Physical education: A platform for health education

Bradley Wright, Matthew Winslade

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Health and Physical Education (HPE) is one of the eight key learning areas included in the recently established Australian Curriculum (Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority [ACARA], 2017). However, the subject has been traditionally associated with the delivery of games and sports and not necessarily associated with academic outcomes (DinanThompson, 2013). Subsequently, the status of HPE has been weakened in comparison to other subject areas due to perceived low academic demands (DinanThompson, 2013). As a result of these perceptions, HPE in Australian schools has been typically allocated less time within students’ timetables than other subject areas, limiting the ability for teachers to provide high quality HPE learning experiences for students (DinanThompson, 2013; Jenkinson & Benson, 2010). Evidence has shown that the lack of time allocated to HPE has resulted in the often superficial treatment of important content areas, such as mental health, drug use and sexuality (Askell-Williams, Lawson & Murray-Harvey, 2007). Rather than demanding more time be allocated for HPE, this chapter details an alternative approach to HPE delivery that optimises time allocated for the subject and aligns to the structure of the Australian Curriculum through the use of games. The structure of HPE in the Australian Curriculum is distinguished by two strands: Personal, Social and Community Health; and Movement and Physical Activity (ACARA, 2017). The categorisation of these two strands reflects the division between two traditionally discrete entities health education and physical education (Tinning & McCuaig, 2006). Underpinning the philosophy of the chapter, MacDonald (2013, p. 100) emphasises the role of movement as both “a focus for learning and a medium for learning across the HPE curriculum and other curriculum areas.” The instructional model presented in this chapter represents a merging of health education and physical education so that it is delivered simultaneously, whereby physical activity acts as the platform to deliver a health education content and enhance academic achievement. This instructional model has been adopted as a pedagogical approach for Initial Teacher Education Students (ITES) at an Australian university. Throughout this chapter, the conceptual foundations of the model will explained, and a case study of the pedagogy in action will be detailed. Key words:
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPhysical education in secondary school
Subtitle of host publicationResearches – best practices – situation
EditorsStevo Popovic, Branislav Antala, Dusko Bjelica, Jovan Gardasevic
Place of PublicationSlovakia
PublisherFaculty of Sport and Physical Education of University of Montenegro
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)9789940722029
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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