A theoretical framework distinguishing meaning and meaningfulness guided this study of high school students’ conceptions of meaningfulness in physical education. A 9-dimensional meaningfulness construct was developed through analyzing former high school students’ (N = 35) oral reflection on physical education. A 9-dimensional meaningfulness scale was prepared and administered to high school students (N = 698). The principal component analysis reduced the students’ responses to a 6-dimensional construct: Social Bonding, Cultural Appreciation, Challenge, Tension Release, Fitness Development, and Self-Expression. The construct was modified through confirmatory factor analyses and had a Goodness of Fit Index of .91. The reconstruction demonstrated sophisticated internalization of perceived meaning by students. AMANOVA revealed that the students’ conceptions of meaningfulness differentiated (p < .05) based on gender, grade, and socioeconomic status. The findings suggest that a pluralistic perspective be considered in curriculum design, given the sophistication and differentiation of students’ conceptions of meaningfulness in physical education.
Meaningfulness in Physical Education: A Description of High School Students’ Conceptions
The Impact of Social Change on Inner-City High School Physical Education: An Analysis of a Teacher’s Experiential Account
This report analyzes changes in a traditional physical education curriculum in an inner-city high school. The analysis is based on my 14-week participant observation of classes and interviews with a veteran physical educator (Mary) who experienced community and curriculum changes during her 26-year tenure. A written chronological research narrative was examined through a framework that delineates the nature of curriculum discourses and student social capital for schooling. The findings show that the curriculum is failing because negative social changes have denied students’ access to necessary social capital for successful learning. Mary emphasized a curriculum discourse of control based on a belief of dual-responsibility that dichotomizes educational opportunity into responsibility of control for teachers and responsibility of learning for students. A grounded theory developed from the case suggests that the physical education curriculum should emphasize transformation of knowledge and skills, the person, and community culture rather than reproduction of the “official knowledge” (Apple, 1993).
School Environment and its Effects on Physical Activity
School is an environment where children and adolescents spend most of their time during the day. The environment is characterized by a sedentary culture necessary for academic learning. In this article, I present research evidence showing the effects of four physical activity opportunities in this environment: school athletics, recess, classroom physical activity breaks, and physical education. Based on an analysis of research evidence on the four opportunities, I propose that the efforts to promote the opportunities should be coordinated into a concerted action to integrate a physical activity-friendly culture in the sedentary environment. Using an example of China's whole-school physical activity promotion strategy, I identify four areas for us to continue to work on: legislature-based policies, physical education as core content, creation and maintenance of physical activity traditions in schools, and integration of physical activity-friendly culture into the sedentary school environment.
Remembering Cathy Ennis: The Mentor
Ninth Graders’ Energy Balance Knowledge and Physical Activity Behavior: An Expectancy-Value Perspective
Senlin Chen and Ang Chen
Expectancy beliefs and task values are two essential motivators in physical education. This study was designed to identify the relation between the expectancy-value constructs (Eccles & Wigfield, 1995) and high school students’ physical activity behavior as associated with their energy balance knowledge. High school students (N = 195) in two healthful-living programs (i.e., combination of physical and health education) responded to measures of expectancy-value motivation, energy balance knowledge, in-class physical activity, and after-school physical activity. The structural equation modeling confirmed positive impact from expectancy beliefs and interest value to in-class physical activity (Path coefficient range from .19 to .26, ps < .01). Cost perception was found exerting a negative impact on after-school physical activity but a positive one on lower level of understanding of energy balance (Path coefficient range from -.33 to -.39, ps < .01). The findings painted a complex but meaningful picture about the motivational impact of expectancy-value constructs on physical activity and energy balance knowledge. School healthful-living programs should create motivational environments that strengthen students’ expectancy beliefs and interest value and alleviate their negative perceptions and experiences.
