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Thomas L. McKenzie

Schools are salient locations for promoting and providing physical activity, but they fail to meet the public health recommendation of providing at least half the 60 min of physical activity that children need daily. To help solve this school deficit, the author proposes that the “biggest bang” would result from developing and implementing school physical activity policies. However, this remains a theory because school policy studies are in their infancy and rarely include direct measures of physical activity. Physical activity does not just happen generally in schools but occurs within specific contexts such as physical education and leisure-time programs. Alternative methods to self-reports are needed to study physical activity policies, and direct observation tools are available to assess physical activity within specific contexts. Private and charter schools are understudied, and they should be included in future investigations.

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David Kahan and Thomas L. McKenzie

Background:

Physical education (PE) is mandated in most states, but few studies of PE in private schools exist.

Methods:

We assessed selected PE policies and practices in private secondary schools (grades 6 to 12) in California using a 15-item questionnaire related to school characteristics and their PE programs.

Results:

Responding schools (n = 450; response rate, 33.8%) were from 37 counties. Most were coeducational (91.3%) and had a religious affiliation (83%). Secular schools had more PE lessons, weekly PE min, and smaller class sizes. Most schools met guidelines for class size, but few met national recommendations for weekly PE minutes (13.7%), not permitting substitutions for PE (35.6%), and programs being taught entirely by PE specialists (29.3%).

Conclusions:

Private schools, which serve about 5 million US children and adolescents, may be falling short in providing quality PE. School stakeholders should encourage adoption and implementation of policies and practices that abide by professional guidelines and state statutes.

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Thomas L. McKenzie, Elizabeth K. Clark and Randi McKenzie

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Nell Faucette, Thomas L. McKenzie and Patricia Patterson

This study examined types of activities available to children and how classes were organized when elementary P.E. was taught by nonspecialist classroom teachers. Observations were conducted in 84 elementary schools in southern California. The observation instrument was validated by having independent observers code three videotaped classes and compare their responses to those of three teacher educators specializing in observation methods and elementary P.E. Interobserver reliabilities were 96.3 on the activity selection and 83.3 on class organization. Results indicated that when students were involved in an organized class activity, they usually participated as an entire class in game-type activities such as relays, kickball, and dodgeball. The children had few opportunities to engage in skill practice or gymnastics and dance activities. Frequently, teachers dropped P.E. classes from the day’s schedule or permitted children to engage in free play. Fitness related activities were prominent during less than 3% of the classes.

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B. Robert Carlson and Thomas L. McKenzie

Data gathering for research on teaching in physical education appears to be heading into a new era, an era in which electronic data collection tools will merge with older measurement techniques to make the processes of storing, analyzing, and transporting data more efficient. The rapid development of microcomputing technology has reached the stage in which portable computers are now practical as state-of-the-art tools for on-site research projects. This article addresses one of the most critical problems for doing research on teaching using time based variables. In the past, when duration recording was the observational technique, there were two ways to collect data: either through multiple stop watches or through interval recording. Both methods have their limitations—one in the manipulation of the several watches and the other in converting interval data to accurate units of time. Outlined in this article is a microcomputer program for on-site duration coding, data analysis, permanent storage, and mainframe support for research on teaching physical education. The system is complex by design but practical to use. It produces total observation time, total time by category, frequency by category, mean length of occurrence, and the percent of total time each category was observed.

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M. Patricia Giebink and Thomas L. McKenzie

This article reports two related studies designed to examine the effects of three intervention strategies (instructions and praise, modeling, and a point system) on children’s sportsmanship in physical education class and in a recreation setting. Four target boys (mean age 12.3 years) were monitored during 22 physical education class Softball games and during 21 recreational basketball games. In softball, an ABCDA reversal design indicated that while the effects on individual children varied, all three interventions increased sportsmanship and decreased unsportsmanlike behaviors. The improved sportsmanship behavior of the softball class did not transfer to basketball, however, and further interventions were implemented in that setting. Here, an ABAC reversal design revealed that instructions and praise intervention were effective in reducing unsportsmanlike behavior but it had little effect on increasing sportsmanship. In both settings, the point system with contingent back-up reinforcers was the most effective intervention.