18 SES 09, Examining Environments in Physical Education and Youth Sport
According to the determinative document of health promotion, the Ottawa Charter “health is created and lived by people within the settings of their everyday life; where they learn, work, play and love” (WHO, 1986). This statement also emphasises the responsibility of institutions and, in our case, higher education for promoting healthy lifestyle. Even more so, since the time spent in higher education is the last chance for adolescents to practise any sports activity in an organised manner on a weekly basis (Strange 2003; Taliaferro et al. 2010; Wartman, Savage 2008). The aim of our study is to scrutinise the differences in sporting habits, sport motivations of students, and the institutional environment of practising intense sports in higher education institutions of Hungary, Slovakia, Ukraine, Romania, and Serbia.
In the theoretical background of our research, we synthesise the essence of the institutional effect. We examined the role of (higher educational) institutional environment in students’ sporting habits and thus their health-consciousness. The institutional effect is divided into three factors by most authors. They are formal characteristics, institutional characteristics, and environmental impacts. As Clark’s (1960) concept points out, the sum of the power of the type of institution, the hidden message of the structure of the syllabus, and the appropriate communication from the instructor’s side leave us with the most important impact of the institution, which can also be regarded as the oldest theory of the institutional impact. Another theory, probably the most comprehensive one, talks to us about the four dimensions of higher education, which are the following: the composition of the student-instructor society, the static and dynamic features of the organisational structure, the physical environment, and the institutional culture itself (Strange, 2003). According to Pusztai (2015), the institutional effect is made up of an environment created by institutions that are provided by potential opportunities and the orientation and interaction of students in such directions. It is important to note that the amount of institutional contribution of certain faculties and institutions may vary in light of the social background of students. This means that the knowledge and skills that students already have when they enter higher education will not be shaped in the same way and to the same extent in different institutions and their subdivisions. Based on the theories of institutional impact we compared the students researched intuitions by frequency of doing sport, attitudes to sport, the role of sport activities in free time and the answers about the reasons of not doing sports. In explanation of significant differences we focused on the physical environment (sport infrastructure) and the institutional culture regarding sport (sport concepts, programs, and events of higher education institutions).
We use both quantitative and qualitative methods. In the quantitative part of the research, our questionnaires were answered by 2,017 students from 15 institutions in 2015; in the qualitative part, we conducted eight interviews with institution leaders responsible for sports and physical education teachers. We applied a combined, both aggregate and stratified, method of sampling: First, we stratified the population faculty by faculty, and then we chose seminar groups at random and asked them to fill out our survey. Accordingly, the item numbers change faculty by faculty in proportion to their total number of students; hence, there is a higher number of items of certain faculties. In the research, we tested the frequency of practising sports. Students could choose from six options ranging from “never” to “at least three or more times a week”. The factor analysis of pastime activities sports such as cycling, swimming, ball games, extreme sports, hiking, excursion, games of groups (e.g., cards and bowling) concentrated into separate factors. We were also interested in why doing sports can be considered important, which we regard as a kind of motivational factor. By factor analysis we separate two attitudes: the competitive and the health-promoting attitude (Maximum likelihood method, direct oblimin rotation, explained variance: 48.9%, KMO: .770). We also wanted to know why students do not do sports at all or only very little: They could answer with “yes” or “no” or by stating that they were not satisfied with the sports facilities offered by the university. We compared the students with respect to sports done in an organized and institutional manner. We were curious to see the number of members of sports clubs, organizations, and groups. We used an SPSS 24 program package, variance analysis, and a Chi-squared test. We tried to understand the patterns of institutional differences in the quantitative results through qualitative methods. In connection with the sports concept, sports options, and infrastructure of the institutions, we conducted interviews with leaders of the institutions and institutes, PE teachers, who are responsible for sports activities of the institutions, and the organisation of PE lessons.
The conclusive finding of our research is that the sporting habits of students in higher education are obviously influenced by the institutional effect. This research has confirmed that an adequate sports infrastructure, a wide range of options, well-organised sport programs, and an institutional sports strategy can increase the amount of students’ sports activities. In this respect, the sports strategy of the University of Debrecen is remarkable in the sense that it, without a doubt, increases the frequency of students doing sports. Making sports club memberships as a part of curriculum requirements is one of the solutions that drives students to spend their free time practicing sports (which is the case at Ferenc Rákóczi II. Transcarpathian Hungarian Institute). The other one is the wide range of sports programs. As of late, many studies have aimed towards the exposure of the added value of institutions. During the course of these studies, the enumeration of previous and parallel effects seems to cause most of the difficulties (Pusztai, 2015). Health promotion and health-consciousness are definitely the background motivations behind students doing sports. This result gives a special meaning in light of the above-described cases of students who a lot of the time are restrained from physical activities due to health issues, principally the students of the Ukrainian institutions in Berehove and Munkachevo. We have to emphasize that the examined region is one of the most disadvantaged regions in the European Union where the rate of disadvantaged students is much higher than the EU average, and who were excluded from regular sports activities before entering university/college. Higher Education institutions give them the last chance to socialize with any regular sport activity and health-conscious lifestyle as well.
Clark, B. R. (1960). The “Cooling-Out” Function in Higher Education. The American Journal of Sociology, 65(6), 569-576. Pusztai G. (2015) ’Pathways to Success in Higher Education’ (Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang Verlag) Serbu, J. (1997). Effect of college athletic participation on later life satisfaction and job satisfaction. College Student Journal 2, 261—270. Strange, C. C. (2003). Dynamics of campus environments. In Komives, S. R. & Woodard, D. B. Jr. (Eds.), Student Services: A Handbook for the Profession (pp. 297–316). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Taliaferro, L. A., Rienzo, B. A. & Donovan, K. A. (2010). Relationships Between Youth Sport Participation and Selected Health Risk Behaviors From 1999 to 2007. Journal of School Health 80 (8), 399-410. Wartman, K. L., & Savage, M. (2008). Parental involvement in higher education: Understanding the relationship among students, parents, and the institution. ASHE Higher Education Report, 33(6), 1–125. WHO (1986). Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion. First International Conference on Health Promotion, Canada, 17-21. November 1986.
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