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Diana L. Jones

The purpose of this study was to describe and analyze task systems in elementary physical education classes. Two elementary physical education specialists were observed during 34 classes. Systematic observation strategies were used to describe and analyze classroom events. Data supported the existence of managerial and instructional task systems along with an informal social task system. Students complied with managerial tasks; modifications were not evident. Students’ responses to instruction were either (a) on the stated task with success or little or no success, (b) upward or downward task modifications, or (c) off-task. Primarily, students stayed on-task whether they were successful or not. Relationships among tasks within lessons indicated that the teachers used a pattern of informing, extending, and applying tasks. A less formal accountability system was evident as children were not involved in the formal exchange of performance for grades. Managerial, instructional, and social task systems did not operate exclusively but interacted with one another.

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Ben P. Dyson, Nicole Rhodes Linehan and Peter A. Hastie

The purpose of this study was to describe and interpret the instructional ecology of Cooperative Learning in elementary physical education classes. Data collection included a modified version of the task structure system (Siedentop, 1994), interviews, field notes, and a teacher’s journal. T-tests of the quantitative data revealed that instruction time, management time, transitions, and wait time decreased significantly during the units and refining, extending, and applying tasks increased significantly. Cognitive/social tasks were observed consistently in every lesson and contributed to student learning. Inductive analysis and constant comparison were used to analyze the qualitative data (Patton, 1990). The researchers identified four main categories from this data: organization and management of students, roles, skill development, and strategizing. To promote individual accountability the teacher used task sheets, assigned Cooperative Learning roles, kept group sizes small, randomly chose students to demonstrate their competence, and asked students to teach their teammates skills and tactics.

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Ben Dyson

Cooperative learning is an instructional format in which students work together in small, structured, heterogeneous groups to master content. The purpose of this study was to describe and interpret a teacher’s and the students’ experiences of cooperative learning in an elementary physical education program. A multiple-method design included interviews of a physical education teacher and 5th and 6th grade students, nonparticipant observation, field notes, and document analysis. Inductive analysis and constant comparison were used to analyze and organize the data throughout the research process. The findings suggest that the teacher and students held similar perceptions of the cooperative learning program. Themes emerged under four main categories: goals of the lessons; cooperative learning roles; benefits of cooperative learning; and implementation of cooperative learning. The teacher believed that the cooperative learning program allowed students of all ability levels to improve motor skills, develop social skills, work together as a team, help others improve their skills, and take responsibility for their own learning.

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Ping Xiang, Susan Lowy and Ron McBride

The present study focused on preservice classroom teachers’ beliefs about elementary physical education and the impact of a field-based elementary physical education methods course on their beliefs. Participants (N = 97) completed questionnaires at the beginning and at the end of the course. Results indicated that the preservice classroom teachers held similar beliefs about the values and purposes of elementary physical education as were shared by physical education professionals. The methods course had a positive impact on the participants’ beliefs but no impact on their disposition toward teaching elementary physical education. Teaching physical education in an elementary school setting and observing physical education classes were the two most important components of the course that contributed to changes in the participants’ beliefs.

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Barbara Ewens Cusimano

This study investigated change in verbal teacher behavior due to a planned intervention on inservice training in self-assessment of audiotaped lessons and goal setting. The subjects were 15 elementary physical education teachers. A pretest-posttest control group experimental design was utilized. Verbal teacher behavior was assessed by event and duration recording. Change in verbal teacher behavior was analyzed using multivariate analysis of variance. Following intervention there was a statistically significant interaction for positive specific feedback, F(7) = .0015, p < .05, and corrective specific feedback, F(7) = .0417, p < .05. No statistically significant difference was evident for acceptance of students’ skill performance ideas. It appears that positive specific feedback and corrective specific feedback can be modified through the use of a planned intervention package including self-assessment and goal-setting.

