Archive for March, 2013

Comments week 8

Posted: March 21, 2013 in Uncategorized


For this week’s blog I will be looking at two topics; the role of the teacher and curriculum.




Physical activity during childhood and adolescence is associated with a progression in physical and psychological development in children. Schools are expected to implement a physical education class for each group of individuals, on average 97% of children participate in physical education lessons across countries, showing the role physical education teachers are faced with when teaching lessons (Ross, 1987). Many schools fail to implement sufficient physical activity. SPARK (Sports, Play and Active Recreation for Kids; Sallis et al, 1997) was developed for elementary children in order to generalize the physical activity implemented within schools. Through comparing control group students and SPARK students with the amount of exercise that they participated in each week, the findings showed significances to students which received the SPARK intervention and their physical gains. Additionally girls were found to be much stronger physically, abdominally, and cardio-vascularily compared to the control group; this is partly due to the lower health related fitness baseline data collected from the group prior to conditions.

Sallis et al (1997) proved how a good and well structured physical curricula, which is generalized to the whole classroom. The best results were found from the specialist led condition and trained SPARK teachers. The research however did not find any correlations towards SPARK and any extra curricular activity after school.  The researchers have therefore implemented an important study into PE lessons, as I have discussed previously in blogs. This approach to teaching in a more fun, and sociable activity results in an engaging child (Van Daalen, 2005). Sallis et al (1997) shows within the findings that children gained on average 13 hours extra “vigorous” physical activity when instructed using SPARK as compared to control groups, showing the positive effects that SPARK has in a curriculum.

Here’s a video for you to enjoy, I find it very cool the way they implement this program in the class!

Competent Teaching


Luke and Sinclair (1991) found the second most common factor for students not participating in PE classes was due to the teacher (the first being curricula). Biases towards certain sporting activities in the curriculum and students not being allowed to take part in the decision making of activities led to this being an un-favoured factor towards participation. This concept is worrying, if teachers aren’t generalizing their teaching to the whole class this could have problems in future sports participation of the taught individuals and could eventually cause the vulnerable students to develop preventable diseases e.g. Obesity (Starc and Strel, 2010).

Starc and Strel (2010) carried out a 3-year longitudinal study looking into how competent teachers can influence a student’s physical fitness as compared to generalist teachers. Their findings did not suggest any physical benefits from the competent teachers as compared to the generalist teachers, and any BMI changes in individuals were accounted as a non-intentional by-product. Although the students in the experimental group showed improved motor control, and motivating factors from the teaching. This shows that teachers have no affect on student fitness as previously suggested, although motor skills and motivational levels develop significantly due to this method of teaching.

Therefore research has suggested that the end results are not necessarily due to the teachers, moreover due to the poor curricula implemented which is not generalizable to all of the students (Sallis et al, 1997) , teaching methods can also be a factor as competent teachers bring out the best results from their students motivation and motor control (Starc and Strel, 2010) although no physical gains can be related to teaching technique, showing that Luke and Sinclair’s (1991) findings from students are correct. The governments are again failing in providing a sufficient curriculum in PE, with it being classified as “no man’s land” and are avoiding interventions and expansion from traditional teaching (Carrizosa, 2010). Carrizosa (2010) states the importance of teachers distinguishing between sports and exercise. If this is not explained in PE classes then children will not distinguish the importance of exercise and will avoid participation in future. (Van Daalen, 2005; Ross, 1987; Sallis, 1997).




From researching into this final topic, we can obviously see major flaws in the curriculum across many countries regarding PE curricula and teaching, which can be generalized to the UK. There are many interventions needed to be implemented and additional training (possibly SPARK and Competent teaching) in order to increase exercise participation and enjoyment in school.  Students are seeing this problem, and so is the government, however no interventions have been made as of yet (5X60 has been successful in Wales although I’ve spoken much too much about this in previous blogs) that have been successful in the UK, as this area is classified as a “no man’s land” area in the school curriculum.



Fox, K. et al. (1994) Children’s task and ego goal profiles in sport. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 64 (2), p.253-261.




