Document Type

Journal Article


Charles Darwin University


School of Education




Barwood, D. (2017). Rumination, realignment and reflection: Who is really teaching health education in secondary schools? Learning Communities: International Journal of Learning in Social Contexts, 21, 46-55.


In Western Australia (WA), health education (HE) is timetabled as a separate, disciplinebased subject belonging to the health and physical education (HPE) learning area. Globally, this subject is identified as a key site to support and strengthen the health and wellbeing of children and young people. In WA, teachers from outside-of-the-field of HPE are commonly used to deliver HE. This situation is not exclusive to HE nor to WA, and in some circles is referred to as education’s dirty little secret. This mixed-methods study critically examined the role of the teacher in the delivery of HE with the purpose of continuing previous WA-based research and responding to a gap in data with regard to the qualifications of the teachers. The study obtained questionnaire responses from 75 teachers delivering HE in 49 different lower secondary government schools across the state with nine teachers interviewed after the first round of quantitative data collection to provide contexualised information of the WA setting. The study found that half of the teachers delivering HE were unprepared to do so.



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Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 License.