Reflections of #ACHPER2013

PrintAs the curtain came down on the 2013 Australian Council for Health Physical Education and Recreation conference yesterday it was clear that there were many, many highlights to reflect on.

Keynotes, Academic Lectures, Panel Q&A’s, Workshops, Practical Sessions, and much more.

No doubt, all of the planned sessions above brought immense value to the educators in attendance, myself included, but as I reflect on the conference there is one thing in particular that has stuck with me.  And it’s not something that can simply be ‘planned for’.


The energy of hundreds of enthusiastic, passionate, committed Physical Educators all in one place, at one time.

Take away all of the keynotes, lectures and workshops and you are left with the people and the result of their collective energy.

I seriously think you could have put everyone into the auditorium and just let them talk Phys Ed, tell stories, share ideas, swap contact details, encourage each other, challenge ways of doing things, unpack experience, define excellence and simply ‘feed’ off each other.

It was an amazing feeling to spend two days surrounded by the people who are largely responsible for guiding the future of Health and Physical Education in this country.  I say largely, as we cannot forget the policy making pollies, although it’s fair to say they are not flavour of the month here right now.  I tend to speak little of politics and education as it is not good for one’s blood pressure but I’m happy to report that Christopher Pyne is not on my Christmas card list.

I was in attendance at some amazing sessions throughout the conference, but what struck me more than anything was the energy created, it was palpable on day one at the welcome keynote, which was an amazing journey through slum dog millionaire’s links to teaching and learning by John Loughran.

The conference was named “A Defining Time” as the new national curriculum awaits publication any day now.  I did get a real impression that now IS a defining time.  Not only because of the curriculum.  I got a sense that finally 21st century learning, modern teaching methods innovation and technology are finally getting the cut through our students need and deserve.

In my workshop presentation I had a fair crack at the speed in which teachers (especially PE teachers) adopt evidence based research around what ‘works’ now and into the future, but as I sat through many other sessions I got a feeling that we ARE beginning to hear and see a shared language around the future of Phys Ed.

That’s the good news.

The other news is that there are still those who lack access to ongoing quality PD which is a crying shame.  Or worse, those who dig their heels in with either a chronic case of ‘lazy-itis’ or a hankering for “the good old days” of gym class/ drill sergeants, we all know they will be (gladly) left behind.

Problem is, for the time being, so will their poor students.

Even though “we’re heading in the right direction” and “the time is now” we’re certainly not there yet.

But I wanted to use my reflection post to share with you some of “The Goodies of ACHPER 2013”. The people who are strongly committed, innovating, changing things and are right behind the bright future of our amazing subject.

Undoubtedly, there are many, many ‘goodies’ out there, these are simply the ones I was lucky enough to connect and share some time with.

I hope you are on the road with these guys, I certainly am and we need as many team physed-ers  as possible to truly make PE fizz for the students of today and tomorrow.

The time is NOW, let’s make sure is actually IS defining!

“The Goodies of ACHPER 2013”

john loughranProfessor John Loughran

I had never seen or heard of John until he climbed the stairs to the stage and delivered his keynote, ‘Teachers Matter’.  He skilfully linked footage from the movie Slumdog Millionaire to the teaching and learning principles used by expert teachers demonstrating in the process how Jamal’s experiential learning served him well in life.



trentDr Trent Brown @DrTrentBrown

Trent is the president of Achper Victoria and all round quality Phys Ed advocate.  It is great to know that he is teaching some of the next generation of teachers at Monash Uni.  It was awesome to meet him finally after lots of twitter chat. We had many valuable exchanges in passing, corridors and lunchtimes- he even popped up in my workshop tweeting which was awesome!


ashAshlea Mills @ashleamills

I have to keep reminding myself that Ashlea is only in her 3rd year of teaching.  She presented a brilliant workshop on technology and is way ahead of her time.  She is a go-getter, risk taker and works extremely hard.  I know the students at her school are lucky to have her.




coreyCorey Aylen @mr_aylen

Corey is a young gun and he tells me that twitter has transformed his practice as a teacher.  It is so refreshing to meet someone who is so keen to learn and it’s clear to see that his enthusiasm is going to take him places.  He is limited in many ways with facilities and space at his school and he constantly looks for and finds ways to innovate with his students.  A Phys Ed star of (now and) the future.



shaneShane Pill @pilly66

Shane needs no introduction, he has forgotten more than I know about teaching PE.  I’ve attended his sessions before but every single time he teaches me new things and offers up a different way of learning in and through games.  He is super smart, fun and is another of whom I’m so glad is teaching the next generation of teachers at Flinders Uni.  They are in very safe hands.  “Action is intelligence in motion” from him, is my favourite conference quote.


4 thoughts on “Reflections of #ACHPER2013

  1. Ross a good article which also makes me agree strongly with the energy felt whenever PE staff get together at CPD,SQA events , we thrive on challenge and change and are excellent at sharing good practice, it must be our empathy with working in teams .
    Sadly the staff who do exist “wishing for the good old days of drill style PE” and not locking into quality CPD are all ages of PE from young to old. It is a mental attitude and focus ,and not an age ,year of training problem. A “can do “attitude ,should be a vital prerequisite for future PE Teachers.

    • Bob,

      Thanks so much for taking the time to comment, I completely agree with you. The “resisters” come from every demographic, my post was never intended to imply more experienced teachers so I hope it has not come across that way. Some of the most forward thinking teachers I’ve had the pleasure of working with have had many years of experience in the bank.

      My wish for the future is to light a spark under more teachers that the status quo has to be challenged and that the kids we teacher deserve us teachers to be actively in pursuit of our best.

      I look forward to sharing more with you, thanks for contributing.


  2. I see a lot of interesting content on your website. You have to spend a lot of
    time writing, i know how to save you a lot of time,
    there is a tool that creates unique, google friendly posts in couple of minutes, just type in google – k2 unlimited content

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s