Implementing a critical inquiry approach in HPE

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


If we are to respond to international calls for the design of more meaningful experiences for young people within Health and Physical Education (HPE), more is needed to understand how teachers and students engage with authentic inquiry-based approaches within HPE. This project builds on a series of pilot studies where teachers were encouraged to support students to identify, research and take action on a range of physical activity issues that students identified as important to them and their community members. This paper explores teacher and learner engagement, assessment approaches linked to knowledge outcomes, and the establishment of community stakeholder collaborations as part of a unit of work called Take Action. Researchers, as embedded participants within a year 10 HPE classroom, drew on a range of teacher and student interview data, student produced work samples and field notes to explore the teaching and learning context. Results revealed struggles and successes that give insight into the benefits and the challenges associated with implementing authentic inquiry-based pedagogies in HPE. Overall, students highly valued the opportunity to identify and work on an issue they felt had relevance to their lived experiences of physical activity. Teachers and students benefit greatly through establishing early links with community members who have a stake in the student identified issues. Greater support is needed for HPE teachers to: implement authentic inquiry-based pedagogies; facilitate the development of learning outcomes linked with formal and informal assessment through authentic inquiry-based approaches and; to foster community stakeholders as learning allies in inquiry-based learning. Authentic, inquiry-based pedagogies show significant promise if HPE is to provide a more inclusive, engaging and educationally substantive contribution to learning.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2015
EventACHPER International Conference 2015 - Prince Alfred College, Adelaide, Australia
Duration: 13 Apr 201515 Apr 2015
Conference number: 29th


ConferenceACHPER International Conference 2015
Abbreviated titleACHPER 2015
Internet address


  • critical inquiry
  • physical education
  • Health and Physical Education
  • Pedagogy

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