Ross, J. G. (1987). The National Children and Youth Fitness Study II. Journal of Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, 58(9), 49-96.


Sallis, J. F., McKenzie, T. L., Alcaraz, J. E., Kolody, B., Faucette, N., & Hovell, M. F. (1997). The effects of a 2-year physical education program (SPARK) on physical activity and fitness in elementary school students. Sports, Play and Active Recreation for Kids. American Journal of Public Health, 87(8), 1328-1334



van Daalen, C. (2005). Girls‟ experiences in physical education: Competition, evaluation, and degradation. Journal of School Nursing, 31(3), 115-121.




Last week my topic was girls in Sport and PE, delving deep into the controversy surrounding sport and females. This week my blog topic will be about achievement in sports and education.

Achievement, motivation and academic

Ego orientation, task affecting motivation and sports competence in youths, whereas highly motivated youths tend to participate in more sporting activities, low motivation leads to low sport participation, especially in females (Fox et al, 1994). Low motivation levels and sports participation highly correlates to students showing signs of self-defeating ego orientation, affecting achievement and self-perception (Skaalvik, 1997).


These are worrying signs and shows links between academic achievement and motivational factors. If students are not motivated and do not participate in sporting activities, they are the most at risk of failing in school achievement.

One big motivating factor in America are sports scholarships available students.  Fisher et al (1996) research suggested that 35% of American high school students regard sports as a more important than high school academics subjects. This was a significant finding, and which was consistent with the amount of students believing they would receive a University sports scholarship (52% male, 20% female). The findings are worrying. More youths are putting education second best to sports, with many having unrealistic expectations of their future of receiving a high school scholarship. Unlike the studies discussed before (Fox, 1994; Skaalvik, 1997), the findings showed no association to sports involvement and academic performance. Taras (2005) found similar findings to Fisher. Although there are definitive short term gains to be had from physical activity due to concentration, no long term effects could be found following intensive sporting activity.

Suggestions from Fisher is that sport has no effect on academic achievement, although and give students unrealistic goals for sports participation and scholarships. Further research suggests not. Yiannakis and Melnick (2001) investigating in a longitudinal study on 10th graders with many variables controlled for including student background and eighth grade academic measures. The findings from this research contradicts the main research of Fisher (1996) of no association between sport and academic studies, finding a relationship between grades, self identity and education targets with sports participation. Yiannakis et al (2001) also found males, higher socio-economic background students, type of school attended (small or private), and private sport clubs contributed to the likeliness of sports participation in high school sports.


So far… we can see there are more positives than negatives to sports with a ratio of 3 (Fox, 1994; Skaalvik, 1997; Yiannis, 2001) to 2 (Fisher, 1996; Taras, 2005) for and against the effects on sports on academic achievement. We can therefore tell that this will be the trend throughout research, although Fisher (1996) did focus on the level of expectancy of students to receive a scholarship (concentrating upon this and the misjudgements in ability students have made) which can only be generalised to the US for the majority as billions of Dollars is spent on sports in the US (Sitkowski, 2008).

Just to finish on this topic I thought I would add a little blast from the past from Coach Carter!

Role theory on Sports participation and academic work:

Many stereotypes have been given to sporty people over the given years, for example “dumb jock”, this has made it easier for these students to prioritise athletics above academics as teachers lowered the expectations of these students within the taught subject (Sitkowski, 2008). As shown by Adler and Adler (1991) with the role theory, student athletes tend to engage in more athletic roles (role engulfment) and minimal amount of academic work (role abandonment). This again shows the negativity sports has upon academic performance which I can relate to, and I’m sure some of the readers can too.


For the past three years I have competed in BUCS, and all through my second year I had a lecture on a Wednesday, conflicting with my sport. With the role theory, I therefore role engulfed my tennis, and abandoned my academic role in order to fulfil my priority, sports.  Although this year I have been lucky enough not to have any lectures/ exams clash with BUCS, it just shows to what extent I would prioritise a sporting activity in comparison to my education, which has astounded me and I am sure I am not the only person ever to do this.

