Monday, March 26, 2018

Poor Physical Education Experiences Linked with Reduced Activity

An experienced physical education teacher, Kevin Pratte worked with children from kindergarten through fifth grade at Port City Academy in Stockton, California. Kevin Pratte has also taught at the middle and high school levels at Langston Hughes Academy, where he also held the role of athletic director.

In 2014, researchers from Brigham Young University released findings that adverse social experiences in physical education classes may lead children to become less physically active and can even lead to a reduced quality of life.

The study centered on fourth and fifth-grade students from six Midwestern elementary schools. Each student completed three surveys. The first assessed emotional and social wellness and the second screened for experiences with teasing in the context of athletic activities, while the third evaluated whether a child had been the subject of bullying during physical activity, while also assessed the emotional fallout of bullying. Researchers evaluated each child at the outset of the study and again a year later.

The questions to which students responded included whether other students made fun of them or called them names while exercising or playing a sport, as well as how other children reacted to their placement on a team. Results showed that students who were overweight and had experienced teasing displayed lower levels of functional ability in social, physical, and academic contexts. Researchers further noticed that when non-overweight children were bullied while engaging in physical activity, they reported lower levels of physical activity the following year.

Researchers believe that these results may arise because teasing lowers a student's perception of his or her own social and physical ability. Lead author Chad Jensen stated that the study results should encourage schools to implement bullying prevention initiatives in all activities that involve physical activity, while also developing policies that prohibit targeting of a student based on his or her athletic or physical skills.