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Physical education pedagogies and physical activity in primary school children

Crotti, M (2021) Physical education pedagogies and physical activity in primary school children. Doctoral thesis, Liverpool John Moores University.

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Abstract Many children do not engage in adequate levels of moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) to benefit their health and development. Physical education (PE) is a key opportunity for children to learn movement skills that could foster their engagement in physical activity (PA). The development of movement competence is a core aim of early primary PE as foundational movement skills help to foster lifelong PA behaviours. There is a lack of evidence about how PE pedagogical approaches targeting movement skill outcomes might affect PA in children. Therefore, this PhD thesis aimed to examine how different PE pedagogies (Linear and Nonlinear pedagogies), underpinned by movement learning theories, influence 5-6-year-old children’s PA levels during PE and their overall habitual PA. Study 1 and Study 2 within this PhD thesis validated assessment methods that were needed to assess PA and teaching practices associated with MVPA. Study 3 and Study 4 investigated how PE interventions guided by Linear and Nonlinear pedagogies affect children’s MVPA and teaching practices during PE, as well as habitual PA in primary school children. The data used in Study 2, Study 3 and Study 4 were collected within the SAMPLE-PE project clustered randomised controlled trial where 360 children (age: 5.9 ± 0.3 years, 55% girls) from 12 primary schools were randomly allocated to a 15-week Linear Pedagogy (LP: n = 3) or Nonlinear Pedagogy (NP: n = 3) PE interventions delivered by trained coaches, or to a control group (n = 6), where schools followed usual practice. Study 1 involved a sample of participants from a primary school that was not included in the SAMPLE-PE project. Study 1 validated sedentary behaviour (SB), MVPA and vigorous PA (VPA) raw accelerometer cut-points in 5–7-year-old children as valid and reliable cut-points for ActiGraph GT9X devices were not published in the literature. Forty-nine participants (age: 6.5 ± 0.8 years, 55% girls) wore an ActiGraph GT9X accelerometer on both wrists and the right hip during a standardised calibration protocol and recess. Cut-points were generated using ROC analysis with direct observation as the criterion. Cut-points were optimised using confidence intervals equivalency analysis and then cross-validated in a cross-validation group. All monitor placements demonstrated adequate levels of accuracy for SB and PA assessment. Study 2 included a subsample of the SAMPLE-PE project participants represented by 162 children (age: 6.0 ± 0.3 years, 53% girls) from 9 primary schools and the study aimed to validate the modified System for Observing Fitness Instruction Time (SOFIT+) to measure teacher practices related to PA promotion in PE amongst 5-6-year-old-children. Video-recordings of 45 PE lessons from nine teachers/coaches were coded using a modified version of the SOFIT+ while accelerometers were used to measure children’s MVPA. It was found that SOFIT+ was a valid and reliable assessment of teaching practices related to MVPA promotion in PE amongst 5-6-year-old-children. Using the same participants and dataset as Study 2, Study 3 aimed to assess and compare children’s PA and teaching practices related to PA promotion during PE lessons following Linear and Nonlinear pedagogical approaches. Linear pedagogy and Nonlinear pedagogy interventions were not associated with children engaging in higher MVPA during PE compared to participants in the control group and compared to each other. Despite this, Linear and Nonlinear interventions generally presented higher percentages of PA promoting teaching practices and lower MVPA reducing teaching practices compared to the control group. In particular, Linear and Nonlinear pedagogy involved increased Motor Content time (MVPA promoting practice) during PE compared to the control group. Additionally, the teaching practices observed in Linear and Nonlinear Interventions were in line with the respective pedagogical principles guiding PE delivery. Study 4 included all the children participating in the sample PE project represented by 360 children (age: 5.9 ± 0.3 years, 55% girls) from 12 primary schools. Study 4 aimed to assess how PE interventions guided by Linear pedagogy and Nonlinear pedagogy intervention affected children’s habitual PA over the whole week and different segments of the week compared to the control group. ActiGraph GT9X accelerometers were used to assess PA metrics (MVPA, mean raw acceleration and lowest acceleration over the most active hour and half hour) over the whole week and week segments at baseline, immediately post-intervention and in a follow-up measurement 6 months after the end of the intervention. Intention to treat analysis employing multilevel modelling was used to assess intervention effects. Linear pedagogy and Nonlinear pedagogy interventions did not significantly affect children’s PA levels compared to the control group. It was concluded that PE interventions based on Linear pedagogy and Nonlinear pedagogy alone might not be effective in improving habitual PA in children. Based on the finding from this thesis 1) the accelerometers cut-points used in this thesis could be used by other researchers to assess PA in 5-7 years old children, 2) the methods used to validate accelerometer cut-points in this thesis could inform future calibration studies, 3) SOFIT+ could be used by both researchers and practitioners to assess teaching practices to achieve different aims (e.g. process evaluation of interventions, improving own teaching practices), 4) future Linear and Nonlinear interventions aiming at improving MVPA in PE should specifically target teaching practices aiming at increasing MVPA in PE (e.g. decreasing instruction time, improving verbal PA promotion), and 5) future PE interventions should be accompanied by other intervention components (e.g. increasing PA opportunities during school time, involving parents in PA promotion strategies) to successfully improve habitual PA levels in children.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Physical activity; Physical education; Children; Pedagogy; Motor learning; Teaching practices; Validation
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1501 Primary Education
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2361 Curriculum
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC1200 Sports Medicine
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure > GV561 Sports
Divisions: Sport & Exercise Sciences
Date Deposited: 20 Sep 2021 10:19
Last Modified: 30 Aug 2022 15:17
Supervisors: Foweather, L, Rudd, J and Roberts, S
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/15521
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