Impact building to develop lifelong healthy attitudes: the critical role of educators

Schools and educators play a critical role in promoting and preparing children and young people to lead a physically active and healthy life. We work with, and support teachers who are educating children not only about the importance and values of physical activity, but also imparting the knowledge and skills pertaining to movement and physical literacy. This is done through the provision of quality health and physical education (HPE) in schools.

Starting small and building the foundations will lead to long term change, and the role teachers play in establishing healthy attitudes to being active and confident cannot be underestimated.

With less than one month to go, we’re counting down the days and getting excited about our upcoming Annual HPE Conference on 23-24 November at Monash University Clayton Campus.

This year’s conference theme, Impact on Tomorrow presents an opportunity for our HPE teachers to come together over two days of intensive learning, networking and impact building. Every session has been put together to help you create a lasting impact as educators on your students. Our impact starts with you, your impact continues with tomorrow’s generation, today!

Your professional learning is critical to ensure you stay up to date with the latest technologies, new approaches to education and best practices in pedagogy. Have a lasting Impact on Tomorrow by learning and evolving with your peers, industry experts and providers. We’re thrilled to bring you these opportunities at Victoria’s largest HPE teaching event.

The full conference program has been released and electives are ready for selection, so now's the time to check your registration and avoid disappointment by getting in early to select your sessions.

Need a little help advocating to join us at this years’ conference?

To help you share this opportunity with the leaders at your school, we have created an advocacy letter template for you to personalise and submit for approval. Download and fill out the word doc template letter to share here >>

Our keynote speaker and feature presenters are leaders and impact builders in their respective fields. We are grateful for the opportunity to hear their real-world experiences and success stories. Read on for details about their work and the sessions they’ll be presenting below:

  • Keynote speaker: Emma Murray | "High Performance Mindfulness"

When it comes to building the mental strength to thrive under pressure – there are few more qualified than Emma Murray. Emma’s High Performance Mindfulness (HPM) has not only taken AFL teams to premiership glory, motorsport drivers to championships, Australian cricketers to Test debuts and Olympic athletes to the podium, it has helped Emma’s own family thrive amid tragedy.

From an early age, Emma had a love of sport. In her teens she was a national-level netballer and attended the AIS before pursuing a goal to practice as a mind coach by becoming an accredited mindfulness and meditation teacher, NLP Master Practitioner and Clinical Hypnotherapist.

Emma’s HPM practice is grounded in the science and art of mindfulness - but not traditional mindfulness as you may know it… Emma’s version was created specifically for today’s modern world. to help bridge the gap between simply ‘being’ and the reality we all face each day of ‘performing’, whether that performance is juggling work and home-schooling during lockdown or preparing for an important meeting at work. Her practical strategies help people bring their best in high pressure, high expectation moments with a focus on how to recognise and overcome the unhelpful ‘self-talk’ that can strip us of our strengths when we need them most. Emma has been working for over a decade with elite athletes, CEOs, professionals and students helping them to train their ‘mind muscle’ to unlock greater productivity, efficiency and performance. Her HPM practice builds the mindset skills and thinking patterns to lead and execute at your very best every day.

  • Feature presentation: Dr Zali Yager, The Embrace Collective | “The power of supporting young people to embrace their bodies”

Dr Zali Yager is the Executive Director of The Embrace Collective and Adjunct Associate Professor at the Institute of Health and Sport at Victoria University. Zali has a Health and Physical Education background, and is an internationally recognised body image researcher, known for figuring out 'what works' to build positive body image in school and community settings.

She is now making sure that the best evidence-based body image resources get out to the people that need them, and creating change in school, sport, retail and online settings through The Embrace Collective, the Health Promotion Charity she leads alongside 2023 Australian of the Year, Taryn Brumfitt.

Learn more about Dr Yager's work here >> | |

Session Description
The way young people feel about their appearance can impact every other health behaviour and outcome- physical and mental. New research indicates that we have to rethink the way we teach about bodies, food, and health to support our students to Embrace their bodies in ways that help them to resist appearance pressure, and achieve optimal physical and mental health and wellbeing. Join Dr Zali Yager for clear guidance on how to talk about bodies, weight, and health, and overviews of new and exciting, evidence-based programs that can bring fresh content to your classroom.

  • Feature presentation: Samantha Snow, PhD Candidate and Primary PE Teacher | “Movement Assessment in Practice (MAP): Bridging the gap between research and practice in teaching FMS”

Sam completed a Bachelor of HPE in 2015. Following graduation, Sam was employed as a HPE teacher at Old Orchard Primary School for 6 years. In 2021, Sam completed a Graduate Certificate in Education Research with high distinction and received the ACHPER 2021 Graduate Student Award.

