‘We have to wait in a queue for our turn quite a bit’ Examining children’s physical activity during primary physical education lessons
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AbstractThe overall purpose of this study was to examine children’s physical activity (PA) during primary physical education (PE). This was achieved through the following two research objectives: (1) to measure children’s PA, lesson context and teacher promotion of PA during PE lessons; and (2) to explore teachers’ and children’s perspectives on PA levels during PE lessons. Evidence suggests that children’s PA during PE is below recommended levels and further research is required to understand the reasons why. Through a mixed method design, 138 children were observed using the System for Observing Fitness and Instruction Time, 80 children participated in group interviews, and 13 teachers were interviewed, across three primary schools in England. Findings indicated that the mean percentage of lesson time allocated to moderate to vigorous PA (MVPA) was 42.4% and the average lesson length was 35.3 minutes. Qualitative themes identified were: ‘knowledge and beliefs’; ‘teacher pedagogy’; and ‘teacher development’. The findings indicate that a change in perspective is needed, which includes a focus on PA during primary PE lessons. Intervention work is required that targets teachers’ knowledge and beliefs towards PE along with the development of effective teaching strategies. However, this needs to be grounded in an ecological approach which will allow researchers and schools to target the various levels of influence. It is strongly recommended that interventions are grounded in behaviour change theory, as this study indicates that sharing knowledge about pedagogical strategies to increase children’s MVPA does not necessarily produce changes in teachers’ behaviours.
JournalEuropean Physical Education Review
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