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ERIC Number: EJ818166
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006-Feb
Pages: 16
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 52
ISSN: ISSN-1740-8989
Effects of a Physical Education Intervention to Improve Student Activity Levels
Fairclough, Stuart J.; Stratton, Gareth
Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, v11 n1 p29-44 Feb 2006
Background: School physical education is available to most young people and provides a structured context for physical activity participation. Regular physical activity during childhood can confer acute and long-term health benefits. From this health perspective one of the goals of physical education is for students to take part in appropriate amounts of physical activity during lesson time. However, the diverse aims of physical education (e.g., motor, cognitive, social development, etc.) may hinder achievement of this goal as they can contrast with participation in health-enhancing physical activity. Despite these constraints improving physical activity opportunities during lessons is a worthwhile aspiration and has been a research focus for some time. Purpose: To increase cardio respiratory health-enhancing physical activity levels during girls' gymnastics lessons by manipulating the lesson contexts and teacher behaviours, and to achieve this without compromising other planned lesson objectives. Participants and setting: Two classes of 30-32 Year 7 girls (aged 11-12 years) from one co-educational high school in Merseyside, England participated in the study. Classes were randomly appointed to control (CON) and intervention (INT) conditions. Intervention: The key principle of the pedagogical intervention was that the INT teacher including enhanced physical activity levels as an additional planned lesson objective, "alongside" existing objectives from a gymnastics unit of work. The INT teacher used these slightly modified lesson objectives to underpin the lesson planning and delivery. Research design: The research incorporated a quasi-experimental design whereby both the CON and INT classes were taught gymnastics lessons based on the same unit of work over a six-week period. Following an initial baseline lesson, the CON class participated in lessons planned and taught in the regular way, while the INT class took part in lessons that employed the intervention principles integrated into the planning and delivery. Data collection: Student activity levels, lesson contexts and teacher behaviours were quantified over a six-lesson gymnastics unit using a validated direct observation instrument (SOFIT). After each lesson the CON and INT teachers completed evaluations indicating whether lesson objectives were met. Data analysis: The dependent variables reflected lesson length, student activity levels, lesson contexts and teacher behaviours. Student activity levels included proportions of the time spent at various activity levels and three summary measures of activity, which were, (a) the proportion of lesson time engaged in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA), (b) estimated mean energy expenditure rate per child (EER), and (c) estimated total energy expenditure per child per lesson (TEE). Data were analysed between classes using independent t-tests. Findings: Both classes engaged in relatively low levels of MVPA, although the INT students took part in significantly more than the CON students (18.5% vs. 13.5% of lesson time, p less than 0.05). EER was 8% greater among the INT class compared to the CON class (p = 0.07). TEE was similar between classes, even though CON lessons were 6.4 min longer. Furthermore, INT students had most opportunities for skill practice (43.1% vs. 34.7% of lesson time, p less than 0.05). Both teachers indicated that their planned lesson objectives were achieved. Conclusions: Modest improvements in MVPA can be realised in gymnastics, whose goals and characteristics seemingly contrast with engagement in cardio-respiratory health-enhancing physical activity. Integrating increased MVPA as a lesson objective can optimise students' active participation in lessons. (Contains 2 figures and 1 table.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Grade 7
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom (England)