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Contributions of Research on Student Thinking in Physical Education

Amelia M. Lee

This paper presents a model of student thinking and behavior that depicts students as active participants in the classroom who affect classroom events as much as they are affected by them. Research evidence suggests students’ entry characteristics and their initial beliefs, attitudes, and values concerning school and physical education are influenced by the students’ social and cultural landscape. These variables shape students’ thoughts about what physical education is or should be, what their roles as students should be, how they should approach the content offered, and what their chances of success might be. Although student attributes and beliefs help shape initial acceptance of and interactions with the content and processes of instruction, there are things teachers can do to enhance the quality of students’ learning. The environment can influence student perceptions by promoting challenge, emphasizing mastery, and offering opportunities to engage in tasks that are meaningful and valued.

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Entry Characteristics, Practice Variables, and Cognition: Student Mediation of Instruction

Melinda A. Solmon and Amelia M. Lee

In this study, relationships between entry characteristics, in-class behavior, self-report measures of student cognition, and achievement during motor skill instruction were examined. Fifty-six sixth-grade students participated in a 4-day instructional unit on the forearm pass in volleyball. All classes were videotaped to code in-class behavior. Data collection included skill pretest and posttest, Harter’s Perceived Competence Scale, forms about the errors made during practice, and a Cognitive Processes Questionnaire (CPQ). Correlates of achievement, as reflected by residual gain scores, were perceived competence, student reports of attention, and variables indicating the quality of practice. Relationships between entry characteristics, in-class behavior, and measures of cognition were evaluated using canonical correlational analyses, and these relationships suggest that entry characteristics are important factors in how students interact in achievement settings. The results of this study show that investigating the complex relationships between these sets of variables can yield results that clarify how students effectively mediate instruction.

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Relationships among Dispositional Ability Conceptions, Intrinsic Motivation, Perceived Competence, Experience, and Performance

Weidong Li, Amelia M. Lee, and Melinda A. Solmon

This study was designed to explore the relationships among individuals’ dispositional ability conceptions, intrinsic motivation, experience, perceived competence, persistence, and performance. Participants practiced a novel task, completed surveys before instruction and after practicing the task, and completed a skill test. The results indicated that participants with higher levels of entity ability conceptions were likely to exert less effort and be less intrinsically motivated during practice. Participants with more experience were likely to feel more competent before and after practice. Perceived competence, incremental ability conceptions, and performance were positive predictors of intrinsic motivation. The results suggest that providing students opportunities to experience a variety of activities and creating an environment in which students can feel competent, believe in the efficacy of effort, and experience success could foster intrinsic motivation to actively engage in activities.

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Student Thoughts during Tennis Instruction

Amelia M. Lee, Dennis K. Landin, and Jo A. Carter

Thirty fourth-grade students were provided two 30-min lessons on the tennis forehand ground stroke. The students and the teacher were videotaped, and, following each lesson, the students were interviewed using a stimulated-recall procedure. Frequency measures of successful practice trials were also coded for each student during each practice session. Analysis revealed a significant positive relationship between skill-related thoughts and successful performance during class. The findings support the notion that student thoughts are important mediators between instruction and student response patterns.

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Instructional Effects of Teacher Feedback in Physical Education

Amelia M. Lee, Nyit C. Keh, and Richard A. Magill

Feedback is considered an important teaching function and researchers in sport pedagogy have shown interest in verifying this importance to achievement in physical education. This review paper examines the feedback research in physical education and discusses factors which might help explain some inconsistencies. The essential role of teacher feedback in motor-skill learning is questioned.

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Changes in Middle School Students’ Motivation Toward Physical Education Over One School Year

Zan Gao, Amelia M. Lee, Melinda A. Solmon, and Tao Zhang

This study investigated the relationships and mean-level changes of middle school students’ motivation (expectancy-related beliefs, task values, self-efficacy, and outcome expectancy) toward physical education over time, and how gender affected students’ motivation. Participants (N = 206) completed questionnaires over a 1-year period: once in the sixth and seventh grades and again in the seventh and eighth grades. Results yielded that self-efficacy and task values were positive predictors of students’ intention across cohorts. The mean levels of self-efficacy decreased over time for students in Cohort 1 (across sixth and seventh grades). However, results revealed a consistent decline in the mean levels of other motivational variables for both cohorts. No gender differences emerged for the variables. The findings are discussed in regard to the implications for educational practice, and future research areas are presented.

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Children’s Conceptions of Ability in Physical Education

Amelia M. Lee, Jo A. Carter, and Ping Xiang

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Relationship of Practice Using Correct Technique to Achievement in a Motor Skill

Madge H. Ashy, Amelia M. Lee, and Dennis K. Landin

This study examined the relationship between the total number of practice trials and practice trials using correct technique and achievement in a soccer kick-up skill. Eight preservice physical education teachers taught two lessons to 10 fourth-grade students; upon completion of the instructional periods the students were posttested on the soccer skill. Each class was videotaped, and the entire lesson for each day was coded for each student using an event-recording system. Findings indicated moderately high significant relationships between practice using correct technique and student achievement.

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Beliefs about Gender Appropriateness, Ability, and Competence in Physical Activity

Melinda A. Solmon, Amelia M. Lee, Donald Belcher, Louis Harrison Jr., and Lori Wells

Beliefs about gender appropriateness and conceptions of ability have been identified as powerful influences on beliefs about competence. The purpose of this study was to investigate the interaction of those two factors on competence beliefs in physical activity. Participants completed a survey about the sport of hockey, watched a video of a specific hockey skill, and then responded to questions about the skill. Males expressed more confidence in their ability to learn hockey than females, but females who perceived the activity to be gender neutral were more confident in their ability to learn hockey than females who believed the activity was predominantly for males. Participants’ explanations of their beliefs about gender appropriateness and confidence shed light on how competence beliefs are affected by perceptions of gender appropriateness and conceptions of ability.

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Teacher Role Identity of Student Teachers in Physical Education: An Interactive Analysis

Melinda A. Solmon, Terry Worthy, Amelia M. Lee, and Jo A. Carter

This investigation examined the teaching perspectives of student teachers and described the interplay between their role identities and teaching contexts. Principal findings were (a) investigators were able to describe definable characteristics of teacher role identity and assess the relative strength of the role based on clarity of teacher image and level of confidence, (b) interaction patterns were observable and varied according to individual teacher and context, (c) subjects with stronger TRIs were able to negotiate for and closely approximate a real teaching role by implementing their own style, and (d) subjects with weaker TRIs relied heavily on their cooperating teachers by mimicking their teaching styles and routines. In conclusion, the findings of this study support the view of the prospective teacher as an active agent in controlling the direction of biography and social structure in the socialization process.