Playing to win
Inspiring, experienced and switched-on is how his students and peers describe University of Newcastle’s Dr Philip Morgan - not to mention humble, humorous and utterly engaging.
"Junk food ads should be banned on children’s TV. Stand up if you agree with this statement," he says, making a pointed link to the topic-at-hand - the fact that prolonged sitting has emerged as a major contributor to childhood obesity.
Students are getting to their feet, clearly engaged in the Associate Professor’s approach to teaching health and physical education. When one boy stands alone in believing children should have yearly height and weight assessments at school, Philip encourages him not to ‘look around’ for approval but ‘be his own man’.
It’s a stance Philip himself subscribes to.
"I always wanted to be a PE teacher," he says of his single-minded ambition to educate others. Now also involved in around 25 research projects, Philip’s philosophy has always been: ‘Do what you love.’
It’s clear he does - and is loved for it. For over ten years his students have given him a 5-star ‘excellent’ rating for his teaching.
Philip’s unique teaching methods are grounded in a desire to give students the skills and courage they need to become exceptional primary school teachers. He regularly uses personal anecdotes and current affairs to simplify concepts and engage his classes.
"Many of my students have had negative childhood experiences with PE and are quite anxious at the thought of teaching physical education. Being able to affect their beliefs and confidence is very motivating," he explains.
Philip has won eight teaching excellence awards, including the prestigious Carrick Institute Award for Australian University Teaching Excellence and the Australian Teacher Educator of the Year Award for his outstanding teaching methods.
Portrait of Philip Morgan was taken by Christine Menz, Bachelor of Fine Art.