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, Myers, Strikmiller, Webber and Berenson (1996). Furthermore, great concern has surfaced for this lifestyle change as, according to the World Health Organization (2000) childhood obesity has risen dramatically in the last ten years. When looking at the school context, incorporating physical activity or sport is a likely means of improving the physical health status of children, Haskell (1994). According to research undertaken physical education can lead to improved cognitive performance; Sibley & Etiner (2003). Research also shows us that in some circumstances physical education can lead to improved attention and greater concentration, Hillman, Castelli & Buck (2005), Shephard (1996). With this in mind can physical education teach young people about self worth and the value of respecting others? This paper will explore the idea that physical education can do these things but also look at the flip side of the coin and see if they can have a negative outlook on pupils.
Prior to the general election in 1997 the labour party stated that ', (Crabbe 2000) adds that the labour party declared that if elected part of their plans would see them start developing sporting opportunities for young people to, 'help Indeed when elected in 1997 the Labour government started supporting sports programmes for youths both in and out of school. It is too early in to the new Conservative/Liberal coalition to know how they will support sports programmes for children, as on one hand they have begun plans to start a schools Olympic style competition modelled on London 2012, Telegraph (2010), but on the other the have already began cuts on public spending which is highly likely to affect schools.
Within schools, physical education is an essential component of quality education. Not only do physical education programmes promote physical activity, but according to Nicholas (2004) participants in such programmes are also shown to have improved academic performance under certain conditions. It is widely believed that physical education and sport is essential to the early development of youth and children and the skills learned during play, sport and physical education contribute to the holistic development of young people. According to Hendry (1993) '. Collins (2003) ads it also '
Another challenge is assessing the relationship between academic achievement and physical education. The reasons for this being a difficult task are due to it being extremely hard to define and measure P.E. i.e. it is difficult when the quality of instruction children receive and the actual time children spend in P.E. varies from school to school. In 2005 a study was conducted by Grissom (2005), of 884,715 students in California to evaluate the relationship between physical fitness, a marker of physical activity and academic achievement over the course of a school year. In his study Grissom included student's socioeconomic status as well as gender. Grissom's findings identified a positive relationship between physical fitness and academic achievement. Subsequent analyses revealed that this relationship was stronger for those who came from higher socioeconomic back grounds than those who came from lower socioeconomic backgrounds as well as being greater for girls than boys. Nichols (2007) adds to this by stating as well as a child's academic achievement improving, '.
It seems plausible that children succeeding at sports at school i.e. making a team or becoming captain could make a child try harder at other subjects such as maths, English and science because the sense of joy they get from achieving positive goals in sport could lead to the child wanting to go to school. But look at the flip side of the coin. The study above was a generalisation. Would the study achieve the same results if all the pupils had not liked physical education/sport? What if a child hates physical education/sport or even worse loves the sport but is just not good enough to get in the team or club he or she tries out for. There seems to be little or no research to provide evidence on improving cognitive performance or learning self worth for those with less ability in a sport. One could argue that it could have a negative effect on cognitive performance and grades could begin to drop. The reasons for this could be the child could be bullied about his or hers lack of skill in sport or the child could begin to resent going to school and attendance could drop.
In 1985 after a study by Noles (1985), he recommended providing physical activity in primary schools based on physical activity preferences. He states, fully'. This would be on a daily basis with the purpose of providing regular physical activity and for children to take part in something they enjoy. This is supported by the British government who recommend 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity per day for children in primary schools and 5 hours per week for secondary school students, 2.5 hours of which comes through P.E taught in school and a further 2.5 hours completed through after school teams etc.
. (Youth sport trust 2010). 1997 saw the introduction of sports colleges as part of the specialist schools programme in the United Kingdom. According to (Sport England 2010) these programs allow secondary schools to specialise in certain fields, in this case PE, sports and dance. Sports colleges are designed to develop a visible ethos throughout the school and within their local community which will hopefully inspire their learners to engage in sport.
According to (Specialist sports school standards 2010), Sports colleges aim to support the government's plans by making sure that all young people have at least two hours per week of high quality P.E both within and outside the curriculum. Sports colleges will also take an appropriate role in the physical education, as well as the school sport clubs link. Also they aim to develop the skills and understanding of teachers, which in turn will raise the quality and learning of P.E. furthermore sports colleges hope to give those with the greatest potential the best opportunities for them to achieve the highest standard they can. Also they hope to work with the wider community as well as other schools and clubs so they can develop. And finally they hope to be involved in national initiatives and competitions that will help enrich P.E. and sport for their students.
'Shephard (1997), this creates a number of opportunities for the teacher to discus behaviours and values associated to these behaviours. 'The overall aim of each of the lessons is for the specific behaviours attached to each of the values are modelled by the pupils and for these behaviours to be taken beyond the field/gymnasium'. According to Shephard et al (1994), '
(1). Teaching style. Teachers should be confident in using a child-centred style of teaching. The teacher's role should be one of observer as well as facilitator. Teachers need to have the ability to reflect articulately on their pupil's behaviour during the lesson. 'Behaviour that reflect the values are referred to as 'teachable moments'. They can be positive or negative examples although positive TMs tend to be more effective than negative'.
(2). Teachers should identify a set of core values for their lessons. These values should be 'placed under the banner of fair play'. For the lesson examples given are, equity, respect, trust, responsibility and inclusion, but they can also be chosen according to the children's needs or the ethos of the school.
(3). The teacher to act as a role model. It seems plausible that if teachers are expecting children to act in a certain way and demonstrate certain behaviours then he/she should act in the same way by modelling these behaviours themselves. For example, dealing with both the success and failure that winning and losing bring in an honourable way.
(4).Building positive relationships. A teacher looking for the opportunity to give a pupil a sense of self worth or raise self esteem could offer the pupil praise whilst walking from the pitch back to the changing room. The positive effects of this would be even greater if the child was a difficult pupil.
In conclusion, it is unrealistic to claim that physical education alone can lead to greater academic achievement. Although (Gatz et al 2002) argues that, 'Furthermore Andrews (2010) adds to this by stating Although studies in the past all seem to agree that physical education does lead to greater cognitive performance and teach children ethics and values of respect for themselves and others, these are all generalisations. Furthermore the only thing that does seem to be clear is the fact that physical education does help combat child obesity which is a growing concern and few would disagree that a child that looks good would feel good about themselves, giving the child a sense of self worth. Golenberg et al (2000) discussed the values of the body in relation to the effect they can have on self esteem, stating that 'one's physical body is a potential source of self esteem and that not living up to social standards regarding the body can have negative consequences for the self'.