Why study physical education?
Physical education supports the curriculum’s vision for our young people of enabling students to become confident, connected, actively involved, lifelong learners.
Physical education helps students to develop the skills, knowledge, and competencies to live healthy and physically active lives at school and for the rest of their life. They learn ‘in, through, and about’ movement, gaining an understanding that movement is integral to human expression and can contribute to people’s pleasure and enhance their lives.
Learning in physical education
Promotes active lifestyles
Students are empowered to participate in physical activity and understand how this influences their own well-being and that of others. By demonstrating the benefits of an active life style, they encourage others to participate in sport, dance, exercise, recreation, and adventure pursuits.
Challenges thinking in a fun environment
Physical education engages and energises students. It provides authentic contexts in which to learn. Students challenge themselves to develop their physical and interpersonal skills. They experience movement and understand the role that it plays in their lives.
Students can contribute to the development of physical education programmes and choose their own level of participation. The resulting learning environment challenges their thinking and helps to promote an interest in lifelong leisure and recreational pursuits.
Builds movement competence and confidence
The skills taught in physical education improve students’ performance, sharpen their knowledge of strategy and tactics, and help them to transfer knowledge from one context to another, including sport and recreational and outdoor activities. The concept of challenge by choice enables appropriate learning at a level that builds confidence.
Develops teamwork, leadership, and interpersonal skills
Physical education explicitly teaches the necessary knowledge and skills for working with and relating to others, and provides the learning opportunities to develop these skills.
It enables the development of leadership and teamwork skills and encourages students to transfer knowledge to other learning areas. It does this for example, by supporting students to work cooperatively in other subjects, or when working with groups in a leadership role in the school setting and in their lives outside of school in sports clubs or community groups.
Explores and develops decision-making and risk management
Physical education provides a range of opportunities for students to challenge and extend themselves in an environment of managed risk.
Students step outside their comfort zone to take on new social, physical, and emotional challenges. Taking on challenges and assessing risk requires the exploration and development of decision-making skills.
Triggers thinking and action to create change
Physical education teaches students to think critically about movement and movement contexts, for example, considering an issue from different points of view, identifying what is influencing the issue, and explaining how the influences are affecting the issue.
Learning to think critically encourages students to participate in social action for a fairer, more equitable, and just society by, for example, reducing barriers to participation.
Develops understandings about the social and cultural significance of movement
Physical education teaches students to critically inquire into the social and cultural significance of movement, so that they can better understand what influences people to engage and participate in physical activity. They consider how participation in movement influences society by examining issues, such as:
- why youth culture is attuned to adrenalin sports and adventure racing
- why people enjoy watching big events such as World Cup rugby or the Tour de France.
Creates learning pathways
Physical education provides a solid foundation for further studies relating to movement and the body, including the social and health sciences, recreation, and tourism. It provides a pathway into the many careers that involve and careers working with people, such as education, health, justice, and the social services.
< Back to rationale
Last updated November 27, 2011