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ERIC Number: EJ1142939
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: N/A
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0031-8981
Does Varying Attentional Focus Affect Skill Acquisition in Children? A Comparison of Internal and External Focus Instructions and Feedback
Agar, Charles; Humphries, Charlotte A.; Naquin, Millie; Hebert, Edward; Wood, Ralph
Physical Educator, v73 n4 2016
Recently, researchers have concluded that motor skill performance is enhanced when learners adopt an external attentional focus, compared to adopting an internal focus. We extended the line of inquiry to children and examined if skill learning in children was differentially affected by providing instructions and feedback that direct attentional focus internally versus externally and if the effect of attentional focus varied between younger and older children. Forty-eight children in two age groups (5-8 years old and 9-12 years old) were randomly assigned to either an internal attentional focus group or an external attentional focus group. Participants completed three 10-trial acquisition blocks of a shuffleboard accuracy task, followed by retention and transfer tests. There was no significant difference between internal and external focus groups, though older children performed significantly better than younger ones did, and all groups improved with practice. These results suggest that skill learning in children improves with task-based instruction and practice, regardless of the direction of attentional focus. More research is needed on children and attentional focus to determine whether they, and possibly other beginners, learn better with an internal or external focus of attention.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A