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Ping Xiang, Ron McBride and April Bruene

Using achievement goal theory and the expectancy-value model of achievement choice as theoretical frameworks, this study examined relationships between parents’ beliefs and their children’s motivation in an elementary physical education running program. Participants included 102 parents and their children (49 boys; 53 girls) in the third and fourth grades. The parents completed questionnaires assessing their achievement goals, competence beliefs, task values, and gender stereotypic beliefs about running. Children’s persistence/effort was assessed by the number of laps run/walked over the year-long running program. Performance was measured by the timed mile run. Results indicated that only parents’ competence/value beliefs were predictive of their children’s persistence/effort and mile run performance. Gender stereotypic beliefs influenced achievement goals the parents adopted for their children. Findings provided empirical support for the importance of parental beliefs for children’s motivation in physical activity.

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Ben Dyson

The purpose of this study was to explore (a) a teacher’s perspective of the implementation of cooperative learning in an elementary physical education program, and (b) the students’ responses to the implementation into their own physical education classes. Data collection included interviews with a physical education teacher and students in two mixed third- and fourth-grade classes and two fourth-grade classes, nonparticipant observation, fieldnotes, a teacher journal, and documents. Inductive analysis and constant comparison methods were used to analyze and organize the data throughout the research process. The findings revealed that the teacher and students held similar perceptions of cooperative learning. This was evident from the categories that emerged from the data: goals of the lessons, student roles, accountability, communication skills, working together, and practice time. This study demonstrated that the cooperative learning instructional format holds much promise for physical education, but that its implementation will likely not be smooth or trouble free.

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Lauren J. Lieberman, John M. Dunn, Hans Van der Mars and Jeff McCubbin

The purpose of this study was to analyze the effect of trained peer tutors on the physical activity levels of deaf students1 in inclusive elementary physical education classes. A single subject delayed multiple baseline design across 8 deaf participants (4 boys and 4 girls) ages 10 to 12 was used. Eight typically developing, trained peers of the same age and gender served as peer tutors following training in use of sign language and basic teaching strategies. The dependent variable was moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) determined by McKenzie, Sallis and Nader’s (1991) System for Observing Fitness Instruction Time (SOFIT). The study included 3–4 sessions of baseline, 11–14 sessions of intervention, and 1–3 sessions of maintenance. Results revealed that after the introduction of peer tutoring, deaf students increased their MVPA from to 22% to 41.5%, and peer tutors increased their MVPA from 19% to 37.9%.

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Andrew E. Alstot

Token economies have a long research and applied history within clinical settings and classroom education (Kazdin, 1982). However, despite reported successes in improving physical activity behaviors (Alstot, 2012), research examining token reinforcement implemented specifically in physical education is virtually nonexistent. Therefore, the purpose of the current study was to examine the effects of a peer-administered token economy on the jump rope behaviors of elementary physical education students. An alternating treatments design was used to assess the effects of the intervention. Participants were alternated between five baseline and five token economy sessions while response differentiation between the two phases was assessed. Results indicated that nine out of ten participants showed an increase in the number of successful jump rope practice trials during token reinforcement sessions as compared with baseline sessions. Based on the results of the study, it was concluded that peer-administered token economies can be useful tools for physical educators.

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Michael G. Hodges, Pamela Hodges Kulinna, Hans van der Mars and Chong Lee

The purpose of this study was to determine students’ health-related fitness knowledge (HRFK) and physical activity levels after the implementation of a series of fitness lessons segments called Knowledge in Action (KIA). KIA aims to teach health-related fitness knowledge (HRFK) during short episodes of the physical education lesson. Teacher participants from one district (N = 10) were randomly assigned into either the intervention or comparison group. Intervention teachers used the KIA fitness lessons during fifth grade students’ physical education classes. These teachers received training sessions, teaching materials, and YouTube videos that modeled the KIA fitness lessons. Intervention fidelity was assessed through observations and a fidelity checklist. Students’ physical activity levels were measured using accelerometers and HRFK was examined by PE Metrics 28-question pencil and paper test. General linear models (GLM) and Hierarchical linear models (HLM) were used to examine group differences. Intervention students had a 3.4 (20%) greater unit improvement in HRFK scores when compared with their comparison counterparts (p < .001), at the school level. Student activity levels of moderate-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) time were similar in both groups (p = .64). Teachers can use the KIA fitness lesson segments or similar strategies to effectively teach HRFK in elementary physical education classes.