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Developing a pedagogical model for health-based Physical Education

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posted on 07.05.2019 by Mark T. Bowler
Despite global support for the role of physical education in health promotion, if we judge the subject against this goal alone, the profession has failed. Whilst multiple goals of the subject are acknowledged, this study positioned valuing a physically active life as the priority. However, physical education is characterised by multi-activity, technique-focused, sport-based curricula. Furthermore, when teachers modify their practice with specific health goals in mind, this often takes a fitness for sport and performance focus, despite a vision of promoting healthy, active lifestyles. This study builds on the groundwork of Haerens et al. (2011) who advocated for and initiated the first steps towards the development of a pedagogical model for Health-Based Physical Education. It aimed to develop a comprehensive evidence-informed pedagogical model, and to support teachers in the design, implementation and evaluation of the first school-based programmes using this model. Taking an eight-stage process to the pedagogical model development, this research drew on practitioner research, and most specifically, participatory action research, as its predominant methodology. Multiple and predominantly qualitative methods drew on Brookfield s (1995) four lenses: self-reflection, the experiences of teachers and students and the theoretical literature. Study participants were nine specialist physical education teachers and 263 students (161 male, 102 female, aged 11-14 years) from two diverse schools in the east of England. The findings present the types of programmes designed and implemented after teachers introduction to a theoretically-informed conceptual framework for Health-Based Physical Education. The impact of the programmes on students is considered against the four main goals of the model the development of habitual, motivated, informed and critical movers. The pedagogical model provides a comprehensive evidence-informed framework to support teachers to effectively promote positive physical activity behaviours in young people. It aims to support young people to be habitual, motivated, informed and critical movers. This model offers a new opportunity for physical education as there is currently no pedagogical model which forefronts valuing a physically active life as its primary goal.



  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences


© Mark Bowler

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This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at:

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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.




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