Pre-service teachers’ understandings of difference and inclusion in health and physical education

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Health and Physical Education (HPE) is a dangerous mix of essential and exclusive. It can make significant and distinctive contributions to physical, social, emotional and cognitive development. It also excludes many young people due to an over-reliance on individualistic, performative and body-centred pedagogies which can prompt disengagement from HPE and/or physical activity and sport beyond school and, at the extreme, cause psychological harm. Despite attempts by initial teacher educators to encourage pre-service teachers to develop critical perspectives and pedagogies, existing research suggests that Initial Teacher Education (ITE) is having little influence over understandings that are historically reproduced and culturally entrenched. If ITE is to support ‘HPE for all’, then capturing understandings of difference and inclusion at the outset of teachers’ professional lives is an important first step. This research draws upon findings from semi-structured interviews (n=16) and an online survey (n=102) to explore understandings of difference and inclusion in HPE amongst first year pre-service teachers enrolled in the Secondary HPE course at an Australian University. The presentation explores the extent and limitations of ‘difference’ and ‘inclusion’ evident in the data and discusses implications for teacher educators.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2015
EventInternational Conference of the Australian Association for Research in Education 2015 - University of Notre Dame, Fremantle, Australia
Duration: 29 Nov 20153 Dec 2015


ConferenceInternational Conference of the Australian Association for Research in Education 2015
Abbreviated titleAARE 2015


  • inclusion
  • pre-service teacher education
  • health
  • Physical education (PE)

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