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Physical Literacy I: Foundations

Course Code: SPSC 5391
Faculty: Science & Technology
Department: Sport Science
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15 weeks
Learning Format: Lecture, Lab, Seminar
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

This course presents physical literacy (PL) as a primary objective of physical and health education. The course introduces all the domains of PL with an in-depth look at physical competence and confidence. Topics include: national physical activity guidelines, resource organizations for PL information in North America, fundamental movement skills, health- and skill-related fitness components, adaptation principles, remedial physical education, assessment and learning design for optimal challenge. This course combines active sessions and classroom sessions.

Course Content

1. Physical literacy (PL) introduction

1.1.   International Physical Literacy Association definition

1.2.   Sub-components operationalized:

1.2.1.  Competency

1.2.2.  Confidence

1.2.3.  Attitude

1.2.4.  Knowledge


2. North American context for physical activity/physical education and intervention

2.1.   Government of Canada standards

2.2.   Government of United States of America standards

2.3.   UN statements on PL and physical education

2.4.   Reports on physical activity levels in Canada

2.5.   BC ministry of education policies on physical education

2.6.   Characteristics, societal prevalence, and implications of activity related diseases

2.6.1.  Obesity

2.6.2.  Type II diabetes

2.6.3.  Osteoporosis

3.     Fundamental movement skills (FMS)

3.1.   Definitions

3.2.   Assessment

3.3.   Contextualizing in applied settings

3.4.   Limitations/challenges to the FMS concept

3.5    Environment and task considrations (enabling constraints and affordances)


4.     The components of physical fitness

4.1.  Health-related fitness including:

4.1.1.  Muscular strength

4.1.2.  Muscular endurance

4.1.3.  Cardiorespiratory (cardiovascular)

4.1.4.  Flexibility

4.1.5.  Body composition

4.2.   Components of skill-related fitness, including:

4.2.1.  Power

4.2.2.  Speed

4.2.3.  Agility

4.2.4.  Coordination

4.2.5.  Balance

4.2.6.  Reaction time

4.3.   Principles of fitness

4.3.1.  Overload, specificity and progression

4.3.2.  Reversibility and maintenance

4.3.3.  Dose and response

4.4.   Fitness prescription – Frequency, Intesity, Time, & Type

5.      Physical fitness skills and attitudes

5.1    Motivation

5.2.   Stages of health-behaviour change

5.3.   Factors that influence change in health behaviours

5.3.1.  Personal Factors

5.3.2.  Predisposing

5.3.3.  Enabling

5.3.4.  Reinforcing

5.4.   Self-management skills

6.      Physical literacy Assessment

6.1.   Standardized

6.1.1.  Physical and Health Educaiton Canada Passport for Life

6.1.2.  Canadian Sport 4 Life - PLAY tools

6.1.3.  Fitness assessment

6.1.4.  Skill assessment

6.2.   Authentic assessment

6.2.1.  Assessment as learning

6.2.2.  Individualized


7.      Applications of PL concepts to physical education curriculum

7.1.   Alternative curriculum models:

7.1.1.  Mastery-based models

7.1.2.  Fitness-based curricula (potential examples) ABC Fit PE for Life

7.1.3.  Play-based models

7.1.4.  Movement education

7.1.5.  Alternative environment/outdoor education

7.2.   Analysis of physical education lessons through the lenses of:

7.2.1.  Health-related fitness components

7.2.2.  Skill-related fitness components

7.2.3.  Principles of fitness

7.2.4.  Fitness prescription principles

7.2.5.  Quantity and quality of individual and group affordances for motor-skill development

7.2.6. National standards for physical activity and physical education

Methods of Instruction


Discussion Groups

Practical Applications

Field Observation

Peer and Teacher-led seminar


Guest Speakers



Experiential Learning

Means of Assessment

Evaluation will be carried out in accordance with Douglas College policy. The instructor will present a written course outline with specific evaluation criteria at the beginning of the semester. Evaluation may include the following:

Participation 0-25%
Microteaching 0-25%
Journals 0-25%
Article reviews 0-25%
Class observations 0-25%
Lesson analysis  0-25%
 Total 100%

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. List physical literacy resource agencies in Canada,
  2. Apply Canadian physical activity standards for children to individual student cases,
  3. Discuss risk factors associated with childhood physical inactivity,
  4. Assess physical activity levels and opportunities in school settings,
  5. Provide examples of fundamental movement skills (FMS),
  6. Provide examples of functional movement patterns,
  7. Apply health-related fitness components to lesson design,
  8. Apply principles of fitness to unit and lesson design, and
  9. Relate fitness prescription principles to physical education unit/lesson design.

course prerequisites

Enrolment in the Graduate Diploma in Physical and Health Education.

curriculum guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

course schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.