Oregon SHAPE Monthly

Society of Health and Physical Educators

June 2014

Dr. Amanda Stanec Discusses Physical Literacy

Physical literacy is a concept that has been generating excitement across in North America over the past decade. While fundamental movement skills (FMS) are a critical component to physical literacy, physical literacy is much more than FMS. In fact, physical literacy is much more than students combining many FMS and applying them in authentic environments. Just as a literate person can use her/his knowledge to make the world a better place to live, physically literate individuals are motivated to apply physically active behaviors in ways that benefit themselves, others, and the environment. In this regard, someone who might be athletically competent, but chooses to cheat via performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) or other means, is not physically literate. Thus, an average weekend warrior cyclist is probably more physically literate than Lance Armstrong.

Dr. Margaret Whitehead, a philosophical scholar in the UK, has been instrumental in spreading the message of physical literacy. Dr. Whitehead describes the assessment of physical literacy as a mapping of the journey. This is because physical literacy is not a destination, it is a journey over the lifespan. Dr. Whitehead views physical literacy assessment similarly to how physical educators view formative assessment - it's ongoing and evolving.

Physical literacy is individual. This allows for individuals to progress at a rate that is developmentally appropriate, and specific to them. Thus, it is certainly possible for someone with a physical disability to be physically literate; modifications (e.g., prosthetics, equipment) may be needed in order for this to happen.

Physical education curriculum in other parts of the world (e.g., Canada [Ontario, Nova Scotia]) have recently been developed with physical literacy as the intended outcome of the curriculum. In other words, the curriculum outcomes culminate to support students' development as physically literate individuals. The new NASPE standards also support physical literacy in physical education. This is a good thing! It is important, however, that physical educators fully understand the term and its intent.

Physical education, along with families, recreation, community programming, early childhood centers, health promotion professionals, and others is essential to developing physical literacy in citizens. In quality physical education programs, individuals learn how to move competently in a wide variety of settings. This results in individuals' increased confidence in their abilities, which is more likely to transfer into motivation to participate in physical activities than if individuals are not confident in their abilities. Physical education curriculum and programs should be developed and delivered with physical literacy as their intended outcome. They should support student development in all domains (physical, cognitive, affective). To optimize the likeliness of citizens developing physical literacy, physical educators should work with students, families, administration, classroom teachers, and community / recreation leaders to provide additional opportunities for all children to develop as physically literate individuals.

Physical literacy is an exciting term because, as Dr. Dean Kriellaars suggests, it's brought together education, sport, recreation and health sectors. We are all at the same table and working toward a common goal - to develop physically literate citizens. Through innovative 21st century physical education curriculum, and a Heath Promoting School approach, we (physical educators) are now more equipped to provide positive and effective physical education programs.

If you would like to read more about physical literacy and access free quality resources, visit:




Activity of the Month

Here are two new fitness activities I recently created and shared on Twitter. I hope to present them to you in the fall at the Oregon SHAPE conference.

Excellent Reminders of How to Be a Physical Education Professional

Oregon Shape Conference

Saturday, Oct. 4th, 8am

900 SE Baker St

McMinnville, OR

Oregon SHAPE Fall Conference is MOVING! In addition to being packed full of great movement activities, we’re also moving to a new date this year. We realize that fewer teachers have the option to attending professional conferences during Statewide Teacher Inservice day, since many school districts plan their own events. Therefore, we have decided to move the conference to the Saturday prior to inservice day.

Please plan on joining us at Linfield College on SATURDAY, OCTOBER 4, 2014.

If you are interested in submitting a session proposal, please use the form provided located below. The Linfield venue provides opportunity for holding sessions in two gyms, a multipurpose/dance room, fieldhouse, fitness facility, and pool. Several fields are also available for physical activity presentations. In addition, we have three classrooms and a computer lab at your disposal. Special arrangements can be made if any presenters would like access to anatomy or physiology labs as well.

More details about the conference will be forthcoming in the next month. If you have questions about any aspects of the conference, you may contact Dawn Graff-Haight, the Oregon SHAPE conference manager, at dghaight@linfield.edu.

See you in Seattle!

SHAPE America is coming to Seattle! Mark this on your calendar!

Collin Brooks: President Elect of Oregon SHAPE