Young children’s (N = 50) divergent movement ability (DMA), which is one aspect of critical thinking in physical education, was examined in this study. Treatment Group A received 20 physical education lessons based on skill themes using indirect teaching styles (n = 16). Twenty lessons based on low-organized games content using direct teaching styles were provided to Treatment Group B (n = 17). No treatment was provided to the control subjects in Group C (n = 17). No significant DMA pretest differences were determined, and the independent variables (i.e., gender, intelligence, creativity, and background of movement experience) examined were not significantly related to subjects’ pretest DMA. A two-way ANOVA and post hoc Scheffe test revealed that Group A’s posttest DMA scores were significantly higher than those for either Group B or Group C, F(2, 47) = 11.7, p < .0001. Young children’s ability to generate different movement patterns (i.e., DMA), therefore, was significantly improved in response to employing critical thinking strategies in physical education.
Frances E. Cleland is with the Department of Physical Education at the University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH 03824.