Physical Literacy is the motivation, confidence, physical competence, knowledge and understanding to value, and engage in physical activity now, and for life (Keens & Dunstan, 2020). Simply, any child who does not feel confident in skipping, hopping, jumping, catching, throwing, or other basic movement skills, is likely to have a negative attitude towards physical activity. Therefore, their motivation towards Physical Education (PE) or physical activity, will also be negatively impacted now, and in the future!
So, as the Physical Education (PE) Teacher at St. Luke’s Catholic College, in K-6, I have an opportunity to develop a mindset that is positive towards physical education, and physical activity. I see this as my responsibility to keep the students active now, and also into their adulthood. This can be done through educating, motivating, equipping and enhancing the knowledge of students.
Keens & Dunstan (2020) used the notion of ‘Lego Duplo’ when it comes to Physical Literacy. In the first steps of building lego, you understand the basics of it – collecting and sorting of the blocks (Keens & Dunstan, 2020). Then, the builder will try and ‘link’ the blocks that match and make combinations with colours, or similar/connecting blocks (Keens & Dunstan, 2020). Finally, you ‘transfer’ the combinations into different objects which are buildable in Lego. Keens & Dunstan (2020) states this process is performed with confidence, competence and motivation.
This ‘Lego Duplo’ notion is applied to Physical Literacy. Firstly, physical activity is the beginning step, the ‘learning’ aspect. At first, students need to understand the basics, and that is the Fundamental Movement Skills (FMS). This is where the confidence, competence, and motivation towards physical activity and sport begin. Students need to know how to perform the basic FMS correctly, before moving onto ‘combining’ or performing more complex skills. Once they feel confident in doing these skills, students are happy, and willing to move onto new movement challenges, or in the Lego Duplo notion, the ‘link’ phase.
The ‘link’ phase is where students begin to combine FMS together into different forms of minor games or movement activities. The idea of combining the blocks similar in colour, or connecting blocks together! For example, in a game of ‘Bullrush’, a school yard favourite, the following FMS are evident – ‘run’ and ‘dodge’. The students who perform better, or stay in the game for long periods of time without getting tagged, are the ones who can ‘connect the learning blocks’ consistently – they are able to run and dodge well!
The last phase is ‘transfer’. The ability to link, combine and transfer FMS into different sports is the most complex aspect. Previously mentioned, this process is where the lego builders are able to build anything and everything, using the right combinations of blocks. Similar to sport, at this stage, individuals are able to use all of their existing movement skills and knowledge, to combine and transfer into a range of sports. They are able to recognise and understand the movements. It is at this stage, where the individual has developed the motivation, confidence, physical competence, knowledge and understanding (tactics and strategic thinking) to value all aspects of sports and movements.
In closing, I am aware that not all students of St. Luke’s will be at the ‘transfer’ stage – most will reach that stage, some may never will, and that’s the reality. But, if I can motivate and guide students to feel confident in their own physical competence, knowledge, and understanding of physical activity, then I will feel satisfied as a PE teacher. Additionally and most importantly, it will lead to individuals valuing, and engaging in active lifestyles now, and throughout their adult lives, to sustain a healthy life. That is Physical Literacy in my eyes.