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Paul M. Wright and Suzanne Burton

Underserved youth are at risk for numerous threats to their physical and psychological well-being. To navigate the challenges they face, they need a variety of positive life skills. This study systematically explored the implementation and short-term outcomes of a responsibility-based physical activity program that was integrated into an intact high school physical education class. Qualitative methods, drawing on multiple data sources, were used to evaluate a 20-lesson teaching personal and social responsibility (TPSR) program. Participants were 23 African American students in an urban high school. Five themes characterized the program: (a) establishing a relevant curriculum, (b) navigating barriers, (c) practicing life skills, (d) seeing the potential for transfer, and (e) creating a valued program. Findings extend the empirical literature related to TPSR and, more generally, physical activity programs designed to promote life skills. Implications for practitioners are discussed.

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Paul M. Wright and David Walsh

Don Hellison (1938–2018) was a leader and trailblazer in sport and physical education pedagogy. Early in his career, he was an advocate for humanistic physical education. His engaged approach to scholarship culminated in the development of the Teaching Personal and Social Responsibility (TPSR) model, which is now recognized as a best practice for promoting social and emotional learning in physical education. The TPSR model has also been widely applied in the field of sport-based youth development. This is the introduction to the special issue devoted to Don’s life and legacy. It provides opening comments from the guest editors and a brief overview of the articles in the special issue.

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David S. Walsh and Paul M. Wright

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Paul M. Wright, Karisa Fuerniss, and Nicholas Cutforth

Purpose: Don Hellison’s scholarship made a lasting impact on the academic literature, policy, and practice of physical education and sport pedagogy. In this essay, we summarize and interpret Don’s perspective on scholarship, his own work, and the literature that it spawned. Method: Don’s work, published and unpublished, as well as the rapidly expanding body of teaching personal and social responsibility literature was analyzed using Boyer’s comprehensive framework for scholarship reconsidered. Results: Don was a strong advocate for broader definitions of scholarship in kinesiology, whose work integrated the scholarship of discovery, integration, application, and teaching. This influence remains evident in the teaching personal and social responsibility literature. Discussion/Conclusions: Amid calls for broader and more flexible definitions of scholarship in higher education, Don was a role model who demonstrated what is possible in this regard in the field of kinesiology.

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Weidong Li, Paul M. Wright, Paul Bernard Rukavina, and Molly Pickering

The purpose of the current study was to test the validity and reliability of a two-factor model of the Personal and Social Responsibility Questionnaire (PSRQ) and examine the relationships between perceptions of personal and social responsibility and intrinsic motivation in physical education. Participants were 253 middle school students who completed the questionnaires. The results from a confirmatory factor analysis and internal consistency suggest the two-factor PSRQ is valid and reliable for assessing students’ perceptions of personal and social responsibility in physical education. The correlational analysis suggests that participants with higher levels of personal and social responsibility were likely to enjoy physical education more. An important implication for teaching practice is that, to encourage all individuals to be intrinsically motivated to participate in physical education, physical education teachers need to empower students with choices and voices, focus them on effort and self-direction in physical education, and create a respectful and caring learning environment.

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Barrie Gordon, Jenn M. Jacobs, and Paul M. Wright

This study examined a long-term afterschool leadership program situated in a Midwestern university town in the US. The activity-based program for boys considered to be disengaged with school and at risk for dropping out of education, was based on the Teaching Personal and Social Responsibility (TPSR) model. The program curriculum was strongly aligned with the social and emotional learning (SEL) theoretical framework. The study sought to identify the learning(s) that occurred and the impact of participation for participants. The key findings were that 1) the pedagogical approach and strategies of TPSR when implemented with a high level of fidelity align strongly with the SEL framework; 2) the structure and design of this TPSR based program was an important ingredient in the school’s overall approach to supporting SEL among students, and 3) a number of SEL outcomes were identified as a result of participation in this program.

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Shirley Gray, Paul M. Wright, Richard Sievwright, and Stuart Robertson

Purpose: The purpose this investigation was to explore the learning experiences of two teachers from different secondary schools in Scotland as they engaged in their respective action research projects to learn to apply teaching personal and social responsibility in physical education. Method: Both teachers worked within a small community of practice and used qualitative methods to gather data to inform their inquiry. The teachers shared their findings with their coauthors and engaged in further, more focused analyses to explore and understand their learning experiences and the learning experiences of their pupils. Results: Both teachers found that their learning in context was much slower and more challenging than first expected. Over time, both teachers learned to set “new” learning objectives, applied “new” teaching strategies, talked more to their pupils, and reflected with others to evaluate their learning. Discussion/Conclusion: When teachers are committed to their own learning and when the subject of their learning aligns with their core values, professional needs, and the needs of their pupils, then pedagogical change is possible.

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Amparo Escartí, Ramon Llopis-Goig, and Paul M. Wright

Purpose: The Teaching Personal and Social Responsibility (TPSR) model was developed to foster responsibility and teach life skills that transfer to various settings. The purpose of this study was to assess the implementation fidelity of a school-based TPSR program in physical education and other subject areas. Method: Systematic observation was used to assess implementation in two elementary schools. Participants were seven teachers and 170 students between 8 and 12 years old (87 girls and 83 boys). Results: Teachers’ adherence to the model was deemed moderate, with varied application of established responsibility-based teaching strategies. Teachers had notably lower scores related to promoting life skill transfer. However, the strategies teachers used to foster responsibility were significantly correlated with their students’ demonstration of responsible behaviors. Discussion/Conclusion: Results indicate TPSR may provide an effective framework for promoting responsibility across the school curriculum. Implications for research and strategies for promoting implementation fidelity are discussed.

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Paul M. Wright, Katherine White, and Deborah Gaebler-Spira

The purpose of this study was to examine the application of the Personal and Social Responsibility Model (PSRM) in an adapted physical activity program. Although the PSRM was developed for use with underserved youth, scholars in the field of adapted physical activity have noted its potential relevance for children with disabilities. Using a collective case study, we explored the relevance and perceived benefits of the PSRM in an adapted martial arts program. Participants were five male children with spastic diplegic cerebral palsy. Data sources included observational field notes, medical records, and interviews with participants’ physicians, therapists, and parents. The following themes were generated from the data: increased sense of ability, positive feelings about the program, positive social interactions, and therapeutic relevance. These results indicate that the PSRM can be made relevant to children with disabilities, especially when coupled with appealing and therapeutically relevant content.

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Paul M. Wright, Lauriece L. Zittel, Tawanda Gipson, and Crystal Williams

Purpose: Physical development is an integral part of a child’s overall development. Evidence suggests that physical development and physical activity are positively correlated with positive academic outcomes in elementary and secondary school students. However, research on physical development among preschool-age children lags behind. Therefore, the purpose of the current study was to assess the relationships between physical development and other aspects of development related to school readiness among 3- to 5-year-old children. Method: Teacher ratings of physical, cognitive, language, social–emotional, and literacy development were collected for 172 preschool students. Group differences were assessed using analysis of variance, and relationships among development scales were examined with Pearson correlations. Results: Pearson correlations indicate ratings of physical development are significantly and positively correlated with ratings on the other four development scales. Discussion/Conclusion: Findings support the importance of physical development as an aspect of school readiness. Practical implications and future research are discussed.