Creating autonomy-supportive learning environments to improve health and wellbeing in physical education

Shirley Gray, Fiona Muirhead, John Wang

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Traditionally teachers of physical education have seen their role primarily in terms of developing physical health and performance, this offers an exciting opportunity for professional learning, to support a holistic view of health in and through physical education. This chapter seeks to examine the nature of these concerns and, in doing so, suggests that by engaging more with psychological theories of learning, physical education teachers can enhance their understanding of the relationship between their own practice and learner experience. It presents Self-Determination Theory as a useful mechanism to support teachers as they attempt to better understand the needs of their learners and the positive impact their practice can have on learning, health and wellbeing. Developing a theoretical understanding of teaching and learning creates more possibilities for change that can ultimately lead to becoming a transformational teacher. The chapter suggests that creating autonomy-supportive learning environments may be effective in enhancing learning and intrinsic motivation.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTransformative learning and teaching in physical education
EditorsMalcolm Thorburn
Place of PublicationOxton
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781315625492
Publication statusPublished - 7 Apr 2017


  • physical education
  • psychological theories of learning

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