Pullela Gopichand Becomes Moderator in Online Interaction with Physical Literacy Guru Margaret Whitehead

Physical literacy is a concept that not many have fully understood at the moment. But it is a very important one that brings together physical education and the understanding of understanding the body's requirements for physical activity, for increased fitness, and then focuses on spreading that knowledge and getting people to physically alphabetize.

Educator, philosopher, and writer on physical literacy, Margaret Whitehead , also known as the 'mother' of the modern interpretation of the concept, is a leading light in the field that aims to guide people on their physical journeys. He was also instrumental in creating the International Association for Physical Literacy (IPLA) in 2014.

On Thursday Margaret Whitehead and Nigel Green , professor of physical education at Liverpool John Moores University joined the national badminton head coach and physical literacy promoter Gopichand for an interaction titled Physical Literacy: For Nation Development through an online portal. The interaction was attended by more than a hundred people, from various fields, including Indian athletes.

TimesofIndia.com was invited to attend the session.

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Moderated by Gopichand, the interaction focused on a number of topics related to physical literacy, such as what it really means, challenges, how it can be further promoted and encouraged in India, the general attitude towards physical education, especially in schools and what the global closure has revealed the need for people to be physically active.


Physical literacy is a very important part of our life. I believe that physical activity should take center stage. Health, fitness, and all of these things are important, especially these days of COVID-19. We see the need to do it more and more. Gopichand He said when he mentioned how in 2015, he realized that only winning gold medals cannot be the national goal.

Analyzing what people need to understand about the phrase 'physical literacy', Whitehead said: Physical literacy is not a state that can be reached and grasped. It is a provision. You are on this journey always. There is progress and exit. Physical literacy is like happiness, it needs to be nurtured. It is like an attitude, a perception.

When asked by Gopichand about how a range of activities can be provided for everyone, Whitehead said, As far as possible youngsters should be given a whole range of physical activities - sports, yoga, dance etc. Physical literacy can feed into the Olympic movement , which in turn can promote physical literacy .. It's no good motivating people, if they have nowhere to go

Gopichand also brought up the issue of a certain mindset that people have when it comes to physical education (PE) teachers and how they are often the first ones to be dropped when institutions are cutting corners.

Whitehead said: Key people must understand physical literacy and realign their goals accordingly. Support has to come from the top. We need to see physical education teachers as the key to taking this movement forward. Physical education teachers should not be viewed as second-class citizens. Government-level support is needed for more teachers, more teams, because it is not a trivial aspect, it is a key aspect for a holistic life.


Whitehead also emphasized the fact that physical education teachers need to feel valued.

Gopichand also asked Whitehead about how elderly people can be motivated to take up physical activity. Whitehead's take on this was that they should be explained the value of physical activity and that the medical and for medical authorities have a huge role to play in this, to motivate elderly people to take up physical activity for their overall wellbeing.

The global blockade, which had to be enforced to fight the Coronavirus The pandemic restricted pathways for physical exercise. But, at a time when most things have stopped, it has also made people realize the importance of physical activity. Whitehead's opinion on this was: I hope that the forced experience makes people realize the importance of physical activity and the value it adds to life.

Nigel Green also weighed in on this, saying he has seen more people out exercising during this period than ever before (UK allows outdoor exercise once a day during the lockdown).

TimesofIndia.com also asked Margaret Whitehead a couple of questions at the session.

One question was: In a highly populated country like India, in addition to space limitations, what other challenges do you see in terms of increasing physical activity and how can they be overcome?

To this White head replied saying: You must have the belief, it will not happen quickly. Don't be too ambitious. Models must be created and then they must be extended and expanded. You need to listen to the participants (for comments) and take it step by step.

Green also spoke about this before, saying that, in a country like India where there are space limitations, people should maximize the areas they have.

Another question raised by TimesofIndia.com at the session was: At a time when most young people seem happy to sit in air-conditioned rooms and play video games for hours, how does it motivate them to go outdoors and be physically active? ?

Whitehead answered this with an example of how the activity of her two grandsons is monitored, saying that the rule in their house is not more than an hour on their laptops, once during the day and once in the evening. Parents play a big role in this. She also said that the situation created by the Coronavirus has shown how people can get attached to online mediums and social media, adding that it's all the most difficult to break that pattern, but also all the more important. The human race is not doing itself any good by sitting still and using only a small part of their capabilities. Whitehead said.

In conclusion, Gopichand, while thanking Whitehead and Green said, We have been extras for too long. Physical activity needs to take center stage. It's very important, especially in these days of the Covid pandemic.