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Health warning!. Physical education is the foundation for, and cornerstone of, physical activity promotion. PE’s key contribution to public health is effective promotion of active lifestyles. PE pays a lot of lip service to this area…we talk a good story but we don’t always ‘walk the talk’.

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pe pays a lot of lip service to this area we talk a good story but we don t always walk the talk
PE pays a lot of lip serviceto this area…we talka good story but we don’t always ‘walk the talk’
As a consequence, school PEneeds to be taught bywell qualified professionals who regularly access professional development
The identified learning in PE lessons is as, if not more,important, than the selected context (i.e. activities)
To promote physical activity, it is not essential to exercise children to exhaustionor make everything fastand furious
Fitness testing could bepart of the solutionbut, unfortunately, is more often than notpart of the problem
pe teachers should know more about physical activity recommendations than fruit veg
PE teachers should know more about ‘physical activity’ recommendations than ‘fruit & veg’

5 a day

One hour a day

PE teachers shouldmeasure what’s important (e.g. physical activity levels, attitudes), not what iseasiest to measure(e.g. fitness, fatness)
Assessment policies should give credit where it is due…PE teachers should stop rewarding skills only
schools don t necessarily need more funds time or equipment to promote physical activity well
Schools don’t necessarily need more funds, time or equipment to promote physical activity well
me then
Me then
  • PE teacher: concerns about non-participants and low ability and/or disengaged pupils
  • Hope: pupils active out of/when leave school, didn’t care at what level
me now
Me now
  • Influences: Len Almond, Chuck Corbin, Ken Fox, Stuart Biddle…
  • 30 years of HRF…
  • Pragmatist

The role of schools and PE, in particular, in promoting active lifestyles and the extent to which this contributes to public health

limited to date
Limited, to date
  • To date, the effectiveness of school PE in this area has been somewhat limited.
  • Says who?
  • Why?
says who pe has not delivered the goods trost 2006
Says who? ‘PE has not delivered the goods’ (Trost, 2006)
  • Enduring emphasis on competitive team sports rather than true lifetime activities.
  • Failure to meet public health objectives.
  • Experiences not consistent with the goal of promoting lifelong PA.
  • Served the needs of athletically gifted children at expense of less athletic children whose need for regular PA and positive movement experiences is greater.
‘It’s boring until Year 10, you have to learn all the skills and do the same stuff over and over again’ (Smith & Parr, 2007)
  • 11-14 year olds: dissatisfaction with repetitive, skills-based lessons.
  • 14-16 year olds: more +ve, lessons more sociable, recreational, game-oriented, more choice.
  • But mismatch between PE and leisure activities.
if you re not good at a certain sport then you don t like it lake 2001
‘If you’re not good at a certain sport then you don’t like it’ (Lake, 2001)
  • PE: dislike of - sport, teams, competition; feelings of: incompetence, frustration, forced participation.
  • Competitive team sport - privileged position in discourse - polarised orientations towards sport, PE and exercise.
  • Need to challenge the privilege afforded to particular modes of participation and to make efforts both to recognise and value alternative activities and meanings.
resistant to change and requires radical change
Resistant to change andrequires radical change
  • Resistant to change; dominated by multi-activity, sport-based forms since mid-C20th.
  • Transmission of decontextualised sport-techniques to large classes. ‘When are going to play a game Sir/Miss’?
  • Learning rarely moves beyond introductory levels.
  • A conservative force in a largely conservative educational establishment.
but there are good reasons for pe s limited effectiveness in this area
But, there are good reasons for PE’s limited effectiveness in this area
  • Reduced physical activity in life generally
  • Competing, sedentary leisure-time activities
  • Limited (and/or reducing) PE time/resources
plus it s complicated difficult
Plus, it’s complicated & difficult!
  • Behaviour change and social reform is highly complex.
  • There are no quick or easy fixes to activating a nation.
are we serious
Are we serious?
  • If PE is serious about its contribution to public health, and is to be taken seriously, it needs to consider doing more than it currently does to promote active lifestyles.
pe the chameleon of all curricula
PE, the chameleon of all curricula
  • ‘Muddled mission’.
  • Educating in and through the use and knowledge of the body and its movement.
  • ‘Learning to move’ and ‘moving to learn’.
pe involves promotion of active lifestyles
PE involves promotionof active lifestyles √√√

BUT there is less clarity about:

  • What it is called
  • How this is achieved
  • How much it should be prioritised.
a rose by any other name
A rose by any other name?
  • HRF?
  • HRE?
  • HRPE?
  • HEPE?
  • Health and Fitness?
  • Fitness?
  • Active Lifestyles?
summary from research on hrpe
Summary from Research on HRPE

What do we know?

What do we NOT know?

how healthy is pe
How healthy is PE?
  • Expression of health in PE is neither universally accepted nor understood.
  • HRE = different things to different people.
  • Superficial understandings.
confusion narrow interpretations unfounded assumptions
Confusion, narrow interpretations& unfounded assumptions
  • HRPE = dreary drill, running laps, FT
  • PA = Fitness
  • HRPE = daily PE
  • HRPE = lifetime activities only
  • Health = shape/size/weight or a fitness/bleep test score
testing training and tinkering
Testing, training and tinkering
  • Teaching of activity areas untouched
  • ‘Fitness for life’ discourses commonly expressed through ‘fitness for performance’ practices e.g. testing, training activities.
mind the gap
Mind the Gap!



