Environmental attunement in the health and physical education canon: emplaced connection to embodiment, community and ‘nature’

Rosie Welch, Nicole Taylor, Michael Gard

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialOtherpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


There have been unresolved calls for educators to connect and translate environmental links within health and physical education given the enduring absence, yet overlapping citizen priorities of health. In this Introductory paper to the Special Issue of environmental attunement in the health and/or physical education canon, we question if and how notions of nature and the environment might paradigmatically belong more centrally to the discipline. After some author positioning and situating this work, we draw on theories of attunement to consider what our use of the term ‘environmental attunement’ offers for shaping epistemological habits and ontological work across health studies and physical education. As part of this, we explore the possibilities and challenges for expanding embodied connections to place, space and ‘nature’. We highlight the omnipresence of eco-health, environmentalism, ‘nature’ and Indigenous ways of knowing as central to a pressing socio-cultural context and politics, yet the absence of epistemological habits in health and physical education responding to this need. To conclude we map links and possibilities from the literature to argue for the necessity of ‘environmental attunement’ to more centrally underpin teachers’ ecological identities in learning about health and human movement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)349-362
Number of pages14
JournalSport, Education and Society
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • attunement
  • Environment
  • epistemological habits
  • health education
  • nature
  • physical education
  • relational ontologies

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