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Laura Azzarito, Mara Simon, and Risto Marttinen

In today’s school climate of accountability, researchers in Physical Education (PE) pedagogy have contested current fitness curricula that aim to manage, control, and normalize young people’s bodies. This participatory visual research incorporated a Body Curriculum into a fitness unit in a secondary school (a) to assist young people critically deal with the media narratives of perfect bodies they consume in their daily lives, and (b) to examine how participants responded to a Body Curriculum. It was found that while participants rejected media fabrications of the “ideal body” and the “unhealthy” ideals they circulate in society, they recognized the difficulty of not being “caught up” in media storytelling. Participants’ views of their own bodies, however, were not malleable, but rooted in narrow, fixed heteronormative white ideals of “looking a certain way” to “fit” society norms of physical appearance and attractiveness. The benefits and limitations of implementing a Body Curriculum are recognized.

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Dominique Banville, Risto Marttinen, and Alba Rodrigues

Purpose: The purpose of the study was to examine the perspective of teachers and students within the same secondary schools on the physical education (PE) curriculum offered. Method: Semistructured interviews with secondary school PE teachers and a focus group with their students were conducted within a large school district located on the east coast of the United States. The collaborative qualitative analysis procedures suggested by Richards and Hemphill were used. Results: Three main themes were identified: (a) fitness with two subthemes of (i) what fitness means and (ii) fitness in PE, (b) the PE curriculum, and (c) curriculum decisions. Discussion/Conclusion: Teachers discussed wanting students to be active and improve their cardiovascular fitness and, from their own account and that of their students, acknowledged “rolling the ball out” so that students could play and not be bothered with drills and learning tasks. This lack of instruction, unfortunately, left low-skilled students more vulnerable.

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Risto Marttinen, Dillon Landi, Dario Novak, and Stephen Silverman

Purpose: We aimed to identify, categorize, and analyze published peer-reviewed research on teaching in physical education between July 1994 and December 2015. Methods: An exhaustive search was conducted on three databases (Education Resources Information Center, PE Index, and Web of Science), which produced 18,966 abstracts that were reduced to 1,023 articles that met the inclusion criteria through a review of abstracts and titles, and the second review of full papers. Articles were coded independently for numerous aspects of the research method by three coders, with multiple checks for interobserver agreement, all of which were above .85 interobserver agreement. Results: There was a great increase in the number of articles, methodological diversity, and research focus compared with a previous analysis. Research was published in 183 journals and by researchers in 45 different countries. Challenges in maintaining quality over quantity and the growth of the field are discussed. Conclusion: Research on teaching in physical education has grown greatly, and the field has matured.

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Risto Marttinen, Brianna Meza, and Sara B. Flory

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to explore how a student-centered curriculum engaged participants in critical analysis of the “female ideal” and to identify perceived barriers to physical activity. Method: Participants were nine fifth and sixth grade Hispanic/Latina or mixed race girls, and two researchers at an urban elementary school in Southern California. Participants met one to two times per week in an after-school program. Data sources included researcher and participant journals, field notes, and semistructured interviews. Trustworthiness and credibility were established through prolonged engagement, member checks, and peer reviewer. Results: Two themes permeated the data. The first theme involved boys acting as a barrier to physical activity. The second theme involved alignment with the ideal female body. Discussion: This study highlights how boys still act as barriers to girls’ physical activity in many school settings, but also identifies how role models for girls have increased girls’ ability to critically examine media messages.

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Sharon R. Phillips, Risto Marttinen, Kevin Mercier, and Anne Gibbone

Purpose: Existing research suggests that students’ attitudes toward physical education are positive through Grade 5, but become less positive as grade levels increase; this research is, however, missing student voice. The purpose of this study was to further understand why students’ attitudes have been shown to decrease. Methods: Twenty-six focus group interviews (students N = 65) were conducted over 2 years to discover what was influencing attitudes from fifth to eighth grade. Results: Three themes emerged: (a) curriculum leads to decreases in student attitudes (subthemes repetitive and boring, an overemphasis on competition, and fitness testing activities—what’s the purpose and why am I on display?), (b) social factors impact attitude: sweating and changing, and (c) physical education assumptions, the easy “A” (subthemes: perceptions of physical education teachers and the easy “A”). Conclusion: Allowing students to explain the reasons for decreases in attitudes contributes to improving the teaching and learning process.

