AU professor introduces discipline of motor development to physical educators in China

AUBURN – Mary Rudisill, head of Auburn University’s Department of Kinesiology in the College of Education, recently spent two weeks in China with other international motor development scholars to promote motor development as an academic discipline.

“Quality physical education programs in the United States engage students by allowing them to make choices about what type of physical activities they participate in,” said Rudisill. “Learning outcomes are defined by the teacher, but students have some input into the educational process. The climate for Chinese physical education is vastly teacher-driven and structured, which can result in students being disinterested and less engaged in physical activities.”

In China, Rudisill made presentations at Beijing Normal University, Beijing Institute of Education, the University of Hong Kong and Shenyang Institute of Physical Education and the Peoples Education Press National Motor Development Workshop. She presented to more than 4,000 Chinese physical educators at the Eighth China National Sport Science Convention at Beijing Sport University.

In addition to promoting the academic discipline of human motor development, Rudisill and her colleagues introduced the textbook, “An Introduction to Human Motor Development,” the first academic textbook on human motor development in China.

For more than three years, Rudisill has researched Chinese culture and early childhood education in China and has worked in concert with her College of Education colleagues and their Chinese partners to develop a bilingual preschool curriculum.

Rudisill is a researcher in AU’s Motor Behavior Center and serves as director of a research program designed to create and investigate model physical play programs for infants and young children. She focuses much of her research on motivating people of all ages, with an emphasis on children from birth to age 8, to learn to move and engage in physical activity.

Her research goal is to transform physical education and play programs for young children into highly motivating experiences that promote lifelong physical engagement and healthy lifestyles.

Rudisill said that it is important to promote the motor development discipline globally in attending to the concerns we all share about children’s health and physical development. Issues like childhood obesity are becoming worldwide epidemics. The health concerns we have for the children in Alabama are shared by parents and educators worldwide.

Contact: Michael Tullier, (334) 844-1324 (, or
Charles Martin, (334) 844-9999 (