Past, Present & Future

Physical Education, Health Education & Education Outdoors National Conference, 2017

Papamoa College, Papamoa, Bay of Plenty


Hapaitia te ara tika pūmau ai te rangatiratanga mō ngā uri whakatipu

Foster the pathway of knowledge to strength, independence and growth for future generations


The NZ Curriculum (2007) and the Te Marautanga o Aotearoa (2008) highlight the vision for our students to be connected, confident, actively involved and lifelong learners.  The conference provides the opportunity for educators to share their practice and celebrate and enhance this shared vision.

The 2017 conference theme “Past, Present and Future” allows us to learn from the past, remembering inspirational educators such as Bob Stothart, celebrate our current position and challenge our future direction.  Across the conference programme, workshops on a wide range of topics and themes provide the opportunity for us to learn from each other, which widens our views on HPE and the world around us; and refines our teaching practice so we can do the very best by our learners.

 – Rachael Dixon and Vicki Nicolson (NZHEA), Margot Bowes (PENZ), Libby Paterson and Fiona McDonald (EONZ)


These are my reflections on what has been another outstanding conference.  I can only speak for the workshops that I attended – there were many, many more that I would have loved to attend.  Many thanks to all those who attended and especially to those who presented either keynotes or workshops.

The conference ‘meet and greet’ on a Sunday night is always a fantastic opportunity to connect and reconnect with friends and colleagues from near and far.  Looking for a way to describe the  HPE community in NZ, I straight away thought of whanaungatanga – “relationship, kinship, sense of family connection – a relationship through shared experiences and working together which provides people with a sense of belonging. It develops as a result of kinship rights and obligations, which also serve to strengthen each member of the kin group. It also extends to others to whom one develops a close familial, friendship or reciprocal relationship.”  The evening was a joyous occasion of hugs and kisses as people caught up with people they hadn’t seen perhaps since last conference, or even the one before that; people who had only previously ‘met’ on twitter, now finally were able to meet kanohi ki te kanohi; and introductions to new people to the HPE community were made including the new PENZ CEO Richard van der Jagt.  


Day tahi of conference began with a pōhiri, as is the custom in Aotearoa.  Delegates were ably guided through this process by Nichola McCall, PENZ Board member.  The Papamoa College Kapa Haka group did an outstanding job welcoming the manuhiri to their kura.  Delegates were well represented by Wally Rifle, Kings College, who performed the whaikōrero on behalf of the manuhiri.  Following this process of joining together, we all gathered for some kai.


The welcome from Papamoa College Principal Steve Lindsey encouraged us focus on students at the centre of learning – an important concept not to let go of during our time at conference and beyond.  To set the scene for conference and introduce the theme, we heard from three keynote speakers on Day tahi.  While introducing the speakers Susie Stevens urged us to ‘learn from the past to prepare for the future’.


Learning from our Past – Professor Ian Culpan, School of Health Sciences, University of Canterbury

  • “I cannot teach anybody anything, I can only make them think”
  • The role of Humanism in HPE is about the development of people – we must never let this go: HPE is needed for Human Development, and our NZ HPE learning area is well regarded around the world
  • Does HPE exist to implement government agenda to ‘control’ the body?
  • Can Bodies and Human Nature be normalised? If so what is our role?
  • As Bob Stothart would say “Let’s be forever watchful” – “engage in political debate”


Celebrating our Current Position – Cameron Smith, Scots College, Wellington

  • Physical Education is about education, not physical outcomes
  • Are we celebrating or marginalising socio-critical thought in HPE?
  • Acknowledged the role of HPE departments and individuals and their contribution to the HPE community
  • Nothing changes if nothing changes


Challenging our Future Direction – Helen Tuhoro, Principal, Tarawera High School, Kawerau

  • Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.
  • Authentic, local, engaging curriculum – curriculum fits the environment
  • We have to resist the urge to tell students what they ‘need to know’ – don’t give the kids the final product of our thinking.
  • Know your students, whānau and community – ako
  • Focus on the key competencies
  • E kore te tangata e pakiri i runga i te wai marino – A person who remains in calm waters will never get strong

Screen Shot 2017-07-10 at 12.00.26 PM

‘A Second date with the Salmon’.

It was a privilege to present on Day tahi with Susie Stevens.  This was an opportunity to revisit the 1999 HPE Curriculum document, and in particular to think about how we actively bring life to, and make meaning of, the Underlying Concepts in our teaching and learning programmes.  We also explored the Achievement Objectives in our learning area, and encouraged each other to think critically about how we know that our students are learning.  Another important document is the 2007 NZC, and it is important that we think and discuss with each other questions like ‘how does HPE contribute to the vision, values, and key competencies of the NZC?’ ‘What does Effective Pedagogy (p.34-35 NZC) look like in HPE?’  Thanks to those who attended this workshop, the kōrero was inspiring and the movement was joyful!

The PENZ AGM was an opportunity to celebrate the resilience of the HPE community, and to thank those who have worked tirelessly over the past year to ensure the survival of our subject association under extremely adverse circumstances.  Special thanks to PENZ President Margot Bowes, Board members Sue McBain, Nichola McCall, Kane Wilson, Natasha Powell, co-opted Board members Professor Ian Culpan, Professor Lisette Burrows, Associate Professor Alan Ovens, PENZ Patron Trevor Garrett.  Thanks also to our new CEO Richard van der Jagt, and new office manager Claire Waring for your extremely hard work in recent months.

