Unpacking the Philosophy behind Physical Literacy


“Physical literacy can be described as the motivation, confidence, physical competence, knowledge and understanding to value and take responsibility for engagement in physical activities for life.”

(Whitehead, 2014)

In his recent webinar on the UNESCO Guidelines on Quality PE, Dr Dean Dudley made the statement that ‘physical literacy could be a game changer in Physical Education.’ I happen to believe him.

In the last few years I have been asked to teach Philosophy. In my reading to prepare to teach this subject I came across this fine gentleman:


His name is Rene Descartes. In his Meditations on First Philosophy, he argues that the mind and the body are two separate substances. There is ‘thinking stuff’ and ‘material stuff’, and although they may be connected in the every day, they are in fact fundamentally worlds apart. This is a dualist philosophy and as teachers of PE it is something we…

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