Awakening Movement Consciousness in the Physical Landscapes of Literacy: Leaving, Reading and Being Moved by One’s Trace


  • Rebecca J. Lloyd



Physical literacy, a concept introduced by Britain’s physical education and phenomenological scholar, Margaret Whitehead, who aligned the term with her monist view of the human condition and emphasis that we are essentially embodied beings in-the-world, is a foundational hub of recent physical education curricular revision. The adoption of the term serves a political purpose as it helps stakeholders advocate for the educational, specifically literacy, rights of the whole child. Yet, one might wonder what impact conceptual shifts of becoming “physically literate” in lieu of becoming “physically educated” have on physical education research and practice. Terms such as “reading” the game and metaphors that describe the body as an “instrument of expression” are entering the lexicon of physical education but from a seemingly cognitive frame of reference. Arguably, the extent to which the adoption of physical literacy has on dissolving Cartesian views of the body and the mechanization of movement it performs has yet to be questioned. This article thus acts as an invitation to explore physical literacy in a Merleau-Pontian inspired act of inscribing the world through movement and how a reading of a reversible imprint might awaken a more fluent sense of what it means to become physically literate as new curricular pathways in the field of physical education emerge.