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Cédric Roure and Denis Pasco

Purpose: Based on the framework of interest, studies have shown that teachers can enhance students’ situational interest (SI) by manipulating the components of learning tasks. The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of learning task design on students’ SI in physical education (PE). Method: The participants were 167 secondary school students (Mage = 13.21, SD = 2.24, 59% boys, range 12–16) who evaluated the SI of two learning tasks in badminton, designed to promote either instant enjoyment and exploration intention, or novelty and challenge. Students responded to the French 19-item SI scale immediately after completing the two learning tasks, with a 3-week interval between the tasks. Results: The results showed that students were receptive to the SI dimensions on which each task was designed. According to the total interest scores, they also perceived significant differences between both tasks. Moreover, the cluster analysis revealed three different students’ profiles based on their SI scores and their receptivity to the design of both tasks. Conclusion: Findings indicated that SI is a function of learning task design in PE.

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Denis Pasco and Catherine D. Ennis

Students’ prior knowledge has been identified to play an important role in the learning process through conceptual change. In physical education, positive changes in students’ lifestyles may come from changes in their conceptual understanding. In this study 45 third grade students (mean age = 8.54 years) were interviewed during their regular physical education class to examine their mental models and naïve theories of blood circulation related to exercise. Results revealed one initial mental model (when you exercise, your blood goes everywhere in your body) and three synthetic mental models. These mental models were generated under the constraint of a naïve framework theory. Results are discussed in relation to: (a) the nature of gradual growth of students’ mental models through enrichment, (b) children’s prior experience of the physical world and their subsequent explanations of physiological changes related to exercise, and (c) physical education as a domain-specific knowledge.