Higher-degree research being undertaken by Becki Simadas




Dr Kellie Burns and Associate Professor Sue Goodwin

Thesis title:

What is the problem represented to be in the national HPE curriculum? HPE curriculum and the making of ‘healthy’ future citizens: Baachi’s WPR as an analytics for curriculum studies



Project description

This study extends considerations to the ontological and methodological starting points from which we formulate questions about curriculum. Following Bacchi and Goodwin’s (forthcoming) argument for a poststructural approach to policy analysis, it extends existing poststructural engagements with curriculum analysis, asking questions such as; How does it contribute to shaping social order? What assumptions about people and the world underpin it, and what sorts of effects follow from governing in a particular way? A way into considering these questions is offered by WPR: What’s the Problem Represented to Be (WPR) (Bacchi, 2009), which takes as its object of analysis prescriptive texts such as policy documents, legislation, government reports, institutional policies etc. WPR is also usefully applied to critical readings of curriculum, as it prescribes government endorsed “expectations for what all Australian children should be taught” (ACARA). Like other poststructural approaches, WPR allows a refreshing skepticism toward the full range of things commonly associated with curriculum: curriculum itself, the types of knowledge that support curriculum development and reform, as well as conventional tools for curriculum analysis.

Specifically, the study uses as a case study the rationale of the Australian HPE Curriculum, F-10. The research focuses on the proposals offered in HPE curriculum and how they constitute specific types of ‘problems’ for young people, families and schools. It is also concerned with the dominant frameworks of HPE (i.e. strengths-based approach etc.) and its assumed effects in producing and shaping the lives of certain types of citizens. Finally it considers what type of student citizen-subject the Australian HPE Curriculum (un)intentionally produces, and how this shapes assumptions about young people’s lives, their families and communities.

Becki Simadas graduated from the University of Sydney in 2013 with a Bachelor of Education (Secondary: Human Movement and Health Education) (Honours 1). Alongside her research she regularly teaches in health-education subjects at the University of Sydney and Western Sydney University. She hopes to complete her PhD in 2017.


  • Research Training Program Stipend (formerly Australian Postgraduate Award, 2014 - present)

Professional and community roles

  • Member of Australian Association of Research in Education
  • Member of AARE Health and Physical Education SIG

Conference presentations