Physical Education Philosophy Statement 

Physical Education should be an embodied, empowered expression of the human spirit, all students have the right to move their bodies in natural ways and build their fundamental movement skills so that they can live full, active, and creative lives.

Unfortunately, too often Physical Education classes do the opposite and leave students feeling exposed, uncoordinated and like failures These feelings generated by negative experiences in Physical Education can be carried throughout life, leading to a reluctance to participate in Physical Education in later school and to never transfer to participating in physical activity as an adult for fear of feeling exposed and vulnerable as they did in school (Cardinal, Yan & Cardinal 2013).

The sedentary lifestyle and ‘obesity epidemic’ are touted as the primary goal of Physical Education is schools. Increasingly forbidding statistics are produced around the world that assign blame to up to 2 million deaths a year worldwide to a lack of physical activity (WHO 2002). Therefore, Physical Education has been called upon to exercise the fat and lazy out from Australian Children. However, this is a narrow, predominately white, male, middle class, competitive (Miller et al 2018) view of what Physical Education should be.

A view of Physical Education that does not account for the never-ending diversity of Australian school children, that promotes a right way of being healthy, that promotes thin, athletic bodies above all others. “To suggest that we build a [Physical Education] curriculum on the underlying assumption that individuals are to blame if they get obese, self-starve, become sick, and die is one of the most pernicious and obnoxious aspects of contemporary health trends and is particularly hideous when applied to children and young people.” (Evan et al 2004:387)

Research suggests that a lack of physical activity can be attributed to students not building sufficient Fundamental Movement Skills in the early years of Primary School (Dudley 2021:70) and so not being able to transfer them to the more complex skills needed to feel confident in participating in sports. However, the vulnerability that students experience in Physical Education must also contribute to this as everything is clear and on display for the whole class to see and whilst teachers may implement no bullying in the class, they are not there to stop it in the playground or on the school bus. Further to this many students experience Physical Education as a form of torture because “Adult-led games can be great fun for kids who freely choose them, but can seem like punishment for kids who haven’t made that choice.” (Gray 2013:142)

I believe that Physical Education is schools should be about empowering students to live their lives, much more than sports games and that it is entirely possible for people to live physically active lives and never play AFL, (even in Victoria!) or other ball sports to be active without running boring, exhaustive laps of the oval. I believe that physical activity should be embedded across all areas of the curriculum. Maybe if we stop segregating the mind and the body and see people as whole, we can reduce the pressure on everyone to be good at sports and start to recognise that the skills it takes to climb are tree are equally valuable and that free form dance is incredibly fun, engaging and a great workout and it doesn’t require any skills!

Children are naturally active and express themselves in embodied ways, it is the school system to requires them to sit still and listen. By tapping into students’ natural movement, I believe students can be more empowered to move throughout life not just when they join the local sports club. I believe then that the teaching of physical education should be primarily about teaching empowerment and self-belief, to use a strength-based pedagogy that encourages movement over competition and inspires students to feel confident making mistakes because they are learning and growing their brain.


Whilst historically Health and Physical Education are separated into two distinct curriculum areas with different teachers taking responsibility for each. I advocate an integrated curriculum that allows students to better make the learning links between the two areas. The Victorian Curriculum states that in Health and Physical Education “students develop the knowledge, understanding and skills to strengthen their sense of self, and build and manage satisfying relationships. The curriculum helps them to be resilient, and to make decisions and take actions to promote their health, safety and physical activity participation.” (VCAA 2021)

Physical activity should be integrated throughout students’ days through active lessons in all subject areas, learning in embodied ways and developing physical literacy simultaneously. In addition to this physical education must be imparted in a way that is fun and engaging and builds skills without competitiveness and supports, even encourages, mistakes.

Portfolio Overview

This portfolio presents collection of stimuli, lesson plans and activities that promote active participation and understanding of physical activity through experiential learning. Exploring the expressive movements and imaginative experiences found in Dance, Circus Arts and play for learning.

As well as the freedom for natural, intuitive movement that comes through outdoor education, educational experiences that are naturally inclusive and child-led with students instinctively finding their own Zone of Proximal Development that effortlessly leads to the overarching philosophy of physical education, that it promotes lifelong physically active citizens.


Cardinal B, Yan Z & Cardinal M (2013) ‘Negative Experiences IN PHYSICAL EDUCATION AND SPORT’, JOPERD: The Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance, vol. 84, no. 3, pp. 49–53, accessed 23 September 2021

Dudley, D et al. (2021) Teaching quality health & physical education, Second edition. Cengage Learning Australia, accessed 25 September 2021

Evans J, Rich E & Davies B (2004), ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes: Fat, Thin, and Overweight. The Social Fabrication of Risk and Ill Health’, Journal of Teaching in Physical Education, vol. 23, no. 4, pp. 372–391, accessed 25 September 2021

Gray P (2013) Free to Learn : Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life, Basic Books, 2013.

Miller J, Wilson-Gahan S & Garrett R (2018) Health and physical education: preparing educators for the future, Third edition., Cambridge University Press.

WHO (World Health Organisation), (2002) ‘Physical inactivity a leading cause of disease and disability, warns WHO’, 4/4/2002, Departmental News, accessed 20 September 2021

VCAA (Victorian Curriculum Assessment Authority) (2021) <em>Victorian Curriculum Foundation – 10: Health and Physical Education, </em>accessed 21 September 2021