What counts as 'nature' in designing environmental links to health and physical education curriculum in initial teacher education?

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


In this presentation we report on a student co-design project that explored pre-service primary generalist teachers' ideations of the pedagogical links between the Australian Curriculum: Health and Physical Education (AC:HPE) and 'nature', play and the environment. As part of students' coursework in a Master of Teaching degree at an Australian University, students were invited to design a HPE activity that would connect primary school students (F-6) with nature. We conducted a 3-hour suite of online learning activities and prompts using Zoom, Padlet and Moodle. The data consists of the students' curriculum design artefacts as well as recordings of the group discussions and non-assessment based presentations of their work. Drawing on Kyttä's (2004) framework of the sensorial-physical and socio-cultural influences of learning in the natural environment, we present an analysis of the ways in which n=18 groups (each comprised of 3-5 students) conceptualised 'nature' and HPE across their activity designs. The findings include a thematic analysis of the groups learning designs for the ways the activities incorporate themes of nature via exploration, embodiment, cultivation, appropriation and representation. Through the activities of the co-design workshop, students were surprised with the variety of pedagogical possibilities and links that were able to be made. We found that the majority of students prior to the workshop had not previously considered the HPE learning area to be linked to 'nature'. We examine the qualities of these designs of student-nature interactions and the students' interpretations and links made to the HPE curriculum. We then report on the constraints and possibilities of where nature based activities were situated and the decisional balancing of safety and risk. The analysis and discussion has implications for the way quality health and physical education interactions are linked to nature-based learning environments, teacher education and contemporary curriculum enactment that incorporates nature and the environment as part of learning design.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2022
EventInternational Conference of the Australian Association for Research in Education 2022: Transforming the Future of Education: The Role of Research - University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia
Duration: 28 Nov 20221 Dec 2022


ConferenceInternational Conference of the Australian Association for Research in Education 2022
Abbreviated titleAARE 2022
Internet address

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