Health and Physical Education Teaching and Research Group

The Health and Physical Education Teaching and Research Group is a diverse team of researchers and practitioners who engage with conceptual, methodological and practice-orientated approaches to health, physical education, sport and wellbeing.

Our focus

We position our research and teaching in a critical and transformative sociocultural framework that explores practices and pedagogies underpinning health, wellbeing, physical education and sport in Australian and international communities.

We have a strong emphasis on disrupting, deconstructing and transforming traditional ideas of health, physical activity, sport and wellbeing in the context of culture, gender, sexuality, technology, the environment, the body, pedagogies, inequalities, power relations and identities.

Adopting a broad notion of education, our teaching and research is committed to diversity, inclusion and impact. The connection between our research and teaching provides an authentic and evidence-based approach to the student experience, pedagogy and program development – not only at Deakin, but in the wider educational community where we contribute to building capacity of educational authorities, NGOs, in-service and pre-service teachers and academics.

We advocate a critical approach that explores the dynamic relationships between teaching and research, and students, teachers, schools and communities.

Study opportunities

Courses associated with this group include:

  • Bachelor of Health and Physical Education
  • core HPE and student wellbeing units in other education courses including early childhood, primary and secondary teaching courses.
  • Prospective higher degree by research (HDR) students may have a variety of opportunities with the team. Expert supervision in specified fields is available, and also possible teaching and research assistant work.

Group members

Our group members have expertise in a variety of research areas.

Please see their individual profiles for research interests and supervision experience.


HDR students work on a range of research projects across health and physical education research areas.

Student projects

Parental involvement in primary sexuality education Claire Stonehouse
Reimagining physical educators’ identities: the role of PETE courses in challenging stereotypical anti-intellectual physical education teacher identities Jacqui Peters
Pre-service health and physical education teachers: emerging professional identities Adrian Farnham
Women’s sport participation in the UAE: a case study Niloofar Rouhani
Learning through lesson study: an integrated approach to challenge underachievement Rhona Leonard
Perspectives of new nurses learning to apply interpersonal skills to practice Terry Weblemoe
Learning to be Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) educators Christine Shulz
Emergent writing and feedback: using iPads for writing goals in a prep classroom Jessica Kearney (Med)
Comparing whole-school approaches to wellbeing in three different Victorian school settings Jack Greig (Med)
Sexuality education: a comparison of China and Australia Claire Yan (Med)
Does motor skill ability predict positive motor self-perceptions in young children one year later? A longitudinal study Carmen Van Veen (Med)
Queering kinship: a sibling’s coming out Samara van Toldeo (Med)
Exploring emotional wellbeing with young people Sarah Clark

Research projects

Turning them on: engaging young people in disrupting silences about their sexual wellbeing

This project is in its final year. The research has focused on engaging young people in sexuality education, and examined the role of student participation in the development of effective school-based sexuality education.

Research team: Johnson, B., Harrison, L., Ollis, D., Coll, L Calabretto, H. McLaughlin, C. & Flentje, J. (2013)

Funding: ARC Linkage Grant Scheme with UniSA, Deakin University and Shine SA

Social media practices in health education: experts, teachers and students

This project focuses on ideas of knowledge and practice related to food and health education afforded by social media including Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat. Outcomes will include teacher education and resource development and community events. The project is currently in development and pilot stage.

Research team: Hendry, N. & Welch, R. (2017–2020)

Respectful relationships in primary schools

This is a new research project that aims to examine the implementation of respectful relationships education in 20 primary schools in Victoria and Queensland.

Research team: Keddie, A. and Ollis, D. (2017–2019)

Funding: Our Watch

Improving regional low-SES students’ learning and wellbeing

This study aims to address the learning and wellbeing needs of over 7000 predominantly low socio-economic status students in regional Australia by researching the conditions that enable a successful curricular and wellbeing program to be refined and extended.

Research team: Prain, V., Tytler, R., Deed, C., Myers, N., Blake, D., Muir, T., Farrelly, C., Mooney, A, Thomas, D. & Swabey, K. (2016–2019)

Funding: ARC Linkage Project

'Next Gen'

This proposal aims to develop a new objective assessment, using sensor wear technology, for motor skill performance. The assessment will be suitable for use by teachers in schools, coaches, and others who work with youth.

Research team: Barnett, L & Lander N. (2017)

Funding: A partnership grant with Dorsa Vi, Sport and Recreation Victoria YMCA

Skill and physical self-concept related to physical activity, fitness, executive function and wellbeing

This project aims to investigate how actual skill (using the abbreviated skill measure) and physical self-concept relate to physical activity, fitness, executive function and wellbeing.

We will assess physical activity (using accelerometers), fitness and wellbeing in 150 children, and then examine associations between physical activity, fitness wellbeing and physical self-concept.

Research team: Barnett, L., Hinkley, T & Lander, N. (2015–2017)

Swim lesson models: effectiveness and impact study, Peninsula Aquatic and Recreation Centre

This longitudinal project focuses on identifying how swim schools can best deliver learn-to-swim programs that enable primary school age students to be confident, comfortable and happy in deep water, and able to swim 50 metres and retain those skills after learn-to-swim lessons.

Research team: Moncrieff, K & Peters, J.

The professionalisation of women’s cricket: new times and new opportunities

This project explored the professionalisation of women’s’ cricket by examining the barriers, enablers and recommendation for education strategies to address the barriers.

Research team: Hickey, C., Harrison, l., Ollis, D. & Mooney, A. (2014–2016)

Funding: Australian Cricketer’s Association (ACA) and Cricket Australia (CA)

Contact us

For more information about health and physical education research, please contact Debbie Ollis.

Debbie Ollis
Associate Professor of Education (Health and Physical Education)
+61 3 9244 6409