It was a privilege to be nominated for the PENZ Board this year and to be successfully elected to the board along with Katie Spraggon, from Manurewa High School.  I am looking forward to the many exciting opportunities ahead.


Day rua keynote from Dame Susan Devoy, Race Relations Commissioner:

  • Shout out to Tauranga Boys College PE department for positive role they play in boys lives
  • What does diversity actually mean?  We have a responsibility to educate our students about the true meaning of multiculturalism.
  • Young people don’t see colour, we learn those behaviours from our environment; prejudices and intolerances grow from small seeds of hate.
  • Inclusion is about making people feel like they belong… more difficult to enact than to talk about.  You feel like you belong when you see yourself represented.
  • Give nothing to Racism.
  • Being a kiwi is about being connected with our land.
  • Building relationships… asking the questions.


Making Learning Visible for improved student outcomes for priority learners in HPE (Hobsonville Point Secondary School) – Jayne Dunbar, Elizabeth Samuel, Anne McKay, Kylie Thompson and Margot Bowes

  • The person doing the talking is the person doing the learning.  Need to make the shift from monologue to dialogue.
  • How do you know that students have understood the feedback that you give them?
  • How would you identify priority learners in HPE?  What data would you have?  Success in PE is very complex.
  • Story Hui is an awesome tool for thinking about our learners – what do we know about them?  Importance of whanaungatanga.
  • Cool idea to support learning – ‘draw’ notes (instead of writing notes) when listening to someone speaking.  Then compare with another person; this affirms your learning and also provides insight into different perspectives.
  • SOLO hexagons to support learning conversations.
  • Success criteria language – good, great, awesome.  Students want to know what they need to do to become awesome.

Visible learning

Practical applications of gamification in PE – Carl Condliffe, Rongotai College

After listening to Carl’s presentation at conference last year about gamification, this was a great opportunity to see some of the game mechanics in action.  I like the use of avatars in practical activities, and really like the use of narrative with the escape room task.


PENZ Award winners:

  • Outstanding New Professional Award – Mallory Bish, King’s College and Georgia Dougherty, Tamaki College
  • Outstanding Physical Education Award – Te Puke High School HPE department
  • Te Iho-Takaro Ringawera Award – Professor Ian Culpan, Professor Lisette Burrows, Associate Professor Alan Ovens


NZHEA Award winners:

  • Emerging Leader award – Annie Macfarlane, Tamatea High School
  • Life member Award – Dr Jenny Robertson


Planning and valuing joy, play and intrinsic motivation for movement – Susie Stevens, University of Canterbury

Take off your shoes and socks, and go outside for 5 minutes … use your senses, what do you feel?  How do you want to move?

One of the key provocations for me during this workshop was the idea that perhaps we only see play, and joyful movement, as a reward, and not as an inherent part of planning for our teaching and learning programmes.  Do we only see our learners playing and being joyful in their movements when we give them a ‘free period’?  How can we be more mindful of the importance of the joy of movement and value it enough so that it is evident in our teaching and learning?


Day toru…

Community Consultation – what do you mean it’s required? – Vicki Nicolson, Principal, Port Chalmers Primary School

  • Think of the consultation process like the Spiral of Inquiry; scanning – what are we noticing? Etc
  • Some great questions for asking various groups in your school community – students, staff, whānau, community partners etc
  • What does our school do well in helping students maintain or improve well-being?
  • What could we do better?
  • Are you concerned about any part or aspects of Health Education being taught?


‘Challenging the Status Quo’

Another privilege to present with my colleague Ryan Clark, and shake up people’s thinking with regard to PE being about Physical Education or Public Embarrassment.  Fundamentally this will come down to how well we are enacting the Effective Pedagogy found on pages 34-35 of the NZC.  Sometimes there is a tendency to get caught up in some fairly traditional teaching practices, especially when it comes to athletics, cross-country, swimming, gymnastics etc.  It was fantastic to see people thinking and reimagining what learning might look like if we are to apply the effective pedagogies.  Many thanks to Debbie Wilson and her students at Fergusson Intermediate, Upper Hutt for allowing us to share your story and hear your voices.


Keynote, Mike King – Mental Health Educator, The Key to Life Charitable Trust:

  • His aim ‘to forever change the way people feel, think, talk and behave in relation to mental health’, ‘to reverse the population trends of depression and suicide by effecting positive social change.’
  • Talk to the young people and talk to the communities – bring them together.  The young people know the issues and they know what they need to solve them, they need to be given the opportunity to be heard, and to be part of the solution.
  • It is a crime that people in NZ have to ‘prove’ that they are feeling suicidal before they can access the support they need.
  • Teachers don’t worry about teaching, please just care, and have high expectations for all learners.


“Physician, writer, and poet Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-94) saw the spiral shell of the nautilus as a symbol of intellectual and spiritual growth.  He suggested that people outgrew their protective shells and discarded them as they became no longer necessary:

‘One’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.’

It is as a metaphor for growth that the nautilus is used as a symbol for the NZC.


My mind has certainly been stretched by the keynotes, workshops and conversations that I have engaged in at conference this year, and I am looking forward to how I might apply my new learnings in my context.  I look forward to sharing more with you, and hearing from how you too have had your mind stretched and what new ideas you are going to implement as a result.


Ngā mihi nui.


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