Role strain is another theory, occurring in any extracurricular activity (including sports), and academics. Goode (1960) found that student athletes will experience role strains because of the competing time and energy demands of both academic and sports roles on that individual, suggesting that time is predominantly consumed and may affect on and other.  Contradicting research to this by Marks (1977) found that students could juggle both as long as they are committed to each activity, and not predominantly just one, using time management to limit conflict between them.

To Conclude


In conclusion this week I have found a very broad and conflicting topic with many issues still needing to be addressed. We can see that low motivation and participation in sport has been proven to affect academic performance a low self ego, majorly in females (Fox, 1994; Skaalvik, 1997; Yiannkis).  Stereotypes (Sitkowski, 2008) Scholarships can have an affect on academic success with many feeling they will achieve the criteria of having a college scholarship, which can misguide them in deeming sport more important than academic achievement (Fisher et al, 1996; Sitkowski, 2008). Also there in some cases only concentration can be accounted for as an improvement in relation to sport and achievement (Taras, 2005). Role theory is present in sport as many perceive academic as a lower priority (abandonment) as compared to sport (engulfment) and shows the negative influences of sports (Adler and Adler, 1991). Role strain can occur within academics and sport (Goode, 1960) however time management techniques and equality can address this issue! (Marks, 1977)


My opinion on this matter is biased towards sports. This is a big issue with no definitive answer and no right or wrong as all the research suggests, it is down to the individual at the end of the day. Some aspects are good, some are bad, but all that has been discussed relates to most of us!


Thanks for reading.




Adler, P. A., & Adler, E (1991). Backboards and blackboards: College athletes and role engulfment. New York: Columbia University Press.

Fisher, M., Juszczak, L., & Friedman, S.B. (1996). Sports participation in an urban high school: Academic and psychologic correlates. Journal of Adolescent Health, 18(5), 329-34.

Fox, K. et al. (1994) Children’s task and ego goal profiles in sport. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 64 (2), p.253-261.

Goode, W. J. (1960). A theory of role strain. American Sociological Review, 25, 483- 496.

Marks, S. R. (1977). Multiple roles and role strain: Some notes on human energy, time and commitment. American Sociological Review, 42(6), 921-936.

Sitkowski, L. (2008) The Effects of Participation in Athletics on Academic Performance among High School Sophomores and Juniors. Libery University

Skaalvik, E. (1997) Self-enhancing and self-defeating ego orientation: Relations with task and avoidance orientation, achievement, self-perceptions, and anxiety.. Journal of Educational Psychology, 89 (1), p.71-81.

Taras, H. (2005). Physical activity and student performance at school. Journal of School Health, 75(6), 214-218.

Yiannakis, A., & Melnick, M. (2001). Contemporary issues in sociology of sport. NewYork: Human Kinetics.

Girls in Sport and PE

Posted: March 4, 2013 in Uncategorized

This week I am discussing a topic of interest to me, which is Girls in Physical Education. Sports has been stereotyped as a masculine activity with males expected to be strong, independent and athletic. In contrast females are expected to be quiet, obedient and attractive in Western society (Wilde, n.d). We are bombarded with stereotyping since birth, with males being dressed in blue colours and given trucks and soldiers, while girls are dressed in pink and given dolls and animals to play with at infancy (Malszecki and Cavar, 2005), sports is no exception.

 I view myself as a controversial person especially on a tennis court, I throw/break my racket, shout, swear; these are deemed as aggressive masculine behaviours which is typical in tennis. Now, imagine a female doing the same, what would be the view of the public and society of that behaviour? She would most likely be stereotyped as “butch or lesbian”, due her expression of aggression, which are not deemed “feminine” traits (Wilde, n.d). This is a major issue in sport nowadays, from grassroots up to elite athletes, making it much difficult for girls to participate in physical activities due to the labelling issue within western society.

