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Characteristics of Teacher Training in School-Based Physical Education Interventions to Improve Fundamental Movement Skills and/or Physical Activity: A Systematic Review



Fundamental movement skill (FMS) competence is positively associated with physical activity (PA). However, levels of both FMS and PA are lower than expected. Current reviews of interventions to improve FMS and PA have shown that many school-based programs have achieved positive outcomes, yet the maintenance of these interventions is variable. Teachers play a central role in the success and longevity of school-based interventions. Despite the importance of teacher engagement, research into the nature and quality of teacher training in school-based PA and FMS interventions has received little attention.


The aim of this systematic review was to investigate the type and quantity of teacher training in school-based physical education PA and/or FMS interventions, and to identify what role teacher training had on the intervention outcome.


A systematic search of eight electronic databases was conducted. Publication date restrictions were not implemented in any database, and the last search was performed on 1 March 2015. School physical education-based interventions facilitated by a school teacher, and that included a quantitative assessment of FMS competence and/or PA levels were included in the review.


The search identified 39 articles. Eleven of the studies measured FMS, 25 studies measured PA and three measured both FMS and PA. Nine of the studies did not report on any aspect of the teacher training conducted. Of the 30 studies that reported on teacher training, 25 reported statistically significant intervention results for FMS and/or PA. It appears that teacher training programs: are ≥ 1 day; provide comprehensive subject and pedagogy content; are framed by a theory or model; provide follow-up or ongoing support; and measure teacher satisfaction of the training, are more effective at improving student outcomes in FMS and/or PA. However, the provision of information regarding the characteristics of the teacher training was largely inadequate. Therefore, it was difficult to ascertain which teacher training characteristics were most important in relation to intervention effectiveness.


It is clear that whilst teachers are capable of making substantial improvements in student outcomes in PA and FMS, the findings of this review suggest the teacher training component of school-based PA and/or FMS interventions is not only under-reported but is under-studied, and, perhaps as a result, the value of teacher training is not widely understood. What remains unclear, due to poor reporting, is what role teacher training is having on these outcomes.

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Correspondence to Natalie Lander.

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Lisa Barnett is supported by an Alfred Deakin Fellowship. Jo Salmon is supported by a National Health and Medical Research Council Principal Research Fellowship (APP1026216). No sources of funding were used to assist in the preparation of this review.

Conflict of interest

Natalie Lander, Narelle Eather, Phillip Morgan, Jo Salmon, and Lisa Barnett declare that they have no conflicts of interest that are relevant to the content of this review.

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Lander, N., Eather, N., Morgan, P.J. et al. Characteristics of Teacher Training in School-Based Physical Education Interventions to Improve Fundamental Movement Skills and/or Physical Activity: A Systematic Review. Sports Med 47, 135–161 (2017).

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  • Physical Activity
  • Physical Education
  • Pedagogical Content Knowledge
  • Teacher Training
  • Teacher Training Program