My experiences with physical activity began at the early age of 3 when my parents enrolled me in dance classes. After a few years of dressing up as teddy bears and Teletubbies and shaking my bottom, it became clear that I had a talent for dance, especially tap, as well as an immense joy for it.
I continued to dance, expanding the styles in which I practised and improving my technique, completing dance exams, competing in eisteddfods and performing in concerts until the age of 17. Upon the completion of school, I moved away from my hometown, and as a result had to say goodbye to my dancing.
I believe that my years of dance training have seriously influenced the person that I am today. Not only has it improved my flexibility, strength and fitness, but has also improved my communication skills, ability to work as a team, and informed my love of performing which will hopefully help me in my endeavour to become a teacher and teach PDHPE confidently and competently.
Now in Albury, living on campus, I have participated in residency netball and touch competitions. I have also joined a gym, influenced by my parents interest in attending the cross-fit gym in our hometown, to keep up a healthy fitness level whilst at university. My newfound love of strength training in the gym has lead to many new and exciting health choices on my behalf and opening my eyes up to a whole new side of health and fitness that I’d never been a part of before.
In terms of my ownphysical and health education, I participated in the compulsory PD/H/PE school subject up until year 10, and then elected to continue studying the subject in year 11 and 12 for my HSC. PD/H/PE was my favourite subject in senior school and I found physical and health education challenging and extremely interesting.
An obvious influence in regards to the type of physical education that I participated in is my Mum. Being a gymnast as a child, she initially wanted to enrol me in gymnastics classes, but resorted to dance when she discovered that the classes were full. For this I am grateful, as dance became a massive component of my life and will continue to interest me for the remainder of it.
A major change to my dance career was when my dance teacher moved away and closed down her dance school. This resulted in my changing dance schools, where I learnt a new syllabus for tap and dabbled in ballet which I hadn’t had any experience in before then. Whilst in the beginning this seemed like a bad thing, at the end of the day, it forced me to learn new styles of dance and expanded my technique and knowledge, making it a positive and worthwhile change.
I’d now like to discuss the current state of play in terms of existing approaches to health, well-being and physical education. Historically, the inclusion of physical education in the school curriculum has been linked to ‘military training, fitness for war, nationalism, social regulation, and the promotion of healthy lifestyles and leisure pursuits (Kirk, 1996, p. 90)’.
More recently, Australia’s political perspective towards health is ruled by the rise of childhood obesity. (Ebbling, Pawlak & Ludwig, 2002). This increase in an inactive, unhealthy lifestyle is placing great strain on the health of our nation. PDHPE in schools not only aims to provide an opportunity for movement and exercise, but also informs students of the importance and benefits of healthy lifestyle and eating choices
Further, ‘In many schools physical education holds a lower status than other school subjects (Kirk, 1996, p. 91)’.
I have never been very interested in ball sports or contact sports, firstly because of my very serious fear of balls flying at my face but also for the reason that I was always a small child with terrible hand-eye coordination and often got intimidated by the bigger, stronger boys and girls in my PE classes. As a result of my negative experiences of sports as a child, I still carry some of these attitudes and feelings about physical activity today.
However, I have very strong positive attitudes towards health and wellbeing. I have always seen the importance of eating healthy and maintaining a good exercise regime as a means of looking after your body. I have such a great interest in this that I almost chose to study nutrition and dietetics instead of teaching at university.
My positive experience with PD/H/PE in year 11 and 12 has also given me a positive attitude towards physical education. I would be very interested in teaching this subject at a HSC level, however I feel that my lack of interest in the traditional practical side of PD/H/PE (i.e. sports) would let me down immensely.
The stereotypical image of a confident and competent PDHPE educator is one whom has an athletic physique, wears active clothing such as shorts, runners and a polo, and is often armed with sporting equipment such as balls, the sports shed key and a whistle.
In terms of the expectations of a PDHPE teacher’s actions and communication, I believe they are extremely intrapersonal people and therefore are able to form strong relationships with their students, even more so than teachers in other areas sometimes. To be a confident and competent PDHPE teachers, the expectations are that teachers have adequate training in the area, make time for and are interested in the subject, access to support and resources, and confidence in the PDHPE area. are expected to be energetic and charismatic, have strong personalities and are often known for favouring those students who follow the same sporting teams as their own!
