HOW DOES THE NATIONAL CURRICULUM FOR PHYSICAL EDUCATION INFLUENCE STUDENTS’ ATTITUDES TOWARDS PHYSICAL ACTIVITY?
University of Wales Institute Cardiff
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As noted in previous literature, there is a dearth of research that has investigated the influence that physical education (PE) has on physical activity (PA) participation outside of school (Wallhead and Buckworth,2004). Therefore, the current study set out to investigate how the National Curriculum for Physical Education (NCPE) influences students’ attitudes towards physical activity. The study involved three focus group discussions including a total of 21 students from one secondary school. The study focused on five different themes that emerged from previous literature (Fairclough, Stratton and Baldwin, 2002; Smith and Parr, 2007) all of which relate to the NCPE. These included curriculum time, range of activities, lesson content, progression of the curriculum and opportunity to take differing roles. The findings of the study identified that students generally had a positive experience of the NCPE. When students were asked questions relating to these topics they generally expressed a positive insight into their experiences. As a result students’ identified how these experiences influenced their participation within PA. Although students’ attitudes towards PA weren’t clearly noted within the study, through students’ active involvement in PA outside of school it can be suggested that students’ experience of the NCPE, has been influential in adopting physical activity outside of school. Through students active involvement within physical activity their attitudes will be developed and enhanced. As noted by Cale and Harris (2005) positive attitudes towards physical activity emerge through participation. Within the findings of the study students identified additional factors that influence their participation, and attitudes towards physical activity such as peer and family influence. Therefore, future studies could address these factors to gain a greater insight into attitudes toward PA.
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