Whitehead (2001) proposes the term physical literacy is wholly legitimate, despite strong criticisms from traditional literacy advocates that those in Health and Physical Education are using the term to acquire academic legitimacy.
Therefore, just as readers need to make meaning of text and they can respond in a multitude of ways (e.g., through writing, drawing, drama, songs, and so on), students in Health and Physical Education are required to read and perceive their environment through their embodied capacities.
Rossi and Ryan (2006) emphasise that 'knowledge and understanding of appropriate language use is just as important in Health and Physical Education as it is in other curriculum areas' (p.
Most texts are multimodal as they are compositions of various literacy forms; therefore, literacies play an important role in Health and Physical Education as they allow for a diversity of ways in which multiliteracies can be developed in the learning area.
Ryan and Rossi (2008) connect Health and Physical Education with the four resources model:
This means that Health and Physical Education can contribute to the development of literacies at varying levels.
Health and Physical Education is a learning area which can develop a range of literacies in students, including traditionally understood aspects of literacy along with the wider conceptualisations of multiliteracies.
However, some Health and Physical Education teachers are resistant to change (Tannehill, Romar & O'Sullivan, 1994).
More health education classroom teachers have a joint major in health and physical education
(28.4%) than any other major, while more infused classroom teachers have a major in biology or other science (32.2%) than any other field.
About half (50.6%) of all physical education classroom teachers majored in physical education and 23.5% majored in health and physical education
. Few physical education classroom teachers majored in biology or other science (3.3%), exercise science (0.2%), or kinesiology (0.1%).