Episode 9: Alexandra Brown – Make Sure It Is Fun!


Welcome to the next episode review of the PE Insights Podcast! In today’s review, host Nathan Walker engages in an insightful conversation with Alexandra Brown, a lecturer and teacher educator at the University of Sunderland. As the Physical Education lead for her course, Alex brings a wealth of experience and enthusiasm to the discussion.

Alex’s Educational Journey

Alex shares her unique educational journey, highlighting her early involvement in dance and sports. From pursuing dance with dreams of performing in London’s West End to becoming a Zumba instructor and freelance dance teacher, Alex’s journey took an unexpected turn. Her passion for working with children and teaching led her to a degree in Sport and Exercise Development at the University of Sunderland. This laid the foundation for her transition into teaching and eventually joining the University as a lecturer.

Teaching in Alternative Provision

Alex’s journey includes a significant phase in alternative provision, where she worked with pregnant women and mothers, teaching subjects like English, maths, and health and social care. This experience, along with her master’s degree, shaped her perspective on education and led her to her current role as a lecturer and teacher educator.

Primary and Secondary PE Training

As the Physical Education lead at the University of Sunderland, Alex primarily works with primary teacher trainees. However, she also extends her expertise to secondary PE trainees, emphasising the importance of a broad and inclusive curriculum.

The Essence of Physical Education

In the podcast, Alex discusses the broader significance of physical education beyond the technical aspects of teaching sports. She highlights the life skills that children develop through PE, including resilience, teamwork, determination, and independence. Alex emphasises the role of PE in nurturing well-rounded individuals, especially crucial in the post-COVID era where resilience and teamwork are vital.

What Makes a Good Primary School PE Lesson?

According to Alex, the key to a successful primary school PE lesson is fun. She stresses the importance of keeping children engaged and active while focusing on fundamental skills. Alex shares examples of creative and enjoyable activities, such as “Shark Attack,” demonstrating how imaginative approaches make learning more effective.

Challenges in PE Education

Addressing the challenges in initial teacher education for PE, Alex discusses the negative connotations some trainees bring due to past experiences. She emphasises the need to instil passion for PE in trainees, guiding them to overcome preconceived notions and become successful PE teachers.

Teaching Dance in Primary Schools

Alex provides insights into teaching dance in primary schools, offering various activities and strategies. From using familiar choreography to incorporating movement-based activities and creating an Olympic-themed routine, she encourages teachers to be creative and adapt their approach to engage all students.

Innovation and Enjoyment

In the final segment of the discussion, the speaker, identified as Alex, shares insights into teaching physical education (PE) and emphasises the importance of making PE enjoyable for both students and teachers. For trainees, Alex advocates taking risks within safe boundaries, pushing outside comfort zones, and experimenting with unconventional activities like Zumba or Quidditch. The presence of a mentor provides a safety net during these experiments. Post-qualification, the key message is to make PE lessons fun, avoiding monotony. Alex encourages teachers to stay updated through continuous professional development (CPD) and observe others, fostering a mindset of lifelong learning.


The conversation underscores the dynamic nature of education, with Alex stressing the need for constant reflection and adaptation. Overall, Alex emphasises the significance of maintaining enthusiasm, staying innovative, and seeking input from peers to ensure that PE remains engaging and enjoyable for both educators and students.

About the Guest

Today’s episode is a conversation with Alexandra Brown. Alex is a lecturer in initial teacher education at the University of Sunderland. She works predominantly with primary school trainees, and she is the PE lead for her programme. Alex also delivers dance and gymnastics content for secondary PE trainees. In her spare time, Alex is a freelance dance teacher and enjoys inspiring young people through dance and creative movement. Hope you enjoy this one! You can connect with Alex directly via X at @alexbrown93

Listen and Connect

To listen to the full episode please follow these links to Spotify or Apple Podcasts.

If you would like to be a guest on the PE Insights Podcast please reach out by contacting us here or reach out to Nathan Walker via X at @NWalkerPE

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