‘It’s not a priority’: Australian generalist classroom teacher experiences of teaching the Health Education component of Health and Physical Education

Vaughan Cruickshanks, Casey Mainsbridge, Rosie Nash, Shane Pill, John Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
22 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

The study purpose was to address a gap in the literature and gain a better understanding of Australian, specifically Tasmanian, primary school classroom teachers’ experiences of teaching health education (HE). By classroom teachers we mean generalist primary teachers, who in Australia typically teach all eight key learning areas (KLAs). In most Australian states and territories, HE exists within the health and physical education (HPE) mandated KLA, but often the delivery of HE is a responsibility assumed by classroom teachers as opposed to HPE specialists. Our study involved 53 primary classroom teacher participants in Tasmania and examined the state of play of HE. We used a mixed methods research design that included an online survey through which participants were subsequently invited to take part in semi-structured interviews. While participants tended to value HPE, we found HE was even more disenfranchised than physical education, within HPE as an already marginalised area, compared to “more academic” KLAs. This “double marginalisation” contributed to reports of inconsistent delivery of HE. Consistent with the health promoting schools agenda, we suggest a whole of school approach in addition to increased collaboration between teachers and increased HE professional learning opportunities for classroom teachers is required to facilitate change and increased prioritisation of HE in schools.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-125
Number of pages11
JournalCurriculum Perspectives
Volume43
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jun 2023

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