The development of the "PE product" : physically educated and physically active individuals

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Hilland, Toni ORCID: 0000-0001-9817-2051 (2010) The development of the "PE product" : physically educated and physically active individuals. PhD thesis, Liverpool John Moores University.


The promotion of physical activity. is a public health priority, and school Physical Education (PE) has been highlighted as an influential setting that can engage young people in physical activity. PE has a number of aims which include striving to produce physically educated and active youth (i. e., the 'PE product'), which can be described in terms of young people who engage in recommended levels of habitual physical activity, and who have competent levels of physical activity ability, knowledge, and understanding. The overall aim of this thesis was therefore to establish how PE influences the outcomes representing the `PE product. ' Key objectives were to: a) develop and test a scale to assess students' Perceived PE Worth and Perceived PE Ability, to explore how these two constructs are related, and to investigate age and sex differences (Study 1); b) investigate which secondary school PE factors most strongly correlate with outcomes representing the 'PE product, ' (Study 2) and; c) qualitatively explore the views of PE students to help understand the development of physically educated and active young people, and clarify the results from the second study (Study 3). Study 1 developed and tested the Physical Education Predisposition Scale (PEPS). Predisposing items including perceptions of competence, self-efficacy, enjoyment and attitude in relation to PE were incorporated into the PEPS. Initially Year 8 and 9 students from four schools in the North West of England were invited to participate. Three hundred and fifteen completed PEPS were returned, students then completed the PEPS 14 days later to enable the assessment of test-retest reliability. The PEPS included 11 of the original items,six Perceived PE Worth items and five Perceived PE Ability items and demonstrated an acceptable level of internal consistency and test-retest reliability. Consequently, the PEPS has potential as a concise and straightforward measurement tool for teachers and researchers to use in the PE setting. Results demonstrated that there was a strong positive association between Perceived PE Worth and Perceived PE Ability (r = 0.69). Furthermore, boys reported significantly higher values on both variables, than girls, and Year 8 students scored significantly higher than their Year 9 counterparts. Within Study 2,146 schools were initially invited to participate in the study and the Heads of each PE department were sent a PE environment audit. The response rate was 27.4%, with 17 schools demonstrating a willingness to take further part in the research. The main outcome variables from the PE environment audit were then used as the basis of school selection, with-three schools being chosen. All Year 8 and 9 students from these schools were invited to participate in the research; the response rate was 28.9% (90 boys, 209 girls). Predictor variables representing predisposing (e. g., Perceived PE Worth and PE Ability), enabling (school PE environment), and personal demographic factors (e. g., socio-economic status), as described in Welk's (1999) Youth Physical Activity Promotion Model (YPAPM) were measured. Outcome variables involved physical activity (assessed by accelerometry and the Physical Activity Questionnaire for Older Children), knowledge and understanding of health-related exercise, and PE ability (teachers' ratings). A number of factors including, sex, year group, BMI, deprivation score, Perceived PE Ability, Perceived PE Worth, number of students on roll, and number of indoor spaces, most strongly correlated with outcomes relating to the 'PE product. ' The final study involved a sub-sample of students from Study 2. These were selected to take part in focus group interviews based on their teachers' normative ratings of their PE ability. Focus groups topics were developed based on Welk's (1999) YPAPM and results from Study 2. The detailed focus group data suggest that girls' negative perception's of PE Worth and PE Ability, learned helplessness beliefs, sex issues in PE, and perceived barriers to physical activity, may partly explain the observed sex differences in physical activity. The students highlighted numerous sources of Perceived PE Ability and PE Worth that could also potentially clarify the relationship between perceptions of competence, enjoyment and physical activity. The enhanced Health Related Exercise (HRE) messages from female PE teachers may account for girls' superior knowledge and understanding of HRE and students who perceive PE to be fun and enjoyable may be positively engaged and more motivated to learn and exert effort. Finally, both students' perceptions of progression in PE over time and PE teachers' positive feedback clarifies why teachers' rating of their students improves with increasing year group. The overall findings of this thesis suggest that PE teachers should provide students with enjoyable, successful experiences, positive feedback, choice and as much variety as is feasible. In addition, a classroom climate that fosters learning and improvement, rather than competition and winning is required. This study highlighted the need for interventions targeting girls and their perceptions of barriers to physical activity. Finally, a number of physical activity issues and themes were raised in this study, and reinforcing variables of parents, family and peers were highlighted as central to the students' physical activity interests and participation (Welk, 1999). Therefore, future work is needed to unravel the complex interrelationships of reinforcing factors on students' thoughts and feelings on school PE.

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Item type Thesis (PhD thesis)
Official URL
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1106 Human Movement and Sports Science
Historical > FOR Classification > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education
Current > Division/Research > College of Sports and Exercise Science
Keywords Recreation; Leisure; Public health; Physical education
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