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  • Author: Helen O’Connor x
  • Psychology and Behavior in Sport/Exercise x
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Melanie Vetter, Helen O’Connor, Nicholas O’Dwyer and Rhonda Orr

Background: Physically active learning that combines physical activity with core curriculum areas is emerging in school-based health interventions. This study investigates the effectiveness of learning an important numeracy skill of times tables (TT) while concurrently engaging in aerobic activity compared with a seated classroom approach. Methods: Grade-4 primary school students were randomly allocated to physical activity (P) or classroom (C) groups and received the alternate condition in the following term. P group received moderate to vigorous exercise (20 min, 3 times per week, 6 wk) while simultaneously learning selected TT. C group received similar learning, but seated. Changes in TT accuracy, general numeracy, aerobic fitness, and body mass index were assessed. Data were expressed as mean (SEM) and between-condition effect size (ES; 95% confidence interval). Results: Participants [N = 85; 55% male, 9.8 (0.3) y, 36.4% overweight/obese] improved similarly on TT in both conditions [C group: 2.2% (1.1%); P group: 2.5% (1.3%); ES = 0.03; −0.30 to 0.36; P = .86]. Improvement in general numeracy was significantly greater for P group than C group [C group: 0.7% (1.2%); P group: 5.3% (1.4%); ES = 0.42; 0.08 to 0.75; P < .03]. An improvement in aerobic fitness for P group (P < .01) was not significantly greater than C group [C group: 0.8 (0.6); P group: 2.2 (0.5) mL·kg·min−1; ES = 0.32; −0.01 to 0.66; P = .06]. Body mass index was unchanged. Conclusion: Combined movement with learning TT was effective. Physically active learning paradigms may contribute to meeting daily physical activity guidelines while supporting or even boosting learning.

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Richard Collins, Katie Evans-Jones and Helen L. O’Connor

In response to the recent literature regarding the development of applied sport psychologists’ service philosophies (Lindsay, Breckon, Thomas, & Maynard, 2007), three neophyte psychologists take an autoethnographical approach to detailing how they developed their current philosophies. Using vignettes and personal accounts of their experiences they describe how reflection on their beliefs and values about people, behavior, sport, and change has underpinned their development as practitioners. The three authors detail how their delivery has developed from an approach that initially relied heavily on one framework into a more client-led approach that is more congruent with their beliefs and how this has in turn enhanced their effectiveness as practitioners. The implications of this reflective process for other neophytes is explored in relation to the experiences of the three authors.