"The most horrible thing about physical education lessons has got to be when they end"
University of Wales Institute Cardiff
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Aim: The purpose of this study was to identify what motivates 14-16 year old boys to participate in physical activity. In particular, the study aims to identify the barriers they experience that prevent them from engaging in their physical education lessons. These barriers were used to encourage the participants to identify strategies that could be put in place to improve the physical education provision in their school. Method: Fifty-four boys aged fourteen to sixteen from three schools in Ceredigion participated in the study. The data collected from nine focus group interviews were organised into themes such as pupil’s motivation in physical education, stereotypes, the learning environment and activity choice which represented the opinions of the boys. Results: The findings demonstrated the various external factors that can influence an individual to take part in physical education. Although gender stereotypes were seen to influence participation, it became clear that stereotypes relating to image were of a greater concern to adolescents in the current study. The boys expressed concerns about co-educational lessons and the type of activities that would be available if girls were included in the lesson. In addition boys acknowledged that lack of activity choice was a reason for disengagement in physical education. They also recognised that an improvement to activity choice and engagement within the lesson would impact positively on their motivation. Conclusion: In all of the key themes, the physical education teacher was seen to be the most influential factor in ensuring that pupils participate in physical education. Implementing strategies to include young people in the decision making of their learning has been shown by the participants in this study to influence their motivation and improve the learning environment.
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