Students' Motivation and Learning in Physical Education and Outside Activity

Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Exhibit Hall RC Poster Sessions (Tampa Convention Center)
Haichun Sun1, Ang Chen2, Xihe Zhu3 and Catherine D. Ennis2, (1)University of South Florida, Tampa, FL, (2)University of North CarolinaGreensboro, Greensboro, NC, (3)University of Maryland, College Park, MD
Purpose: The ultimate goal of physical education is to develop physically educated individuals with knowledge, skills, and confidences that are necessary to physically active lifestyles (NASPE, 2002). Social constructivists have addressed the importance of connections between different experiences in different settings (Alexander, 2005). The purpose of this study, therefore, was to explore the relationship between students' in-class motivation and health related fitness knowledge learning and their after school physical activity participation. The study was guided by an integrated theoretical framework: situational interest and expectancy-value. Situational motivation can be elicited by situational interest defined as the appealing effect of an activity on individuals (Hidi & Anderson, 1992). There are five dimensions of situational interest including novelty, challenge, attention demand, exploration, and instant enjoyment. Expectancy-value theory consists of two integral parts: self-competence or expectancy beliefs and subjective task values.

Methods: Participants were 293 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students from 6 elementary schools in a large metropolitan school district. Parents' permission forms were received before the data collection. Students' perceived situational interest was measured using the elementary version of situational interest scale (Sun et al., 2007); expectancy related beliefs and task values were measured using the Expectancy-Value Questionnaire (Eccles & Wigfield, 1995); health related fitness knowledge was pre and post tested; and after school activities were collected using a three-day activity record survey (Weston et al., 1997).

Analysis/Results: Data were analyzed using a simultaneous multiple regression method given the exploratory nature of the study. Descriptive analysis suggested that on average students spent 79 minutes in sport, fitness, and other physical activities during their after school time (3:00pm-10:00pm). Regression results revealed that only students' perceived exploration demand (=.25, p<.05) in physical education classes and their expectancy related beliefs (=.20, p<.05) are significant positive predictors for their after school physical activity participations. The two variables account for 11.2% of the variances in after school physical activities.

Conclusions:The results suggested that teachers need to design tasks that not only require the physical engagement but also the high-order cognitive processes, such as exploration. In addition, teachers need to ensure more successful experiences for students to enhance their expectancy related beliefs. These efforts may encourage students to participate after school physical activities and lead to a healthy lifestyle. It is also worth noting that students' knowledge gain does not predict what they do in their daily life. Future studies are needed to further investigate such relationships.