determinants

Tutor- Semester 2, 2013 & 2014

University of Sydney, Nutrition for Health and Physical Activity

Lecturer- Semester 1, 2014

University of Sydney, Health of Young People (1)

Tutor- Semester 1 & 2, 2014

University of Western Sydney (Bankstown and Penrith Campuses)

Unit 101576: Primary PDHPE

Thesis work

Thesis title: Boys, masculinity and bodies in an elite school: the role of sport, health and physical education

Supervisors: Susan GOODWIN

Thesis abstract:

This study aims to hear and understand boys' experiences of becoming men within the context of Sport, Health and Physical Education in an elite school in Sydney. The study will employ a variety of critical methods including visual methods, observations, research conversations and interviews. Boys will be given the opportunity to self-problematise their masculinities, that is, to consider, reflect and critique their beliefs about masculinities. Throughout the research boys will consider questions such as: What does it mean to be a man? What is a successful man? What does it look like to be a man? How do I use my body to show my masculinity? The study will also explore teachers’ and coaches beliefs about masculinities and consider the way that they both embody and impart masculine beliefs upon their students throughout multiple aspects of elite school culture, both in the classroom and on the sporting field. The study hopes to provide boys with the opportunity to engage in critical discussions of masculinities within the context of Sport and HPE and, in doing so, promote considerations of diverse and dynamic masculinities.

Current projects

My study aims to hear and understand boys' experiences of becoming men within the context of Sport, Health and Physical Education in an elite school in Sydney. The study will employ a variety of methods including observations, research conversations and interviews. Boys will be given the opportunity to self-problematize their masculinities, that is, to consider, reflect and critique their beliefs about masculinities. Throughout the research boys will consider questions such as: What does it mean to be a man? What is a successful man? What does it look like to be a man? How do I use my body to show my masculinity? The study will also explore teachers’ beliefs about masculinities and consider the way that they both embody and impart masculine beliefs upon their students throughout multiple aspects of elite school culture, both in the classroom and on the sporting field. The study hopes to provide boys with the opportunity to engage in critical discussions of masculinities within the context of Sport and HPE and, in doing so, promote considerations of diverse and dynamic masculinities.

Associations

Student Representative for the Office of Doctoral Studies Committee, School of Education and Social Work, The University of Sydney

Member of Australian Association of Research in Education (AARE)

Member of AARE Health and Physical Education SIG

Member of AARE Gender, Sexualities and Cultural Studies SIG

Member of the Centre for Research on Men and Masculinities (CROMM) at the University of Wollongong

Awards and honours

Teaching Fellow, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, The University of Sydney.

Recipient of a 2018 HDR+ Student Grant from the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education Portfolio Strategic Education Grant Initiative.

Recipient of the Raymond L. Debus Bequest Scholarship (2017) awarded by the Sydney School of Education and Social Work.

Recipient of the Alison Lee ‘Theory in Education Research’ Scholarship (2016) awarded by the Australian Association of Research in Education.

Recipient of the RTP Stipend (previously) Australian Postgraduate Award (2014-2018) at the University of Sydney.

Recipient of the University of Sydney Alumni Scholarship (2014) in recognition of being ranked in the top 8 of recipients of an APA in Humanities and Social Sciences.

In the media

Accepted for publication:

O’Brien, R.A. (forthcoming). “Who’s that girl sitting with the boys?” Negotiating researcher identity in fieldwork with adolescent boys.Sport, Education and Society.

Sperka, L., O’Brien, R.A. and Enright, E. (forthcoming).What we talk about when we talk about gender: Constructing and deconstructing gender through physical education teacher education. In J. Walton-Fisette, S. Sutherland & J. Hill (Eds.)Teaching about social justice issues in physical education.

Conference presentations:

O’Brien, R.A. (forthcoming). Boys’ engagement with public discourse and gender and relationships education initiatives. In Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE) 2018, Sydney, Australia.

O’Brien R.A. (2017).“I’m a glorified MENimist”: How boys make sense of a ‘curriculum of manhood’ in an elite school.InAustralian Association for Research in Education (AARE) 2017,Canberra, Australia, 26-30 November 2017, Hotel Realm Canberra.

O’Brien, R.A. (2017) “Who’s that girl sitting with the boys?” Negotiations of gender, age and appearance in fieldwork with adolescents.InResearch Students Forum.Sydney, Australia, 26 October 2017, University of Sydney.

O’Brien R.A. (2017).“I’m a glorified MENimist”: Making sense of a ‘curriculum of manhood’. InNational Boys’ Education Conference (NBEC) 2017,Parramatta, Australia, 8-9 October 2017, The King’s School.

O’Brien, R.A. & Simadas, B. (2016). Questions we are learning to ask: A story of Australian education researchers becoming. InAustralian Association for Research in Education (AARE) 2016,Melbourne, Australia, 27 November- 1 December 2016, Melbourne Cricket Ground.

O’Brien, R.A. (2016). What do I wear? Giving voice to questions of affectations of dress and gender in ethnographic research. InAustralian Association for Research in Education (AARE) 2016,Melbourne, Australia, 27 November- 1 December 2016, Melbourne Cricket Ground.

O’Brien, R.A. (2015). Hearingfromthe boys: A critical ethnographic study to explore boys’ experiences of masculinities in an elite school. In 8thMeeting of Transnational Scholars for the Study of Gender and Sport. Basel, Switzerland, 27-29 November 2015, University of Basel.

O’Brien, R.A. (2015). Being a boy,doingman: Establishing research design and frameworks for investigating experiences of masculinity and body practices in elite schools. InAARE-UQ Health and Physical Education Theory and Method Conference. Brisbane, Queensland, 19-20 June 2015, University of Queensland.

O’Brien, R.A. (2015). Being a boy,doingman: Establishing research design and frameworks for investigating experiences of masculinity and body practices in elite schools. InResearch Students Forum.Sydney, Australia, 11 June 2015, University of Sydney.

Invited Workshops:

O’Brien, R.A. (2017). Focus groups and interviews in an elite boys’ school. InHigher Degree Research Methodology Workshops,Sydney, Australia, 18 April 2017, The University of Sydney.

Selected publications

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Journals

  • O'Brien (Scheuer), R. (2019). 'Who's that girl sitting with the boys?': Negotiating researcher identity in fieldwork with adolescent boys. Sport, Education and Society, Online first. [More Information]

2019

  • O'Brien (Scheuer), R. (2019). 'Who's that girl sitting with the boys?': Negotiating researcher identity in fieldwork with adolescent boys. Sport, Education and Society, Online first. [More Information]

Note: This profile is for a student at the University of Sydney. Views presented here are not necessarily those of the University.