Effective pedagogy in PDHPE is centred around basic principles of teaching, learning and assessment.

Principles of pedagogy

Principle Principle in action

1. The learning environment is supportive, respectful and productive.

  • Positive relationships are developed between the teacher and students and between students.
  • A culture of value and respect for individuals and their communities is modelled, established and maintained.
  • Learning experiences promote self confidence and risk taking in student learning.
  • Effort is valued and recognised to support and encourage student success
2. The learning environment promotes self motivation, persistence, independence and interdependence.
  • Students set goals and take responsibility for their learning.
  • Students cooperate and collaborate to promote meaningful learning.
  • Teachers emphasise quality of learning through high expectations.
3. Student needs, interests and diversity are reflected in the learning experiences and program content.
  • A wide range of teaching strategies and learning experiences are used to promote different ways of learning and thinking.
  • Teaching strategies and learning experiences offer flexibility to respond to student needs.
  • Prior learning, knowledge and skills are recognised and built on.
4. Students are challenged and provide opportunities to develop deep understanding, reflect on values and attitudes and build and apply skills.
  • Interactive learning approaches are used to encourage critical thinking, creativity, reflection and problem solving.
  • Learning is sustained and progressive over time.
  • Learning experiences are reflective of students’ real life context to build connections.
5. Assessment is integral to teaching and learning.
  • Assessment is used regularly to offer feedback to students and inform planning and teaching
  • Assessment practices encourage reflection and self assessment

We do not recommend the use of shock or fear tactics with students in our schools. Fear and shock tactics are least effective in those who most need to change their behaviour. Others will reject the messages by denying, ridiculing, neutralising or minimising them as they do not reflect student’s own experiences.

External providers that use shock or fear tactics when working with students should not be engaged.

Research has consistently found that:

  • programs which attempt to use shock tactics or activities to frighten young people by focusing on disastrous consequences of risky behaviours are ineffective
  • the assumption that attempting to arouse fear or anxiety through exposure to shocking images, messages or trauma will result in a predetermined positive behaviour change is flawed
  • warnings may not match student’s personal experiences or perceptions
  • students detach and feel that they are not part of an ‘at risk’ group, therefore disengaging from the learning
  • the use of shock and fear can trigger feelings of anxiety and an emotional response in students, and teachers Work in partnership with other school staff to support students who find any PDHPE content or learning experience confronting. This includes ensuring support staff such as the school counsellor are aware of when this content will be delivered.

Plan learning experiences to encourage students to reflect critically on issues:

  • share thoughts and feelings
  • plan for action
  • contribute in a positive manner.

The resource review flowchart (PDF 472KB) helps you decide about the suitability of teaching and learning resources.

  • Preview and evaluate all strategies, resources and teaching and learning approaches in full before use with students to determine suitability for student learning needs, stage of development and local school context.
  • Consider the age, maturity, cultural background, sexuality, gender, sex, health and other characteristics of students in your care.
  • Apply professional judgements to all strategies, teaching and learning approaches and resources including audio visual materials (e.g. videos, media clips and YouTube), interactive web-based content (e.g. games, quizzes and websites) and texts.
  • Seek endorsement by the school principal before use of materials in NSW government schools.
  • Select the activities most suitable for your students.
  • Individual students within the group have differing needs and backgrounds. Modify or extend some aspects of suggested activities accordingly.
  • Consider and tailor lessons to cater for differing cultural perceptions of what should be taught at a certain age.
  • Undertake a comprehensive step by step process to assess any physical or psychological risks associated with an activity before following using a variety of teaching strategies.
  • Enable students to withdraw if they find issues personally confronting.
  • Recognise that some students may find it difficult to contribute to class discussions and may say little in group activities. Don’t assume they are not engaged in the activities but rather provide all students with the opportunity to contribute in less public ways.

Use visiting speakers and external providers only where this adds value to existing teaching and learning practice. Principals and teachers have primary responsibility for education programs in schools.

As a teacher, you have expertise in teaching and learning, knowledge of your students’ needs and abilities and the ways they learn. You are skilled in developing teaching and learning programs that address the needs of students within a curriculum context.

Use of visiting speakers and external providers should be embedded within existing programs where learning activities and opportunities for debriefing are provided before and after the event.

Consider the expertise and approaches of external providers or individuals prior to the event.

One-off speakers or sessions, isolated from the context of a planned approach to education, will have minimal effect in enhancing students’ knowledge and skills.

Effective programs should involve progressive learning that is reinforced over the school years.

Use the Guidelines for engaging external providers for curriculum implementation (DOCX 72 KB) when determining whether to use external providers to support curriculum implementation both within and beyond the school.

There are eight recognised and widely used instructional models in PDHPE. A combination of these models support student learning across PDHPE.

Direct instruction Teacher acts as the instructional leader.
Cooperative learning Students learning with, by, and for each other.
Personalised system for instruction

Students progress as fast or as slowly as they need to.

Peer teaching Students teach other students.
Inquiry teaching Students are at the centre of inquiry as the problem solver.
Tactical games Skill development and tactical understanding is developed through game play.
Teaching for personal and social responsibility Students learn through taking responsibility for themselves, being empowered and developing relationships.

The purpose of adapting and modifying activities is to:

  • minimise or eliminate disadvantage caused by the environment in which the activity is conducted
  • enable new rules and equipment to be introduced as players mature and their skills improve
  • continually review modifications and, if appropriate, phase out over time.

When adapting and modifying any activity it is important to:

  • ensure fair participation for all students
  • maintain balance between maximising each person's potential for involvement and success, and maintaining the integrity of the activity
  • make just enough changes to an activity so that it is meaningful and challenging for the entire group, but not so many that the specific skills required for the activity are underutilised
  • include appropriate challenges for all students in the class to support them to achieve a level of success comparable to their knowledge, understanding and skill levels.

View inclusion through the inclusion spectrum. When working with students with a disability, concentrate on what students can do rather than what they can't.

Use the Australian Sports Commission's TREE model as a practical tool to help modify activities or programs. Modify the four essential elements of an activity to make it more inclusive.

Special needs students

Make modifications when planning units of work to cater for classes that may include students with special learning needs.

Content modifications:

  • identify the key essential concepts related to the unit outcomes
  • sequence the activities/tasks in smaller steps for students who will need additional support
  • plan for additional demonstrations or guided practice of key concepts and skills
  • plan a range of alternate tasks that address the essential concepts at varying levels of challenge.

Process modifications:

  • use visual cues to aid understanding or expression
  • provide additional support for students through group work, peer tutoring, and/or buddy systems
  • change classroom organisation e.g. positioning students to enhance participation or maximise access to instruction
  • use scaffolds to support responses, both oral and written e.g. a planning proforma to structure response.

Product modifications:

  • provide for alternative formats for responses
  • allow oral, written or movement responses

Content modifications should:

  • be abstract, complex, varied
  • involve issues of organisation, study of people, methods of inquiry.

Process modifications:

  • involve higher order thinking processes
  • promote creative and critical thinking
  • require problem solving
  • involve group interaction
  • have variable levels of pacing
  • allow for debriefing of the process
  • involve open ended questions
  • allow for some freedom of choice.

Product modifications:

  • involve real world problems
  • involve real world audiences
  • require real deadlines
  • require transformation of learning
  • involve appropriate assessment and evaluation
  • involve extended or accelerated outcomes.

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