The problem facing PK–12 school physical education can be reframed as a timely opportunity to strive together toward a better future. This special issue is founded on an inescapable priority: the field lacks direction and purpose relative to what is in the best interests of the whole child, an entity greater and more important than the physical education student. Although the case can be made that the physical education profession has made progress in this direction, considerable work remains, and some of it requires significant change. Put another way, we cannot continue to do “business as usual,” producing the same results, when those results are empirically and consistently not in the best interests of students, schools, or society, more broadly. The reminder here is that better services to these important constituencies provide an occupational safeguard for the right and privilege to teach in America’s schools. (, p. 363)

An extract from Ward, P., van der Mars, H.,  Mitchell, M., & Lawson, H. (2021).Chapter 3:  PK-12 School Physical Education: Conditions, Lessons Learned, and Future Directions. Journal of Teaching in Physical Education, 40, 363-371.


Dr. Phillip Ward is a Professor of Physical Education Teacher Education in the Department of Human Sciences at The Ohio State University. Professor Ward is widely known nationally and internationally for his scholarship regarding teacher education, content knowledge and teaching effectiveness. Professor Ward is passionate about physical education and teacher education. He spends part of his professional life working with teachers in formal and informal professional development contexts to improve instruction in physical education. His research has been defined by a series of research programs that began in the 1990’s focused on instructional interventions designed to improve the quality and effectiveness of teaching in physical education. His research on peer assisted learning (1992-2005) in physical education has been widely used and cited beyond the boundaries of physical education in such areas as medicine and special education.  His ongoing work in the area professional development (1995-present) has been published in two monographs in the Journal of Teaching in Physical Education (JTPE, 1999, 2006). Since 2005 his work in teaching effectiveness has focused on content knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge in physical education. He is the director of the Learning to Teach Physical Education Research Program ( that has as its central focus the development of content knowledge for teaching physical education. Collectively his projects in the Learning to Teach Physical Education Research Program are multi-methodological involving multi-institutional teams across the United Sates and internationally in Asia and in Europe. Dr. Ward was also part of an eight-member research team that published a review of doctoral education in physical education teacher education published as a monograph in JTPE (2011). Professor Ward has authored or co-authored more than 170 research papers, book chapters and manuals.  He is the author or co-author of seven books. He has presented 220 papers at international, national and state conferences. He has served as an invited lecturer at the Catholic University of Leuven (Belgium); East China Normal University and the Hong Kong Institute of Education (China); Purdue University; Tsukuba University and Nippon Sports Science University-Nittaidai (Japan) University of West Virginia; Zinman College (Israel). He has delivered invited talks/keynotes in Belgium, Israel, Korea, Japan, Turkey, and in the USA. Professor Ward is a board member of the Journal of Teaching in Physical Education and he reviews for 15 other academic journals He has served as the principal investigator on multidisciplinary projects supported by the National Institutes of Health and the US. Department of Education with $3.4 million in research contracts. He is a former chair of the Research council of SHAPE America and is a research fellow of SHAPE America and the National Academy of Kinesiology #554. He was awarded the 2014 SHAPE America Curriculum and Instruction Honor Award and the along with his colleagues at Ohio State, the SHAPE America Physical Education Teacher Education Honor Award. He is a recipient of the 2015 AERA SIG Research on Learning and Instruction in Physical Education Outstanding Scholar Award and he has been awarded in 2015-2017, the status of High-end Foreign Expert by the Peoples Republic of China. In 2017, he was awarded the SHAPE America research council Distinguish Service Award. He received the SHAPE America Scholar Award in 2018 and the 2019 Journal of Teaching in Physical Education outstanding reviewer award. In 2022 he was inducted as a Fellow, of the North American Society for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, Sport, & Dance





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