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Cédric Roure and Denis Pasco

When participating in a learning task, students differ in the level of intensity, attention and enjoyment that characterizes their engagement. Such differences may reflect the fluctuation of situational interest, which is an affective state that is aroused by the characteristics of the environment

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Alex C. Garn

Multidimensional measurement is a common theme in motivation research because many constructs are conceptualized as having an overarching general factor (e.g., situational interest) and specific dimensions (e.g., attention demand, challenge, exploration intention, instant enjoyment, novelty). This review addresses current issues associated with the multidimensional measurement of situational interest in elementary physical education (PE) and illustrates the application and benefits of bifactor exploratory structural equation modeling (ESEM). I perform secondary analysis on a large, previously published data set used to provide validation support for the Situational Interest Scale for Elementary PE. Findings clearly demonstrate the advantages of capturing the multidimensional nature of situational interest using bifactor ESEM. Specifically, a more accurate measurement model of situational interest is reproduced using bifactor ESEM compared with other techniques such as first-order and second-order confirmatory factor analysis. There is empirical support for an overall general factor of situational interest when using the Situational Interest Scale for Elementary PE, however, examining the five dimensions of situational interest as unique factors after accounting for the general factor does not appear warranted.

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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.

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Xihe Zhu, Senlin Chen and James Parrott

This study examined adolescents’ interest in aerobic fitness testing and its relation to the test performances. Adolescents (N = 356) from three middle schools participated in the study. The participants took two aerobic fitness tests: the Progressive Aerobic Cardiovascular Endurance Run (PACER) and One-Mile Run (1MR) with a two-day interval, and completed two interest scales immediately after each test. Test performances, interest, and body mass index data were collected. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, multivariate analysis of variance/covariance, and hierarchical regression analyses. Student situational and personal interests were low-to-moderate overall in both aerobic fitness tests. Boys reported significantly higher situational interest than girls, but there was no gender difference in personal interest. Personal interest was a significant predictor for PACER (b=.27) and 1MR (b=-.37). The predictability of situational interest to testing performances varied between PACER and 1MR. PACER and 1MR might have rendered distinct motivational stimuli that led to the varied predicting power of situational interest.

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Ang Chen and Yubing Wang

This article focuses on the research on interest, especially situational interest, in physical education. Interest has been considered a powerful motivator for children and adolescents. Based on a conceptualization of individual and situational interest, a reasonable size of evidence has been accumulated showing that situational interest motivates students to engage in physical activity. The evidence also shows that situational interest may have little impact on learning achievement. It, however, can be controlled and manipulated by teachers to create a situationally interesting learning environment to enhance engagement. The lack of studies on individual interest and its development has been identified as a void in this line of research. We argue that it is necessary to strengthen the research on individual interest and its interaction with situational interest to fully understand the four-phase theoretical model of interest development in the physical activity domain (Renninger & Hidi, 2016).

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Bo Shen, Ang Chen, Hope Tolley and Kristin A. Scrabis

Guided by the interest-based motivation theory, this study examined the extent to which personal interest and situational interest accounted for boys’ and girls’ learning outcome in a middle school physical education dance unit. Personal and situational interests, physical activity intensity, and skill/knowledge outcome were measured in a random student sample (N = 57). Girls demonstrated higher personal interest in dance than the boys, but both groups were equally motivated with situational interest. Although the girls were not as physically active as boys, their skill/knowledge outcome measures were higher than those of the boys. It appears that gender may have little impact on the motivational effect of situational interest and that girls’ in-class learning might have higher quality than that of boys as a result of higher personal interest. The findings indicate that situational interest may motivate all students, but it is necessary to enhance personal interest in order for them to engage in quality learning.

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Xihe Zhu and Justin A. Haegele

, H. , Hopple , C. , Bonello , M. , . . . Kim , S. ( 2009 ). Situational interest, cognitive engagement, and achievement in physical education . Contemporary Educational Psychology, 34 , 221 – 229 . PubMed ID: 26269662 doi:10.1016/j.cedpsych.2009.05.002 10.1016/j.cedpsych.2009.05.002 Zhu

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Brendan T. O’ Keeffe, Ciaran MacDonncha, Kwok Ng and Alan E. Donnelly

HRPF, but desired less of a focus on fitness testing. Similarly, Zhu, Chen, and Parrott ( 2014 ) found that boys reported significantly higher situational interest in the PACER test in comparison with girls and that personal interest was a significant predictor of performance ( Zhu et al., 2014 ). The

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Xiangli Gu, Senlin Chen and Xiaoxia Zhang

. , & Sun , H. ( 2006 ). Chapter 11: Situational interest. A curriculum component enhancing motivation to learn . In S.N. Hogan (Ed.), New developments in learning research (pp.  235 – 261 ). Hauppauge, NY : Nova Science Publishers, Inc . Chen , S. , Chen , A. , Sun , H. , & Zhu , X

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Jeroen Koekoek and Annelies Knoppers

grounded theory: A practical guide through qualitative analysis . London, UK : Sage Publications Ltd . Chen , A. , & Darst , P.W. ( 2002 ). Individual and situational interest: The role of gender and skill . Contemporary Educational Psychology, 27 , 250 – 269 . doi: 10.1006/ceps.2001