national curriculum for pe in england
National Curriculum for PEin England
  • Key Concepts: healthy, active lifestyle.
  • Key Processes: making informed choices about healthy, active lifestyles.
  • Range and Content: exercising safely and effectively to improve health and well-being.
physical education and health quebec education program
Physical Education and Health, Quebec Education Program


  • Adopts a healthy, active lifestyle
    • Commit to a process of changing lifestyle habits
    • Demonstrated by developing/implementing a plan that must include regular PA and by showing the ability to critically reflect on their own process and lifestyle habits and to analyse impact on health and well-being.
thrash yourself thursday tyt lisa mcdermott university of alberta canada
‘Thrash Yourself Thursday (TYT)’Lisa McDermott,University of Alberta, Canada
  • Canadian elementary school fitness-based initiative to produce ‘healthy’ students
  • Participant observation; conversations with teacher and semi-structured interviews with 20 pupils (6-8 years)
  • Discursive onslaught intent on reconceiving PE as a site for intervening in the ‘pathologies’ of ‘inactivity’ and ‘obesity’.
pete problems
PETE Problems
  • PETE is not adequately preparing future PE teachers to promote healthy, active lifestyles.
  • Changes need to be made to health-related interactions and experiences within PETE.
  • PE is unlikely to effectively promote healthy, active lifestyles without the health-related aspect of PETE being radically changed, especially and crucially the school-based provision.
health related models and approaches
Health-related modelsand approaches
  • Physical Activity, Fitness and Wellness Education (Siedentop & Tannehill, 2000)
  • The Stairway to Lifetime Fitness (Corbin & Lindsey, 1997)
  • Pedagogical Model for Health-Based PE (Haarens et al., 2011)
physical activity fitness and wellness education
Physical Activity, Fitnessand Wellness Education
  • To provide children/youth with the skills/knowledge that will prepare them to develop and maintain physical activity
  • Stairway to lifetime fitness: doing activity and exercise; getting fit; self-assessment of fitness and activity; self-planning; lifetime physical activity; lifetime fitness
  • Level of dependence – level of decision-making; level of independence
stairway to health
Stairway to Health

The Fun Theory

pedagogical model for hbpe
Pedagogical Model for HBPE

Draws on Jewett, Bain & Ellis’ (1995) and Metzler’s (2005) work on models-based practice in PE.

Central theme: pupils valuing a physically active life, so that they learn to value and practice appropriate physical activities that enhance health and well-being for the rest of their lives.

  • Requires that teachers’ beliefs are oriented towards self actualisation and social reconstruction.
  • The affective domain (valuing physical activity) needs to be prominent in planning for learning.
case for developing new pe for health pedagogies
Case for Developing new‘PE for Health’ Pedagogies
  • Surprising silence around the pedagogies to be used in the health dimension of PE practices.
  • Development of new, complex, evidence-based, personalised ‘PE-for-health’ pedagogies is next major step in PE research.
personal thoughts views
Personal thoughts/views
  • PE develops competent and confident movers who regularly participate in and benefit from PA...leading to a lifetime of activity and enhanced quality of life.
  • Enormous potential to contribute to public health but significant challenges/constraints, and unreasonable expectations.
but we need to
But we need to...
  • Distinguish PE from PA and sport.
  • Clarify the learning beyond improving performance.
  • Meet the needs of ALL, especially ‘hard to reach’/vulnerable children.
polarised views
Polarised views
  • HRPE = anti-competition, games, performance, fitness testing.
  • The teaching of skills and fitness need to be separated.
  • There is a hierarchy of activities.
non evidence based practice
Non-evidence-based practice
  • Fitness tests do not provide an accurate measure of activity levels.
  • Dominant games-based curriculum fails to acknowledge participatory trends of young people.
recommendations for physical educators
Recommendations forphysical educators
  • Student-centred: responsibility/decision-making; empowering; acting on dislikes, issues
  • Benefits of being active (social, psychological)
  • Develop competence and confidence of ALL pupils (fat, inactive, clumsy)
  • Reward/praise effort, progress, personal improvement (not just attainment)
pa promotion mind set
PA promotion mind-set
  • Routinely inform of activity opportunities in EVERY unit of work
  • Educate about how active should be and assist in setting/achieving activity goals over time
  • Regularly monitor activity levels (including participation in PE, inclusive XC) & help to self-monitor/regulate
  • Identify/counsel ‘low active’ pupils
reach out and move beyond pe
Reach out and move beyond PE
  • Engage in academic discourse across the curriculum
  • Play a central role in a whole school approach to health/PA
  • PA is not solely individually determined, it is dependent on social and physical support mechanisms
  • Communicate with families/community members
recommendations for petes
Recommendations for PETEs
  • Knowledge of: PA & health; determinants of PA; behaviour-change theories.
  • Understanding of HR outcomes and how they might be achieved; skilling/re-skilling; creatively connecting concepts with activities.
  • Becoming critical consumers of knowledge.
  • PA advocacy (parents; policy-makers).
  • Working with professionals, diverse learners, families in school & non-school settings.
disparate agendas for pe and public health
Disparate agendas for PEand public health
  • PE tends to reflect and reinforce concepts relating to fitness, sport and performance
  • While health education is more closely associated with health, activity and participation.
  • Consequently, PE teachers tend to be viewed outside the PE profession as sports teachers or coaches, more interested in performance and excellence, than participation and health.
and finally
And finally!
  • Activating a nation is complex. PE has a key part to play but can do better.
  • PE per se does not promote activity; pupils’ experiences and learning do this, determined by teachers’ philosophies, actions, interactions.
  • PE cannot be taken seriously in this area if it continues to pay lip service to it.