PDHPE teachers generally have knowledge about and are skilled in most sporting activities. They are expected to be fit individuals and often have related qualifications such as their first aid and bronze medallion. The teaching activities that PDHPE educators are required to provide are either physical ones, set outdoors or indoors, to develop movement skills and fitness, or theoretical activities that delve into health and well-being.
I believe that PDHPE is extremely valuable in a primary education setting. According to the NSW Board of Studies K-6 PDHPE syllabus, PDHPE is an important key learning area because it ‘encourages an understanding and valuing of self and others, promotes physical activity, and emphasises informed decision making leading to effective and responsible action (syllabus, p.6-7). The study of PDHPE is concerned with physical, social, cognitive and emotional growth and development patterns, which is important to understand because feelings of self-confidence and self-acceptance are fostered by individual changes and development. There is also a focus on the development and maintenance of positive interpersonal relationships, vital because successful interactions with others are essential to meet an individual’s need for belonging and acceptance. The factors influencing personal health choices are seen as important in the PDHPE subject as an understanding of health issues empowers students to make appropriate decisions and adopt suitable values.
The PDHPE educator that I described previously was a purely stereotypical image. However, in saying that, provided was still a decent and believable description of a confident and competent PDHPE teacher.
In terms of comparing myself to what was described, I believe that I am confident and competent in certain aspects of PDHPE education, and less confident and competent in others. I know that with time, study and experience my PDHPE abilities will improve and with that, my confidence will increase. Although I disliked PE in high school, I enjoyed it very much in primary school. For this reason, I feel passionate about teaching PE in the K-6 context as I hope to provide the same joyful experiences that I had myself in PE in my primary years.
Assessment 1 digital presentation
PDHPE: Health & Movement Studies
Assessment item 1
‘You and the Profession’
(Morgan, & Bourke, 2008, p. 2)(Morgan, &
Bourke, 2008, p.
• PDHPE teachers generally
have knowledge about and
are skilled in most sporting
• They are expected to be fit
individuals and often have
related qualifications such
as their first aid and bronze
NSW Board of Studies
PD/H/PE K-6 syllabus
‘Direct concern with supporting the development of the
student as a whole person. Its implementation has the
potential to contribute to improved and ongoing quality of
life for all individuals within the community. The syllabus is
based on a broad notion of health that encompasses all
aspects of an individual’s wellbeing, inclusive of social,
mental, physical and spiritual health. It is concerned with
developing in students the knowledge and understanding,
skills, values and attitudes that will enable them to lead
healthy and fulfilling lives.’ (NSW Board of Studies, 2007, p.5)
To be deemed a confident
and competent PDHPE
should...• Focus on encouraging students to make informed decisions related to
health and physical activity to develop positive attitudes towards a
• Include participation in regular and varied physical education
experiences, which provide the foundation for a lifelong commitment to
valuing and leading a healthy lifestyle.
• Include systematic and explicit teaching of personal and social skills to
give students a basis for resilience and the resourceful management of
their own lives.
• Have the flexibility to treat sensitive and controversial issues in a manner
reflective of ones own ethos. (NSW Board of Studies, 2007, p.5)
ReferencesKirk, D., Nauright, J., Hanrahan, S., Macdonald, D. & Jobling, I. (1996). Physical
education and curriculum. In The sociocultural foundations of human movement.
Melbourne: Macmillan Education Australia. Ch. 10.
Ebbling, C., Pawlak, D., & Ludwig, D. (2002). Childhood obesity: public-health crisis,
common sense cure. The Lancet, 360, 473-82. Retrieved from
Tinning, R., MacDonald, D., Wright, J., & Hickey, C. (2001). How do students learn? In
Becoming a physical education teacher: contemporary and enduring issues (pp.
137-143). Frenchs Forest, NSW : Pearson Education Australia.
NSW Board of Studies. (2007). Physical Development, Health and Physical Education K-6
syllabus. Sydney: Author.
Morgan, P., & Bourke, S. (2008). Non specialist teachers’ confidence to teach PE: the
nature and influence of personal school experiences in PE. Physical Education and
Sport Pedagogy, 13(1) 1-29, DOI: 10.1080/17408980701345550