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  • Author: E. Jane Watkinson x
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Marcel Bouffard and E. Jane Watkinson

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Janice Causgrove Dunn and E. Jane Watkinson

This study investigated whether the TOMI (Stott, Moyes, & Henderson, 1984), a motor skills test recommended for the identification of children who are physically awkward (Sugden, 1985; Wall, Reid, & Paton, 1990), contains biased items. Findings of a study by Causgrove and Watkinson (1993) indicated that an unexpectedly high proportion of girls from Grades 3 to 6 were identified as physically awkward, and the authors suggested that the TOMI may be biased in favor of boys. In the present study, this suggestion was investigated through comparison of performances of TOMI subtest items by boys and girls from Grades 1 to 6. Chi-square analyses on each of the eight test items revealed significant performance differences between boys and girls on the two ball skills tasks of catching and throwing (p < .0001) at Age Bands 3 and 4; a significantly greater proportion of boys than girls age 9 to 12 years passed the catching and throwing tasks. A significant performance difference was also found on the tracing task at Age Band 1, with more girls passing tracing than boys. Implications for future research requiring the identification of children who are physically awkward are discussed.

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Janice L. Causgrove Dunn and E Jane. Watkinson

This study explored the relationship between perceived physical competence and physical awkwardness in an effort to gain further understanding of the effects of motor incompetence on behavior. Subjects included 195 children in Grades 3 through 6. Multiple regression analysis found that gender, the importance attached to physical competence, and the interaction between severity of awkwardness and grade were significant predictors of perceptions of physical competence. As expected, males reported higher perceptions of physical competence than females. In addition, the higher the rating that subjects attached to the importance of physical competence, the higher their perceptions of physical competence. Investigation of the interaction between severity of awkwardness and grade revealed that the expected decrease in perceptions of competence associated with increasing severity of awkwardness was present only in third-grade children. It is suggested that older awkward children may utilize strategies to maintain positive perceptions of competence and motivation.

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E. Jane Watkinson and Sock Miang Koh

Moderately mentally handicapped children ages 10 to 12 and youths 13 years and older ran the endurance run of the Canada Fitness Awards Adapted Format under two testing conditions. The current test protocol is one in which subjects select a pace for the entire race and are prompted only by verbal encouragement. A second testing protocol was used in which subjects were paced by a runner at a pace just a bit faster than that displayed during their runs under the current protocol. In the pacing protocol, instructors ran in front of the subjects and verbally and visually prompted them to keep up. The objective of the pacing protocol was to reduce the degree to which the subjects had to plan their runs, and to increase motivation to continue. Completion rates improved with the pacing protocol for both groups. Completion times improved for the younger group. Heart rate responses under both testing conditions were very high and small differences were observed between the two conditions in this dependent variable. Heart rates of subjects in both conditions were at vigorous to severe intensity levels throughout the runs, indicating that subjects were lacking in fitness and were performing at or near maximal capacities.

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Julie A. Titus and E. Jane Watkinson

This study examined the behavior of moderately mentally handicapped children in integrated and segregated programs. Seven subjects 5 to 10 years of age were observed during free play in two programs, one integrated and one segregated, to determine if they would benefit from placement in physical activity programs with nonhandicapped children. Socialization and activity participation were examined using a simple eight-category instrument on videotaped data. The presence or absence of play vehicles was also investigated to determine whether this play equipment would further affect behavior. Some 300 minutes of videotaped data were available for each subject. Behavior durations were recorded using an OS-3 Event Recorder. Inter-observer agreements were calculated on 15% of the data, with mean agreements of .96. Duration data were transformed to percentage of observable time for each subject in integrated and segregated settings, and when play vehicles were and were not available. Results from the study generally did not support the assumption that exposure to integrated programs will increase activity participation and social interaction. Activity participation did not appear to be affected by the presence of play vehicles in the environment. Social interaction levels were reduced significantly under this condition.

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David A. Fitzpatrick and E. Jane Watkinson

The investigation explored 12 adults’ past experiences of physical awkwardness. Hermeneutic phenomenology, a descriptive and interpretative methodology, uncovered feelings and meanings associated with childhood reminiscences of physical awkwardness, from 18 semi-structured interviews. Findings focus upon four themes, namely: “failing and falling,” “hurt and humiliation,” “worrying and wondering,” and seeking ways of “avoiding awkwardness” in the future. A heightened awareness of the subjective lived experience of those who are awkward in physical activity and sport situations would alert teachers, coaches, and others of the potential emotional and social consequences associated with it and the need to address the problem of physical awkwardness, in particular, during early growth, maturation, skill development, and learning.

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Donna L. Goodwin and E. Jane Watkinson

The study describes the phenomenon of inclusive physical education from the perspective of students with disabilities. The experience of 9 elementary school-aged students with physical disabilities (6 males and 3 females with a mean age of 11 years, 1 month) was captured by way of focus group interviews, field notes, and participant drawings. The thematic analysis uncovered a persistent dichotomy in how the participants experienced physical education. Good days were revealed in the themes of sense of belonging, skillful participation, and sharing in the benefits. Bad days were overshadowed by negative feelings revealed in the themes of social isolation, questioned competence, and restricted participation. The students’ experiences were discussed within the conceptual framework of ecological perception and affordance theory (Gibson, 1977, 1979).

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Nancy Spencer-Cavaliere and E. Jane Watkinson

This study explored the perspectives of children with disabilities regarding the concept of inclusion in physical activity. Participants were children (two girls, nine boys, Mage = 10 years, five months, age range: 8–12 years) with disabilities, including cerebral palsy, fine and gross motor delays, developmental coordination disorder, muscular dystrophy, nemaline myopathy, brachial plexus injury, and severe asthma. Children’s perspectives on inclusion in physical activity (e.g., sports, games, and play) were explored through semistructured interviews. Interviews were digitally audio taped and transcribed verbatim. Data were analyzed through content analysis. Three themes emerged from the data: gaining entry to play, feeling like a legitimate participant, and having friends. These themes were associated with feeling included to varying degrees in sports, games, and play. In essence, it was the actions of others that were the prominent features identified by children that contributed to feeling more or less included in physical activity contexts. These results are discussed in relation to inclusion in physical education, recreation, and unstructured free play.

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E. Jane Watkinson, Sean A. Dwyer and A. Brian Nielsen

Inclusion in activity at recess can have important implications for the health and for the physical, social, and cognitive development of children, according to play theorists (Pellegrini, 1995). This study examined whether children described their decisions (and those of fictitious others) to engage in recess activities in achievement terms consistent with expectancy-value theory (Eccles, Wigfield & Schiefele, 1998). Ten Grade 3 children with different patterns of recess engagement did confirm that attainment, interest, utility, and cost values were salient to decisions to participate. Children distinguished among value components, and confirmed that expectancies and values contributed to activity choices, providing support for the conceptualization of recess as an achievement setting in which expectancy-value theory applies.

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Marcel Bouffard, E. Jane Watkinson, Linda P. Thompson, Janice L. Causgrove Dunn and Sandy K.E. Romanow

An activity deficit hypothesis was posited that children with movement difficulties are less physically active during recess than age- and gender-matched controls without movement difficulties. Criteria used in identifying children with movement difficulties were (a) a score of at least 4 on the Test of Motor Impairment, (b) regular physical education student, and (c) age 80 to 109 months. An observational study was conducted over a 2-month period in recess settings with 52 subjects. Findings revealed that during recess time, children with movement difficulties were vigorously active less often, played less often with large playground equipment, were not observable for significantly more time, and spent less time in positive social interactions with others of their own gender. Accordingly, it was concluded that the data support the activity deficit hypothesis.