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Cassandra Phoenix and Bevan Grant

In this article, the authors consider the different approaches that can be used to examine the relationship between physical activity and aging. They propose that much is to be gained in our awareness of this dynamic relationship by drawing on multiple forms of knowledge that can generate diverse understandings regarding the impact of physical activity on physiological, psychological, and social aspects of aging. Accordingly, 3 different approaches to understanding the older physically (in)active body are presented. These are categorized as (a) the objective truth about the aging, physically active body; (b) the subjective truth about the aging, physically active body; and (c) “tales” about the aging, physically active body. The key underpinnings, strengths, and weaknesses of each approach are outlined. A number of examples from the literature are also offered to demonstrate where and how each approach has been used to contribute to our understanding about older people and physical activity. The more thorough, multidisciplinary, and wide spanning our knowledge of the aging, active body is, the more informed we might become in every dimension of its existence.

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Bevan Grant and Sandra O'Brien Cousins

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Pirkko Markula, Bevan C. Grant and Jim Denison

There has been a notable increase in research on aging and physical activity in recent years. Most of this research derives from the natural sciences, using quantitative methods to examine the consequences of the physically aging body. Although these investigations have contributed significantly to our knowledge, to further understand the complex meanings attached to physical activity we also need social-science research. The article explores how a variety of social scientists (positivisls, postpositivists, interpretive social scientists, critical social scientists, poststructuralists, and postmodernists) who use quantitative and qualitative methods approach physical activity and aging. Through examples from research on aging and physical activity, the authors highlight the differences, possibilities, and limitations of each research approach. Their intention is not to declare one research approach superior to any other but to increase awareness and acceptance of different paradigms and to encourage dialogue between those who study aging and physical activity from a variety of perspectives.

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Thomas J. Templin, Bevan Grant, Andrew Sparkes and Paul Schempp

This case study focuses on a late career, male teacher/coach and reveals the multidimensionality of his life and career. It demonstrates the influence of significant career and life events, as well as the social context in which the teacher/coach works. Overall, a life history approach describes the paradox of the employment/accommodation of a veteran elementary teacher as a physical educator at the secondary school in which he coaches. This study reveals the marginality of physical education and its teachers at the secondary school level in contrast to the importance of interscholastic athletics and those who serve in varsity coaching roles. The study shows how the teacher studied is both a good-fit and a weak-fit stayer (Yee, 1990). Equally, it demonstrates how one’s conception of self (Nias, 1985) relates to professional and personal circumstance. Finally, the research demonstrates the value of and need for biographical research in sport pedagogy.

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Bevan C. Grant, Keith D. Ballard and Ted L. Glynn

A multiple baseline research design across teachers was used to evaluate the effects of feedback to teachers of behavioral data gathered in baseline lessons. Two teachers received such feedback while a third teacher served as a control. Both teachers who received feedback increased the amount of time students spent in motor-on-task behavior (+15%). Increases in motor-on-task behavior did not occur at the expense of any other student behavior. While this increase provided the students with more learning trials, only one of the two intervention teachers was able to increase the percentage of success of all student achievement groups when performing the learning trials. There were no substantial differences in student behavior between the three classes taught by the teacher who did not receive feedback. The study showed that although there were considerable differences in how physical education lessons were implemented, the two intervention teachers were able to respond to feedback and to modify their lessons so that the amount of student participation was increased.