New research from The University of Western Australia has found that a short online professional development course could improve primary school teachers’ knowledge and confidence in teaching physical literacy in class.
The study, led by UWA PhD student Aaron Simpson and published in the Psychology of Sport and Exercise Journal, found teachers who were in the professional development group had significantly higher physical literacy knowledge and application than both the comparison and control groups.
The online professional development program evaluated in the study was the Australian KIDDO Certificate of Physical Literacy program.
KIDDO is a nationwide specialist program developed by academics at UWA that provides professional development, resources and programs for early childhood educators, coaches and parents. Formerly known as Uni-Active, it was launched in 2014 to help children develop the essential skills and confidence needed for physical literacy – the ability to run, jump, throw, catch and be active.
Director of the KIDDO program at UWA and Head of the School of Human Sciences, Professor Michael Rosenberg, said teachers were often confused between physical literacy and physical education.
“Physical literacy is viewed by many as the building blocks for an active lifestyle and can be described as the motivation, confidence, skills and knowledge to be physically active for life,” Professor Rosenberg said.
“Currently many primary school teachers don’t receive any formal training around the concept of physical literacy, which makes it very difficult for them to develop learning programs that encourage this in their students.
“The KIDDO Certificate of Physical Literacy was developed by academics and practitioners in Australia and internationally to help develop educators’ capacity to deliver physical literacy-based programs.
“This is an exciting finding that demonstrates that a short online course that complements available resources is an effective means for promoting physical literacy-related outcomes among primary school teachers.”
The study found that teachers who received the professional development were also more confident to deliver physical literacy, valued physical literacy more and faced fewer barriers to delivering physical literacy programs in their classes.
“This is an important outcome to share with those providers who develop resources and training for teachers to ensure that they can be as effective as possible,” Professor Rosenberg said.
KIDDO is funded by Lotterywest and Healthway.