Jane Austen's Views on Dance, Physical Activity, and Gender as an Interdisciplinary Topic
Hearn, Colleen Porter, JOPERD--The Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance
Right now, the United States Department of Education recommends that teachers should make connections between abstract and concrete concepts as part of best practices, in order to
help students understand challenging topics and learn to transfer their understanding to new situations. There are many ways teachers can connect the abstract and the concrete including using stories, simulations, hands-on activities, visual representations, and real-world problem solving. (Doing What Works, n.d.)
Many required readings have references to dance, physical education, recreation, or health. What better way to understand an author's meaning than by analyzing the HPERD disciplines as "hands-on activities" and "visual representations?" This article describes how one author makes this connection between abstract and concrete concepts, namely Jane Austen (1775-1817)--who advocated for all of our disciplines in her writings. This article will also examine a few ways that teachers can help their students to appreciate the dance and sports-oriented topics within Austen's novels.
Whatever one's opinion of the writings of Jane Austen, an examination of the author's words reveals that she clearly supported dance and other forms of physical activity as a creative, healthy lifestyle - perhaps even as a form of women's rights in a time when society taught ladies to be demure, delicate, and never super-athletic. "True" ladies were generally restricted to their domestic and social activities within the confines of the home or other places considered appropriate, while the gentlemen demonstrated their physical prowess through competitive outdoor sports and military exercises. Although not a rebel, Austen did indeed challenge these restrictions, even earning a living briefly as a celebrated author, a profession that was generally unacceptable for women of her class. Austen lived for a while in Bath, a popular English resort of hot springs and spas, which the …
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Publication information: Article title: Jane Austen's Views on Dance, Physical Activity, and Gender as an Interdisciplinary Topic. Contributors: Hearn, Colleen Porter - Author. Journal title: JOPERD--The Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance. Volume: 81. Issue: 2 Publication date: February 2010. Page number: 6+. © 2009 American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD). COPYRIGHT 2010 Gale Group.
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