Primary school Physical Education (PE) specialist teachers’ experiences of teaching Health Education and Physical Education

Vaughan Cruickshank, Shane Pill, John Williams, Casey Mainsbridge, Rosie Nash

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Abstract

The purpose of this paper was to extend understanding of the studied phenomenon: primary school Physical Education (PE) specialist teachers’ experiences of teaching Health Education and Physical Education within the Learning Area Health and Physical Education (HPE) in their schools. Figurational sociology guided the research, which employed an explanatory sequential mixed methodology consisting of an online survey with 94 participants, followed by semi-structured interviews with 11 purposively sampled participants. Survey data indicated participants perceived their students undertook approximately one hour of HPE each week, except for Kindergarten students, who completed just over 40 minutes. This is less than the notional 80 hours a year recommended for delivering the subjects Health Education (HE) and Physical Education (PE) within the Australian Curriculum. Participants perceived HPE delivery in their primary schools was predominantly PE focused, and therefore, HE was ‘falling between the cracks’. Thematic analysis of the interview data led to the identification of themes reflecting specialist teachers’ perceptions of HE being the remit of class teachers, marginalised due to a crowded curriculum and lack of collaboration between PE specialists and classroom teachers. There is significant scope for HE not to be taught or not be taught well in the primary schools represented in the data provided by participants in this study. Improved collaboration between class teachers and PE teachers, increased support and prioritisation from senior staff (e.g. principals) and increased HE professional learning opportunities for class teachers are required.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages11
JournalCurriculum Perspectives
Early online date10 Jul 2023
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 10 Jul 2023

Keywords

  • Health education
  • Physical education
  • Figurational sociology
  • Primary school

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