Participation Styles in Elementary Physical Education

Jan-Erik Romar, Jonas Nygård, Tomas Smedman, Emyr Williams

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Both observational data and direct measurement of student activity seem to indicate a large variance in student activity during physical education lessons. The aim of this study was to identify participation styles during elementary physical education lessons by using multiple data sources. A class of fifth grade students (N = 17) and a class of sixth grade students (N = 14) were taught by a physical education specialist for three lessons each. Both classes had coed physical education lessons and all students were systematically analyzed by using heart rate measurement, systematic observation and perceived exertion. Each lesson was videotaped for further analysis. Finally, six high and five low skilled students were formally interviewed after the last lesson about their experiences in physical education. The results indicated four different participation styles among the students in these physical education elementary classes. These were low skilled fighters, low skilled avoiders, high skilled fighters and high skilled avoiders. Several contextual factors are contributors to these participation styles. The main reasons for this appear to be differences in students’ fitness levels, physical activity behavior and interest in physical education. This large variation among students shows that teachers need to treat each student individually
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)26–38
JournalAdvances in Physical Education
Publication statusPublished - 2015
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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