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Michael A. Hemphill, Risto Marttinen, and K. Andrew R. Richards

Purpose: The purpose of this cyclical action research study was to examine the perspectives of Clyde, a first-year physical education teacher working in an urban intensive environment, as he attempted to implement restorative practices. Methods: Data included semistructured interviews, weekly e-mail communication, text messages, photographs, field notes from observations, and artifacts. Data were analyzed using a combination of inductive and deductive analysis. Results: The results are presented in three themes: (a) searching for appropriate discipline procedures, (b) critical incidents inhibited the integration of restorative practices, and (c) lack of preparation to teach in an urban intensive environment. Conclusion: Clyde’s experience suggests that challenges for early career teachers may be further complicated by teaching in urban intensive environments. Teacher educators may consider the different contexts in which teachers work and the influence they can have on both teacher effectiveness and job satisfaction.

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Ray N. Fredrick III, Risto Marttinen, Kelly Johnston, and Juana Fernandez

Purpose: In the United States, after-school programs have been found to improve healthy behaviors and increase time in safe, structured environments for youth, but less is known about Latin American contexts. The purpose of this study was to examine the implementation of an educational program in an underserved school in Latin America. Method: A qualitative case study was used for this study. A Peace Corps volunteer was the main participant in the study. Data collection included interviews, field notes, artifacts, and reflective notes. Data were coded using constant comparative methods. Results: Three themes emerged that represent program implementation in a Latin American country: (a) learning to teach in a new country with new rules, (b) expectations and going with the flow, and (c) extending the positive youth development model to international outreach programs in rural communities. Conclusion: Relational developmental systems metatheoretical approach to positive youth development through sport model is effective in Latin American settings.

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Risto Marttinen, Mara Simon, Sharon Phillips, and Ray N. Fredrick III

Purpose: To understand where and how Latina girls are physically active outside of the Reflective Educational Approach to Character and Health program and the impact of female role models on participation in the program. Methods: The authors implemented a yearlong after-school physical activity and literacy program for fifth and sixth grade girls (N = 22 girls) in a low-income, urban community. Four university students/coaches delivered all sessions. Data were triangulated through 10 Latina girls’ interviews, student journals, coaches’ journals, researcher journals, and field notes, and analyzed using constant comparison. Results: Girls participated in leisure-time physical activities with family in community spaces, in spite of social and cultural barriers. Female coaches facilitated girls’ increased engagement by acting as strong role models and fostering caring relationships. Conclusion: After-school programs, community spaces, and strong connections with coaches play a critical role in students’ engagement in physical activity.

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Risto Marttinen, Dillon Landi, Ray N. Fredrick III, and Stephen Silverman

Purpose: To explore teachers’ perceptions of incorporating digital technologies in physical education (PE) and how they influenced pedagogical practices. Method: Data were collected using qualitative methods (interviews, observations, and artifacts) and were analyzed using a grounded theory approach. Results: Teachers integrated wearable digital technologies in ways they thought would augment their PE programs, not replace them. It also was found that teachers’ ideologies of PE shaped the way they implemented wearable digital technologies. Finally, the material circumstances of schools affected the ways in which wearable digital technologies could be implemented in PE. Conclusion: Teachers were willing to integrate wearable digital technologies if they augmented (and did not replace) their preferred purpose of PE. Given this, ideologies of teachers influenced the role that technologies played in teaching and learning in PE.

Open access

Erin Centeio, Kevin Mercier, Alex Garn, Heather Erwin, Risto Marttinen, and John Foley

The purpose of this study was to investigate physical education teachers’ perceptions of implementing online physical education during the COVID-19 pandemic as well as to explore their needs with regard to support for future teaching experiences. A total of 4,302 teachers completed four open-ended questions as part of a larger survey. Deductive and inductive qualitative analysis led to three themes: (a) Teachers’ Proud Moments, (b) Help! So Many Obstacles, and (c) Future Challenges. Teachers stated many successes and challenges that they experienced through the COVID-19 pandemic. Many items specifically focused on use and access to technology, student participation, and meeting students’ needs in various ways. Results can provide guidance for how to address the essential components of physical education in the online environment. In addition, results may provide insight to those who educate, train, and prepare teachers to teach in a virtual and/or physically distanced environment.