Observing the motivational climate in a secondary school physical education environment: A case study.
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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The purpose of this research was to observe the motivational climate in a secondary school Physical Education (PE) environment. The motivational climate was observed by using an observational framework based upon Epstein’s (1989) TARGET structures and also accounted for behaviours that may be observed outside of this framework. This research also considered a PE teachers perception of which teaching behaviours they perceive to be most effective in motivating pupils to participate. The two distinct motivational climates that were utilised in this research were either mastery or performance in line with Ames (1992a) research. It had been noted in relevant literature that although adapting Epstein’s (1989) TARGET structures were effective in manipulating the motivational climate in lessons there might also be behaviours outside of the TARGET framework (Keegan, Spray, Harwood and Lavallee, 2010). Therefore the rationale for this research was to not only observe the motivational climate in a physical education environment using the TARGET framework, but to identify any behaviours outside of TARGET. To gather this data, a Physical Education teacher was observed for nine hours whilst teaching and behaviours were recorded against each TARGET structure with an added section for behaviours that could not be categorised within this framework. A single semi-structured interview was used to understand the Physical Education teacher’s perceived effect of their teaching behaviour on their pupils. The key findings from this research concluded that on balance a mastery motivational climate was present in the learning environment in line with the TARGET framework. The Physical Education teacher was also observed to display behaviours outside of the TARGET framework including positivity and relationship building with pupils. When interviewed the Physical Education teacher perceived that the positivity and relationship building were key aspects of teaching behaviour to consider when motivating pupils to participate. These findings are relevant for future research because they support the findings of Ames (1992a) in all structures other than the Grouping structure. Moreover this research could potentially guide future research in terms of further investigating the importance of positivity and relationship building with pupils in motivating pupils to participate and other behaviours that potentially are not grouped in the TARGET framework.
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