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.
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.
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).
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.
Bo Shen and Ang Chen
Using the model of domain learning as a theoretical framework, the study was designed to examine the extent to which learners’ initial learning profiles based on previously acquired knowledge, learning strategy application, and interest-based motivation were distinctive in learning softball. Participants were 177 sixth-graders from three middle schools. A hierarchical cluster analysis was conducted to determine what kinds of learning profiles would result from the interactions among prior knowledge, learning strategies, and interest. The results revealed that individual learners could be classified into subgroups with distinctive learning characteristics. It is supported that learning in physical education is a progressive process that involves both cognitive and affective dimensions. An effective physical education curriculum should address both knowledge and skill acquisition and motivation simultaneously.
Yubing Wang and Ang Chen
Purpose: This study aimed to determine the extent to which a concept-based physical education curriculum, specifically the Science of Healthful Living (SHL) curriculum, influenced middle school students’ knowledge, motivation for physical education (PE) and physical activity (PA), and out-of-school PA. Methods: A static group comparison design was adopted to analyze the differences on fitness knowledge, autonomous motivation for PE and PA, and out-of-school PA between eighth-grade students who studied the SHL curriculum (the experimental condition, n = 168) and their peers who studied a multiactivity PE (the control condition, n = 226) 1 year earlier. Results: The students who studied the SHL curriculum demonstrated significantly higher levels of knowledge (p < .05, Cohen d = 0.81), autonomous motivation toward PA (p < .05, Cohen d = 0.20), and out-of-school PA (p < .05, Mann–Whitney U effect size = 0.01) than students who had experienced the multiactivity PE. The students in both conditions were equally motivated in their respective PE courses. Conclusion: The SHL curriculum is effective in promoting students’ PA behavior outside of the school.
Haichun Sun and Ang Chen
Self-determination theory (SDT), when applied in education, emphasizes helping learners internalize extrinsic motivation so as to regulate their learning behavior from an amotivation state to intrinsic motivation. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between SDT components and learning in middle school physical education. Sixth grade students (n = 242) from 15 randomly selected schools provided data on SDT and their knowledge and skill learning achievement as assessed using a pre- and post-measurement design. Structural equation modeling analyses revealed that extrinsically regulated motivations and intrinsic motivation contributed little to knowledge and skill achievement and amotivation negatively related to knowledge improvement. Given the fact that the data represented learner responses to an activity centered program, the findings imply that when learning objectives are vague, learners may be motivated to participate in classes but their participation may not contribute much to knowledge and skill achievement.
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.
Weimo Zhu and Ang Chen
This paper provides an overview of the long and vigorous efforts made in the development, applications, and contributions of the Value Orientation Inventory (VOI) by Dr. Catherine D. Ennis, her students, and her colleagues. After a brief review of the development, validation, and cross-validation of the VOI and corresponding applications, the authors describe the contributions the VOI made in pedagogy research and the impact of teachers’ value orientations on their teaching behaviors. They also discuss how a measurement tool should be developed and present Ennis’s work as a model of how a research line should be established. Finally, they reflect on the limitations in measurement tool development in kinesiology and outline future directions for VOI revision and application.