Physical literacy & the effect of teacher/learner interactions: insights from Secondary School teaching

Erin McCarthy, Sue Walker

Abstract


 

Physical literacy is a concept which can be described as the ‘motivation, confidence, physical competence, knowledge and understanding to maintain physical activity throughout the life-course’ (Whitehead, 2011; p2). It has been suggested that people are the result of the interactions they have had with their surroundings, with a Monist view that explains humans as an ‘integrated whole’ (Whitehead, 2010). Therefore the richer these interactions are the more rounded the individual. This study investigated the interaction between three teachers and their mixed sex year seven pupils during a series of gymnastics lessons. A key focus was the effect of the teacher on the development of motivation and confidence in pupils and any progress in their physical competence.


Findings highlight the need for a pedagogical model based on respect for both teacher and learner, recognition of effort, progress and achievement and assessment for learning to ensure all learners move forwards on their individual physical literacy journeys. An environment which demonstrates a ‘successful ambience’ encourages pupils to take responsibility for their own learning, resulting in elevated confidence and motivation levels to be physically active (Whitehead, 2011; p167). Research into this field highlights the processes rather than the content, and it is this aspect that enables this research to be considered within a more generic higher education setting.


Keywords


Physical literacy; motivation; confidence; interaction; relationships

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Copyright (c) 2017 Erin McCarthy, Sue Walker

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