In this article, the authors honor Catherine D. Ennis’s legacy by highlighting her unique and significant contributions to physical education research on curriculum and instruction. First, they discuss Ennis’s curricular philosophy and her empirical work along her career path. Then they review the major school-based curricular interventions she implemented, including the Movement Education; Sport for Peace; Science, PE and Me!; and The Science of Healthful Living curricula to demonstrate Ennis’s commitment to curricular development in physical education. In this process, they share with the reader Ennis’s contributions to curriculum development theories, curriculum intervention research, and physical education practices.
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.
Alex Garn and Haichun Sun
The use of fitness testing is a practical means for measuring components of health-related fitness, but there is currently substantial debate over the motivating effects of these tests. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the cross-fertilization of achievement and friendship goal profiles for early adolescents involved in the Progressive Aerobic Cardiovascular Endurance Run (PACER). Participants were 214 middle school students who reported their achievement goals, social goals, and preparation effort toward a PACER test. Performance was also examined. Confirmatory factor analysis supported the six-factor approach–avoidance model. Cluster analysis highlighted three distinct profiles. The high-goals profile group reported significantly higher amounts of effort put forth in preparation for the PACER test. Our findings suggest that the cross-fertilization of approach and avoidance achievement and social goals can provide important information about effort and performance on fitness testing in middle school physical education.
Alex Garn, Ping Xiang, and Haichun Sun
Haiyong Ding, Haichun Sun, and Ang Chen
To be successful in learning, students need to be motivated to engage and learn. The domain-specificity motivation theory articulates that student motivation is often determined by the content being taught to them. The purpose of this study was to extend the theory by determining domain-specificity of situational interest and expectancy-value motivation in terms of engagement and achievement outcomes in physical education. A random student sample (N = 346) from eight Chinese middle schools provided data of situational interest, expectancy-value, engagement, and knowledge and skills acquired. Results from correlation, regression, and structural equation model analyses revealed causal inferences demonstrating differentiated effects of motivation components on the outcome measures: task values were specific to knowledge outcome, expectancy beliefs to skills, and situational interest to engagement. The findings imply that physical educators need to adopt motivation strategies compatible to specific learning outcomes to maximize student motivation for engagement and achievement.
Haichun Sun, Weidong Li, and Bo Shen
The purpose of this study was to review the literature relevant to learning in physical education (PE) according to the self-determination theory (SDT). In this literature review, we first provide an overview of SDT. Second, we discuss students’ SDT-related motivational profiles in PE. Third, we illustrate the relationships among students’ perceptions of the nature of an autonomy-supportive or controlling learning environment, need satisfaction, and self-determined motivation. Fourth, we explore the impact of SDT on students’ learning in PE with respect to the cognitive, psychomotor, and affective learning domains. Finally, we articulate the pedagogical implications on the basis of the reviewed SDT research and future directions for SDT research in PE.
Han Chen, Haichun Sun, Jun Dai, and Michael Griffin
The purpose of the study was to identify gender and body weight differences in Chinese adolescents’ perceived expectancy value (EV) motivation in their physical education (PE) class. The study also explored the relationship between EV and adolescents’ health-related fitness performances.
A group of seventh and eighth graders (N = 224) from China were measured on EV toward PE as well as health-related fitness levels. A two-way MANOVA test was used to examine gender and body weight differences in EV motivations. Several two-step hierarchical multiple regression analyses were conducted to examine the relationship between EV motivation and various fitness performances while controlling for the effects of gender and body weight.
Boys had higher expectancy beliefs and perceived their PE class as more interesting, useful, and important than girls did. Compared with overweight/obese students, students in the healthy weight group reported higher expectancy beliefs. When the effects of gender and body weight were accounted for, expectancy beliefs were the only reliable predictor influencing adolescents’ cardiorespiratory as well as muscular strength/endurance fitness levels.
Physical educators should use various teaching strategies to enhance students’ expectancy beliefs and task values. This is especially important for female students and overweight/obese students.
Bo Shen, Weidong Li, Haichun Sun, and Paul Bernard Rukavina
Guided by Green-Demers, Leagult, Pelletier, and Pelletier’s (2008) assumption that amotivation (absence of motivation) is a multidimensional construct, we designed this study to investigate the influence of inadequate teacher-to-student social support on amotivation of high-school physical education students. Five hundred and sixty-six ninth graders completed questionnaires assessing psychological constructs and intentions for future physical education participation while physical education teachers rated their students’ in-class effort. Structural equation modeling analysis revealed that perceived teachers’ inadequate supports in autonomy, competence, and relatedness were associated with different subtypes of amotivation. In turn, amotivation impeded in-class effort and intention for future physical education participation. The findings indicate that diminished social support from teachers may act as a significant factor resulting in students’ amotivation. The multidimensional nature of amotivation should be identified and instructionally addressed during teaching and learning.
Yong Gao, Haichun Sun, Jie Zhuang, Jian Zhang, Lynda Ransdell, Zheng Zhu, and Siya Wang
This study determined the metabolic equivalents (METs) of several activities typically performed by Chinese youth.
Thirty youth (12 years) performed 7 activities that reflected their daily activities while Energy Expenditure (EE) was measured in a metabolic chamber.
METs were calculated as activity EE divided by participant’s measured resting metabolic rate. A MET value ranging from 0.8 to 1.2 was obtained for sleeping, watching TV, playing computer games, reading and doing homework. Performing radio gymnastics had a MET value of 2.9. Jumping rope at low effort required 3.1 METs. Except for watching TV, METs for other activities in this study were lower than Youth Compendium values.
The results provide empirical evidence for more accurately assessing EE of activities commonly performed by Chinese youth. This is the first study to determine METs for radio gymnastics and jump rope in Chinese youth.
Bo Shen, Robert K. Wingert, Weidong Li, Haichun Sun, and Paul Bernard Rukavina
Amotivation refers to a state in which individuals cannot perceive a relationship between their behavior and that behavior’s subsequent outcome. With the belief that considering amotivation as a multidimensional construct could reflect the complexity of motivational deficits in physical education, we developed this study to validate an amotivation model. In study 1 (N = 156), an exploratory factor analysis provided preliminary support with the model comprising four dimensions: ability beliefs, effort beliefs, values placed on the task, and characteristics of the task. In study 2 (N = 499), the four-dimensional model was further corroborated through a confirmatory factor analysis. Its construct validity and predictive validity were also confirmed. Overall, the findings lend evidence to the conceptual validation of the four-dimensional structure of amotivation. Lack of motivation in physical education may result from different reasons. The multifaceted nature of amotivation in physical education must be considered and instructionally addressed during teaching and learning.