The Effects of Prompts and a Group-Oriented Contingency on Out-of-School Physical Activity in Elementary School-Aged Students

in Journal of Teaching in Physical Education
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  • 1 Auburn University
  • 2 Arizona State University
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This study examined the effectiveness of three conditions in which 48 fourth-grade students were prompted to be physically active out of school. Using an alternating treatments design (Cooper, Heron, & Heward, 2007) the three intervention conditions included: (a) Baseline: No prompting of students, (b) Teacher Prompts: Verbal prompt to “remember to do something active after school today”, and (c) Teacher Prompts and group-oriented contingencies: Verbal prompts with an index card where students could record their activity to earn bonus points as part of a team challenge. Graphically plotted pedometer data depicting data paths, variability, and trends within and across three conditions showed that students were more active outside of school only when the contingent reinforcement (c) was in place. This suggests that using prompts and group-oriented contingencies within Sport Education appears to be an effective and authentic context for promoting independent (i.e., free play) out-of-school time physical activity.

Hastie, Layne and Wadsworth are with Auburn University—Kinesiology, Auburn, AL. van der Mars is with Arizona State University-Polytechnic Campus, Mesa, AZ.

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