Some Seed Fell on Stony Ground: Three Models - Three Strikes!

Document Type

Conference Proceeding


Australian Council for Health and Physical Education


Faculty of Education and Arts


School of Education




Alexander, K. R. (2013). Some seed fell on stony ground: Three models - three strikes!. In Proceedings of the 28th ACHPER International Conference, Melbourne 2013 (pp. 1-8). Hindmarsh, Australia: Australian Council for Health and Physical Education. Available here


It’s long been thought that secondary PE teachers have neither the training to develop curricula from scratch – nor any inclination to do so. Arguably, their workplace contexts contrive to subvert the adopting and sustaining of curriculum models that are responsive to both curricular policy imperatives and to students’ needs and interests. Almost twenty years ago, we gave detailed pedagogical expression, in the form of SEPEP, to Siedentop’s ‘Sport Education’ (Alexander and Taggart, 1995). Ten years ago, we addressed teachers’ concerns about their pedagogical content knowledge being ‘sidelined’ by ‘pure SEPEP’ and offered a TGFU-SE hybrid in the form of the Clinic Game-Day model (CGD) (Alexander & Penney, 2005). Latterly, I have been promoting, in PDs and to my undergraduate students, a third curriculum model aimed at providing young people with the skills and knowledge to plan, self-manage, and then implement a four-week trial of a personal ‘healthy, active, lifestyle’ program (HALs). In this paper, I canvas some of the reasons why such ostensibly good ideas fail to germinate and to take root in schools. Included in this presentation is some personal soul-searching as a teachereducator and sometime curriculum developer, some questions about policy development and implementation, a consideration of school cultures, collegiality and leadership, and some thoughts about the role a professional organization might still play in these matters. I finish with a reprise of what’s been regarded as a somewhat controversial proposal from an address I gave in 2008 at the Flinders University ‘Play to Educate’ Conference: that secondary school HPE departments should deliver main-theme curriculum models for half the time they currently spend delivering ‘traditional PE’ and devote the freed-up half to co-/extra-curricular programs that explicitly target student engagement with competitive, expressive and other health-related activities beyond the school gate and even the school years.