Do your actions and activities encourage young women to get physically active?

Physical education and school sport have been shown to have many positive physical, cognitive, affective and social benefits (Bailey, 2009). However, research has also demonstrated that adolescent girls stop engaging in as much physical activity as they did when they were in their late childhood.

What can schools and teachers do?

Given that nearly all children between the ages of 5-18 attend school, schools and teachers have a crucial role to play in promoting physical activity to girls and adolescents, enabling and empowering girls to become more physically active.

In a formal sense, physical education teachers can develop female’s competence and confidence, as well as their knowledge, skills and understanding if they engage with contemporary pedagogical approaches with the Victorian curriculum.

For example, teachers can use appropriate images of physically active women that are prominently displayed in the gym and around the school, co-construct curriculum or units of work which promote appealing physical activities and consider the current activity curriculum offerings within the physical education program. 

At school, teachers and the broader school community (principals, other teachers, OHSC staff) can design meaningful programs that:

  1. Promote activity
  2. Design an activity to suit
  3. Make it fun and social, and;
  4. Guide staff

Additionally, schools should encourage young women and girls to be physically active by providing multiple opportunities for all students, regardless of ability or gender. Often the ‘best’ students are provided with the majority of opportunities in schools. We should try and structure learning so all students are given opportunities to be active every day.

More information on how this can be achieved can be found here and via VicHealth’s ‘This Girl Can’ initiative.

Our upcoming ‘Diversity and Inclusion in Physical Education and Active Recreation in Secondary Schools’ workshop on 20 June might also be useful to teachers wanting to get some practical and hands-on advice on supporting and encouraging practice excellence in teaching physical activity for children attending secondary school regardless of ability, gender and culturally diverse background.

Click here to download the workshop flyer, and here to register for this event. Questions or comments? Please get in touch.