In 2022, Sam commenced a PhD with full scholarship, and is currently in her second year.

Session Description
Movement Assessment in Practice (MAP) is an evidence-based, and teacher informed online tool, which aims to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of FMS assessment and teaching. The MAP provides a clear connection between research and practice, by linking evidence-based FMS assessment and teaching research to real-world application in primary school physical education. The tool's development was a collaboration between Deakin University, the VCAA, and ACHPER, and was informed by Victorian teachers and stakeholders. This feature session aims to bridge the gap between FMS research and practice. It will showcase the latest research regarding FMS assessment and teaching, as well as demonstrate how this research can be applied. The session will share how the voices of the teachers have played a critical role in the development of the MAP, and the steps we took to address the research-to-practice divide. The session will provide an interactive hands-on opportunity to experience the MAP in action, demonstrating how the tool can be used to plan and deliver targeted FMS teaching based on the needs of your students. Finally, the session will allow for your feedback and insights as we work together to improve how we assess and teach FMS.

  • Feature presentation: Professor David Lubans, University of Newcastle | "Muscle strengthening activity for children and adolescents: The neglected guideline"

Professor David Lubans is a former physical education teacher and one of the world’s leading authorities on physical activity promotion in schools. He is the Deputy Director of the Centre for Active Living and Learning at the University of Newcastle. He is also a Visiting Professor in the Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland.

The major focus of his research is the design, evaluation, and dissemination of school-based physical activity interventions. Much of his research has involved inter-sectoral partnerships with government and non-government organisations. Prof Lubans has been recognised as a ‘Highly Cited Researcher’ (top 1% most cited for physical activity research and year of publication) for the past four years (2019 to 2022). Professor Lubans’ high-level goal is for all Australian children and adolescents to be physically active within and beyond the school day. He has been a chief investigator on more than 40 school based physical activity interventions benefitting large numbers of children and adolescents in Australia and abroad.

Professor Lubans is currently working with colleagues in Australia, Canada and Hong Kong to evaluate the number of school-based physical activity interventions. Although cultural context may be different, central to these interventions are universal SAAFE teaching principles based on self-determination theory.

To explore the link between brain and body, David and the PRC tea are undertaking innovative studies that have important implications for school policy and practice. The NHMRC funded ‘Burn 2 Learn’ study is using MRI to test the hypothesis that increasing adolescents' cardiorespiratory fitness will enhance brain structure and function - "this is the first study to our knowledge to test this hypothesis in older adolescents using high intensity interval training (HIIT).

More about Professor Lubans and his vast and impactful work here >>

Session Description
Australian guidelines recommend children and adolescents participate in 60 minutes of (predominantly aerobic) moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) daily, as well as muscle strengthening activity (MSA) on at least three days per week. However, less than 1 in 50 Australian adolescents (15 to 17 years old) meet the MVPA and MSA recommendations. In this presentation, I will discuss how poor rates of MSA may explain the decline in muscular fitness (i.e., strength, power, and endurance) among Australian youth that has been observed over the past 30 years. I will also outline the benefits of muscular fitness and provide a summary of evidence from systematic reviews and meta-analyses examining the effects of resistance training on young people’s physical, mental, and cognitive health. Although schools represent an ideal setting to deliver foundational resistance training programs, for decades myths and misconceptions about the safety and appropriateness of strength training have prevented it from being offered to most school-aged youth. The final part of my presentation will focus on the resistance training guidelines for youth, school-based resistance training interventions, and how to deliver MSA in engaging ways with limited space and equipment.

In addition to our excellent keynote and feature presentations, enhance your teaching toolkit with over 100 elective sessions handpicked to support and build your Impact on Tomorrow and get ahead of the HPE teaching game.

By attending #ACHPERVIC23, you can expect:

  • A strong focus on inclusivity and personalised learning approaches.
  • Inspirational ideas for teaching in a changing landscape – encouraging flexibility, adaptability and a willingness to embrace new ideas and approaches.
  • Exploration of new technologies impacting the way we teach into the future.
  • Connect with like-minded educators, share best practices, and inspire each other to amplify your impact.
Start tailoring your learning journey to focus on areas of interest and student needs, head to the ACHPERVIC23 conference website to check out the full program and start planning your two days of intensive professional learning today. We hope to see you there!