PE Insight Episode 4: Ben Holden – Revitalising Physical Education: A Reflective Journey Towards Engaging Curricula


In the dynamic world of physical education, the need for continuous reflection and innovative curriculum design takes centre stage. Renowned educator Ben urges physical education leaders and teachers to break free from the constraints of routine-based curricula and embrace dynamic, culturally rich practices. In this blog post, we delve into Ben’s insights on the critical role of reflective teaching, the power of introducing diverse sports activities, and the transformative impact of physical education on individuals.

Reflective Practice and Curriculum Review

Ben advocates for a departure from the norm, challenging physical education professionals to engage in reflective practices that extend beyond individual lessons. He questions the prevalence of allowing the curriculum to roll over unchanged each year and emphasises the importance of being outward-focused and open to new ideas. The core message is clear: a regular review of the curriculum is essential for its continued relevance and effectiveness.

Around the World in Sport Ways

To illustrate his approach, Ben introduces the innovative concept of “Around the World in Sport Ways.” This initiative encourages the incorporation of sporting activities from various global regions into the curriculum. Not only does this approach provide fresh perspectives on teaching concepts, but it also acts as a powerful equaliser, engaging students who may not have had access to traditional sports. Ben advocates for a departure from the standard curriculum, urging educators to explore activities that spark student interest and drive engagement.

A Personal Project: American Football with a Twist

Ben shares a personal project involving the introduction of American football in a UK school, aiming to inject excitement and break the monotony of traditional physical education. Focusing on basics, designing plays, and incorporating elements of novelty, Ben created a curriculum unit that stood out. The project exemplifies the potential of adopting a reflective and innovative approach to teaching, making physical education memorable and impactful for students.

International Perspective: The Power of Physical Education

Ben recounts his experience coaching a team of Sudanese refugees in Iraq during the Viva World Cup. This international endeavor underscored the transformative power of physical education, especially for individuals who had never had access to it. The story emphasises the significance of quality physical education, focusing on physical literacy, understanding tactics, and fostering a positive and inclusive environment.

Key Takeaways for Physical Education Professionals

Summarising his advice, Ben emphasises three key messages

  1. Self-care: Prioritise well-being to prevent burnout, maintaining a healthy work-life balance and engaging in activities outside of work.
  2. Positive Communication: Actively share positive experiences with parents and on social media to foster a supportive and engaged community.
  3. Reflective Practice: Establish a consistent habit of reflective teaching. Act on insights gained from reflection to continually improve teaching methods and curriculum design.


Ben’s insights serve as a call to action for physical education professionals to reassess their approaches, embrace innovation, and prioritise the well-being of both educators and students. By integrating reflective practices, exploring diverse sports, and acknowledging the transformative power of physical education, educators can create an environment that fosters engagement, inclusivity, and a lifelong love for physical activity. The journey towards revitalising physical education begins with reflection, innovation, and a commitment to creating dynamic, culturally rich curricula.

About the Guest

Today’s episode is a conversation with Ben Holden. Ben has been a PE teacher for 15 years and was previously a Head of PE. He has recently become the Chair of the Physical Education Committee for the International School Sports Federation and continues to work with PE Scholar. He is the brain behind ‘@WannaTeachPE’ and the author of the successful publication. I hope you enjoy listening to Ben’s thoughts.

You can connect with Ben directly via X at @WannaTeachPE’

You can also grab a copy of Ben’s Book “Wanna Teach PE” here.

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 @NWalkerPETop of Form

Get brand new resources, courses, research and insight delivered every week!