Challenges in Implementing a Time-Limited Martial-Arts Curriculum in Middle-School Physical Education Classes: A Research Consultation Case

in Case Studies in Sport and Exercise Psychology
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  • 1 University of West Florida
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The present program consultation and evaluation examines the use of a martial-arts (MA) program in a middle-school physical education (PE) setting. Prior work and anecdotal reports suggest that MA instruction has the potential to produce both physical and psychosocial benefits for adult and adolescent participants, but rarely has a systematic program been implemented in schools. At the impetus of an MA organization, self-report measures of emotional intelligence and behavior of seventy 7th- and 8th-grade boys and girls who participated in a structured 18-session tae kwon do program as a component of their school’s PE curriculum were compared with those of 45 students who received typical PE class instruction. Participant satisfaction with the tae kwon do program and feedback received from the MA instructors and PE teachers suggest that this sport can be successfully integrated into school-based PE classes; this represents an opportunity to provide a novel programming alternative to students that promotes exercise and continued pursuit of physical activities, nonviolence, and respect of self and others. The project content, process, and challenges in working with a client MA organization to develop the curriculum, gaining entry into a public school, and explaining limitations of the research are discussed.

Routunda is with the Dept. of Psychology, and Ryan, the Dept. of Teacher Education and Educational Leadership, University of West Florida, Pensacola, FL.

Rotunda (rrotunda@uwf.edu) is corresponding author.
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