Associate Professor Alan Patrick Ovens

PhD, MEd, DipPE, DipTchg


Alan is an Associate Professor in Physical Education in the School of Curriculum and Pedagogy, Faculty of Education and Social Work. He has held a range of roles within the faculty, including Deputy Head of the School of Critical Studies in Education, Head of the Health and Physical Education Group, and Director of the Richard Tinning Research Unit. He has also been the President of Physical Education New Zealand (2006-2012) and is the current past Chair of the AIESEP TGfU Special Interest Group. He is the Programme Co-Chair for the  S-STEP Castle Conference in England.  His key research interests are in complexity, teacher education pedagogy and methodologies for self-study research.

Research | Current

1. Innovative pedagogies for teacher education

The aim of the project is to study the on-going development impact of pedagogical strategies in teacher education settings. This currently involves understanding the effects of innovations such as:

• Students as co-contributors to course design
• Negotiated grading contracts
• Peer teaching
• Peer marking panels
• Lesson study

2. Future oriented teaching and learning

Supported by a UoA Faculty Research Development grant, the aim of the project is to study how new technologies increase our assessment repertoires and afford forms of assessment and feedback that inform pedagogical decision making

3. Exploring teachers professional learning networks
The aim of the project is to consider how the work of Physical Education teachers is embedded in particular socio-political configurations. By better understanding the particular inter-relations and social networks teachers create as part of their work, it is possible to better understand how teachers are constrained and enabled within their workplace settings.

Publications and presentations

Teaching | Current

  • EDPROFST 203 Teaching Health and PE 1
  • EDPROFST 303 Teaching Health and PE 2
  • EDCURRIC 431 Physical Education Pedagogy
  • EDPROFST 727 Social Theory and PE


Fellow of Physical Education New Zealand

Areas of expertise

Teacher Education, Physical Education curriculum and pedagogy, Educational Sociology, Complexity Studies of Education

Committees/Professional groups/Services

Executive Editorial Committee, Asia Pasific Journal of Sport, Health and Physical Education

Programme Co-Chair, 2016 & 2018 S-STEP Castle Conference

Chair, AIESEP Special interest group on TGfU

Member of the Auckland Advocacy Alliance

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Ovens, A. (2017). Putting complexity to work to think differently about transformative pedagogies in teacher education. Issues in Teacher Education, 26 (3), 38-51.
  • Butler, J., & Ovens, A. P. (2015). The TGfU governance networks: From conception to special interest group. Ágora para la Educación Física y el Deporte, 17 (1), 77-92. Related URL.
  • Ovens, A., & Fletcher, T. (Eds.) (2014). Self-study in Physical Education teacher education: Exploring the interplay of practice and scholarship. London: Springer. 10.1007/978-3-319-05663-0
  • Smith, W., & Ovens, A. P. (2014). Learning bodies: Embedded, embedding and always emerging. In O'Connor P, K. Fitzpatrick (Eds.) Education and the body (pp. 115-126). Auckland: Edify.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Wayne Smith, Katie Fitzpatrick
  • Garbett, D., & Ovens, A. (Eds.) (2014). Changing practices for changing times: Past, present and future possibilities for self-study research: Proceedings of the Tenth International Conference on Self-study of Teacher Education Practices. Auckland: University of Auckland.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Dawn Garbett
  • Ovens, A. P. (2013). Criticality in HPE: Think Piece 6: Disturbing practice in teacher education. New Zealand Physical Educator, 46 (2), 20-21. Related URL.
  • Ovens, A. P., Hopper, T., & Butler, J. (2013). Reframing curriculum, pedagogy and research. In A. P. Ovens, T. Hopper, J. Butler (Eds.) Complexity thinking in Physical Education: Reframing curriculum, pedagogy and research (pp. 1-13). London: Routledge.
  • Ovens, A., Hopper, T., & Butler, J. (Eds.) (2013). Complexity Thinking in Physical Education: Reframing Curriculum, Pedagogy and Research. London: Routledge. Related URL.


Contact details

Primary office location

Level 5, Room 530
New Zealand

Web links