Kinesiology and Physical Education: A Curriculum (Dis)Alignment Perspective
This conceptual article focuses on the curriculum disalignment issue that seems to be a contributor to the marginalization of K–12 physical education. Through a brief historical review of events, especially the 1991 Critical Crossroads conference, the article explores and explains reasons that the future of K–12 physical education should rely on developing health-centered, concept-based curricula consistent with kinesiology science. In a major section, the article documents a 20-year effort and findings of curriculum intervention research in elementary, middle, and high schools to advocate and deliberate the need for a curriculum reform that should center on aligning physical education with kinesiology science. Implications of the kinesiology–physical education curriculum alignment to student learning are emphasized, and a paradigm change perspective to curriculum reform is discussed as a path to revitalize K–12 physical education.
Curriculum Alignment: Doing Kinesiology as We Mean It
Based on the lessons learned from history and articulation of paradigm change in science, this article clarifies the concept of curriculum alignment and describes the risk of curriculum disalignment between school physical education and kinesiology. Through contextualizing kinesiology as an integrated science, it explains the difference between a discipline and a field (subdiscipline) and argues that K–12 physical education is an integral and indispensable component of kinesiology. The article provides detailed discussions about the historical reasons/events that might have led to the curriculum disalignment and the ways the disalignment can be understood and addressed. Based on the analysis, a four-pillar framework (science, health, culture, and education) is proposed as a platform for “doing kinesiology” and a way to address the curriculum disalignment crisis.
Young Children’s Intuitive Interest in Physical Activity: Personal, School, and Home Factors
Ang Chen and Weimo Zhu
A physically active or inactive lifestyle begins with intuitive interest at a very young age. This study examined the impact of selected personal, school, and home variables on young children’s intuitive interests in physical and sedentary activities.
National data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study (US Department of Education) were examined using Cohen’s d, hierarchical log-linear analyses, and logistic regression.
Children’s interest in physical activity is accounted for fractionally by personal variables, but substantially by school and home variables including number of physical education classes per week, teacher experiences of teaching PE, and neighborhood safety.
School and home environment variables have stronger impact than personal variables on children’s intuitive interest in physical activity. Future interventions should focus on strengthening school physical education and providing a safe home environment to help nurture young children’s intuitive interest in physical activity.
Expectancy Beliefs and Perceived Values of Chinese College Students in Physical Education and Physical Activity
Ang Chen and Xinlan Liu
The expectancy-value theory postulates that motivation relies on individuals’ beliefs of success, perceived Attainment, Intrinsic Interest, and Utility values and Cost. This study examined Chinese college students’ expectancy-value motivation in relation to physical education and self-initiated physical activity.
A random sample of 368 Chinese university students responded to questionnaires on perceived expectancy beliefs, perceived values, and cost in terms of their experiences in mandatory physical education programs and in self-initiated after-school physical activity. They reported their choice decisions for continuing physical education. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, χ 2, logistic and linear regressions.
The physical education curriculum was perceived as a major cost to motivation. Motivated by the Intrinsic Interest and Utility value, most students chose to continue to take physical education. Self-initiated after-school physical activity was motivated by the Attainment value only. No association was found between self-initiated physical activity and Liking or Disliking of physical education.
Motivation for physical education and for self-initiated physical activity derived from different perceived values. The Attainment value motivates the students for self-initiated physical activity, whereas Intrinsic Interest and Utility values motivate them to choose to continue physical education.
Adolescent Expectancy-Value Motivation, Achievement in Physical Education, and Physical Activity Participation
Xihe Zhu and Ang Chen
This study examined the relation between adolescent expectancy-value motivation, achievements, and after-school physical activity participation. Adolescents (N = 854) from 12 middle schools completed an expectancy-value motivation questionnaire, pre and posttests in psychomotor skill and health-related fitness knowledge tests, and a three-day after-school Physical Activity Recall. Data were analyzed using structural equation modeling to test an a priori model. Results revealed that expectancy belief significantly predicted adolescent psychomotor achievement, and that psychomotor achievement was the only direct significant predictor for physical activity participation (p < .05). Expectancy belief and task values were not significantly directly associated with adolescent physical activity participation (p > .05). The findings suggested the relation between adolescent expectancy-value motivation and physical activity participation is likely to be mediated by their psychomotor skill achievement.