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ERIC Number: EJ929469
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 32
ISSN: ISSN-1740-8989
A Qualitative Analysis of Individual Interest in Middle School Physical Education: Perspectives of Early-Adolescents
Garn, Alex C.; Cothran, Donetta J.; Jenkins, Jayne M.
Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, v16 n3 p223-236 2011
Background: Past research has revealed the positive impact that interest development can have on achievement outcomes with early-adolescents in physical education (PE). Interest is considered a psychological state of engaging and willingness to reengage in specific content that develops over time; however, little work to date has examined interest development over time using methods that obtain in-depth perspectives of students and intimate knowledge of the context. Purpose: To examine the factors early-adolescent students report to have an impact on the development of individual interest in PE and explore how students view the relationship between individual interest and learning in PE. Participants: A total of eight students from one middle school class in the Midwestern United States were purposefully sampled based on their different levels of individual interest toward PE. There was an even split between males (n = 4) and females (n = 4) and students were mostly Caucasian. The setting consisted of a traditional multi-activity curriculum that stressed large-sided team sports and recreational games. Data collection: Formal and informal interviews, field note observations, and survey data were collected over an 18-week period. Data analysis: Data were analyzed from a naturalistic perspective using inductive analysis and constant comparison. Multiple procedures were used to establish trustworthiness of the data including triangulation, peer debriefing, searches for disconfirming evidence, and an extended period of time in the context as a non-participant observer. Findings: Opportunities to practice and perceived competence were the main factors that students deemed as important ingredients to developing individual interest. Students viewed learning as an integral component for developing individual interest, but suggested that meaningful learning did not often take place during the semester. Characteristics of the curriculum and pedagogy were central to the students' reports and are discussed further in relation to individual interest. Conclusions: Results from this study build on past interest motivation research in many ways. First, while past studies have identified actual skill as an important component for building individual interest, the students of this study reported that perceived competence is also essential. Furthermore, findings revealed how traditional multi-activity curriculum can create barriers to creating individual interest. Finally, students discussed learning as a crucial element in developing individual interest, but did not view their PE class as an environment where meaningful learning occurred. Moving toward longer and more meaningful curricular units of instruction such as Sport Education could enhance the development of individual interest with early adolescents. (Contains 1 table.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Middle Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United States