Through Physical Education: What Teachers Know and Understand About Children’s Movement Experiences

  • Trent BrownEmail author


The purpose of this chapter is to present findings from a research project that aimed to uncover teacher understandings and conceptions of children’s subjective and ‘intrinsic’ movement experiences and associated meaning-making of such experiences within the context of school physical education. Subjective, ‘intrinsic’ meaning of movement experiences has not received due recognition within the physical education context. Movement is basic to bodily experiences and is at the core of the practice of physical education. A socio-ecological approach would suggest that to produce quality physical education, teachers need to understand and plan meaningful educational endeavours. Thus children’s subjective intrinsic experiences will help them understand their feelings, sensory experiences and ‘place in the world’. Eight specialist physical education teachers working in government secondary colleges were interviewed using semi-structured questions about their students’ subjective movement experiences, the contribution of their teacher education program to their understanding of this, and how their curricula and teaching skills could be developed in this domain in the future. Analysis of the results has indicated that most physical education teachers interviewed have a global and superficial understanding and knowledge of the concepts related to children’s subjective movement experiences, although their ability to articulate these is ‘clouded’ by dominant scientific expressions. Additionally, teachers intimated that their personal experiences in physical activities provided insight into how some groups ‘felt’ when participating in physical education. Implications for physical education teacher education (PETE) unit and program development are drawn, as well as suggestions for ongoing physical education professional learning opportunities.


Subjective movement experiences Teacher understandings Physical education 



This project was funded by a Monash University Faculty of Education seeding grant for 2009. The chapter has been reproduced in part from work that was presented at the 27th International/National ACHPER conference held in Adelaide in 2011. Additional theoretical work in the area of social ecology and phenomenology has also been included to re-frame and re-present the findings.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of EducationMonash UniversityFrankstonAustralia

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