08 SES 04, Schools, Physical Activity and Health: Does Age Matter?
Parallel Paper Session
Schools have increasingly been seen to play a key role in promoting physical activity (Cale & Harris, 2005; Stratton et al., 2008), and this is reflected in the aims of PE curricula in many countries. However, it has been suggested that there are misconceptions about health, physical activity and fitness amongst young people (Harris, 1993, 1994; Placek et al., 2001; Stewart & Mitchell, 2003) and identified weaknesses in their knowledge and understanding of health and fitness (OFSTED, 2005).For example, Placek et al. (2001) found that appearance was prominent in children’s conceptualisations of health and fitness, and that being thin was considered a good sign of fitness. In another study, Merkle and Treagust (1993) reported that pupils related fitness to big muscles and running without breathlessness. Other research by Harris (1993) suggests that, although young people have some knowledge of health, fitness and physical activity, their understanding is limited and what they say is unrelated to the way in which they live their own lives. It would seem, therefore, that whilst schools and teachers are required to develop young people’s knowledge and understanding to enable them to lead healthy, active lifestyles, young people often do not receive these messages in the way that they were perhaps intended or perhaps the messages were not communicated clearly. The purpose of this paper, therefore, is to explore further young people’s knowledge and understanding in relation to healthy, active lifestyles. A number of recommendations are also offered and it is hoped that these will improve teaching, learning and associated behavioural change in this area.
The research draws on constructivist learning theory to both explain the findings, and to offer recommendations. At the pupil level, this theory is helpful as it encourages a view of learners actively making sense of information that they receive (e.g. Kirk & MacDonald, 1998) and, at the teacher level, it can help inform strategies for preparing teachers to effectively communicate messages about healthy, active lifestyles to young people (Armour & Yelling, 2004). Indeed, recent research endorses continuing professional development that is akin to some of the key principles of constructivist learning theory (e.g. Simons, 1993). Of particular relevance to the learning of both teachers and their pupils is the notion that learning should be situated within contexts that are meaningful and authentic to the learner (e.g. Lave & Wenger, 1991). Framing our research within constructivist learning theory has, therefore, enabled us to better understand the learning needs of both teachers and their pupils and suggest strategies for effective teaching.
Armour, KM., & Yelling, MR (2004) Continuing Professional Development for Experienced Physical Education Teachers: Towards Effective Provision. Sport, Education and Society, 9 (1), 95-114. Cale, L. & Harris, J. (2005) Exercise and Young People (Eds). Hampshire: Palgrave. Harris, J. (1993) Young people’s perceptions of health, fitness and exercise. British Journal of Physical Education Research Supplement 13. 5-9. Harris, J. (1994). Young people’s perceptions of health, fitness and exercise: implications for the teaching of health-related exercise. Physical Education Review 17 (2): 143-151. Kirk, D., & MacDonald, D. (1998) Situated Learning in Physical Education. Journal of Teaching in Physical education, 17, 376-387. Lave, J.,& Wenger, E. (1991) Situated Learning: legitimate peripheral participation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Merkle, DG., & Treagust, DF. (1993). Student knowledge of health and fitness concepts and its relation to locus of control. School Science and Mathematics, 93, 355-359. Ofsted (2005). Physical education in secondary schools. London: OFSTED. Placek, JH., Griffin, lL., Dodds, P., Raymond, C., Tremino, F., and James, A. (2001) Middle school students’ conceptions of fitness: the long road to a healthy lifestyle. Journal of Teaching in Physical Education 20: 314-323. Ritchie, J., & Lewis, J. (2003). Qualitative research practice: a guide for social science students and researchers. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Simons, PRJ (1993) Constructive Learning: The Role of the Learner. In T.M. Duffy & J.Lowyck & DH. Jonassen (Eds.), Designing Environments for Constructive Learning. London: Springer Verlag. Stewart, S., and Mitchell, M. (2003) Instructional Variables and Student Knowledge and Conceptions of Fitness. Journal of Teaching in Physical Education 22: 533-551. Stratton, G., Fairclough, SJ., and Ridgers, N. (2008). Physical activity levels during the school day. In Youth Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour. Challenges and Solutions, eds. AL. Smith and SJH. Biddle, 321-350. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
Search the ECER Programme
- Search for keywords and phrases in "Text Search"
- Restrict in which part of the abstracts to search in "Where to search"
- Search for authors and in the respective field.
- For planning your conference attendance you may want to use the conference app, which will be issued some weeks before the conference
- If you are a session chair, best look up your chairing duties in the conference system (Conftool) or the app.