Back on topic now, physical education and girls. Last week I discussed the fact that only 12% of 14-year-old females partake in enough physical activity (NHS, 2013) and prefer a social approach to sporting activity. From my experiences in school, this issue is a major one as inter- class competitive structures are apparent during PE e.g. cross country, athletics, fitness testing; and in turn not addressing these social factors in females (this is an example from my school only). A finding Luke and Sinclair (1991) studying into gender differences In PE found that 25% of females who did not take part in physical education classes identified teachers as the second most common cause of not participating in physical activity because they disliked the methods of evaluation and take part in decision making within the lessons. The researchers stated that participants indicated that they did not like the evaluation system basing it on fitness or single skill test only on the students. The curriculum was the most common cause as the teachers control the PE programme for that school. The research suggested that the teacher plays a big and major role in female PE participation. Biases towards certain activities and testing may leave females left out and vulnerable because of the curricula set and not controlled externally by governing bodies, only advised on the content to partake and address at all levels from the UK education department.

The main reason I picked this subject this week has an additional incentive following university have been employed by Tennis Wales in a programme: Girls in Tennis (2013). Tennis Wales are setting targets for coaches across the country in order to increase girls’ participation between the ages of 4-6 years. The goal is to work in the schools, attract the most “athletic” players into the sport, followed by 3 times a week of tennis and many competitive tournaments in “mixed events”.

` However research from Gneezy and Rustichini (2004) found that competition works better for males aiding and improving performance compared to girls, and that mixed competitions do result in a decline in girls and an increase in boys’ performances. This research shows that one of the main bodies of Sports in the UK is failing basic properties and facts about females in competition. Not splitting up children’s gender groups in competition can have a detrimental effect on females competing in competition thus affecting their self-esteem using competitions in this format. A relevant study to follow up this is from van Daalen (2005). The researcher investigated why girls drop out of physical education after receiving the core credits for the course.  The findings again found that girls much preferred social sports such as “road hockey and skipping” with their friends, but when athletic ability was tested this affected their self-esteem and causing resentment for physical activity as they were evaluated in public and subject to scrutiny, more for their athletic abilities by the teachers. Another aspect, which contributed to the resentment, was the forced competition amongst their friends, rather than expressive and creative PE.

Following research in to this topic this week, I have found a lot of problems with the way that physical education is implemented for girls, and the implementation of projects within an important tennis body is failing girls in sport. We can see that

  1. Girls prefer a more social and less competitive atmosphere in the Physical Education classroom
  2. Teachers and the curriculum are main contributors to girls not partaking in physical education classes with no variation
  3. There is no concrete curricula by the government which is problematic and causes biases and scrutiny in classes
  4. LTA mixed competition have no benefits towards girls in competition and potentially could be more harmful to the sport
  5. Analysing athleticism in children affects their self-esteem
  6. Girls prefer much more sociable physical and fun unstructured activities

To finish this blog, last week I mentioned the 5×60 programme which has been implemented and supported by many due to the positive effects it has had in the participation of secondary children in schools (Leyshon,2009). This incentive has addressed the issues concerning girls partaking in physical activity (and boys) through allowing them to participate in an unstructured, fun and multi-sport model, and is currently having a positive attitude towards this.

Should the other institutions follow suit?                                                  

Wilde, K. Women in Sport: Gender Stereo Types. Available: Last accessed 4/3/13.

Malszecki, G. and Carvar, T. (2005). Men, masculinities, war and sport. Race, Class and Sexuality (4)

Luke, M. D. & Sinclair, G. D. (1991) Gender differences in adolescents’ attitudes toward physical education, Journal of Teaching in Physical Education, 11. 31-46.

Gneezy, U., and A. Rustichini. (2004)Gender and Competition at a Young Age. American

Economic Review, 94 (2), 377-81.

van Daalen, C. (2005). Girls‟ experiences in physical education: Competition, evaluation, and degradation. Journal of School Nursing, 31(3), 115-121.

Leyshon., A. S. (2009) Physical activity, Extracurricular Sport and the 5×60 initiative: Leisure Lifestyles and Young People in Wales, 2007-2009. Retrieved from:

Girls ‘are being put off exercise and PE’ – Health News – NHS Choices (2012). Girls ‘are being put off exercise and PE’ – Health News – NHS Choices. Available at: