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12 abr 2012

Attitides of high school students toward phydical education (pe) and their sport/activities preferences

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This study investigated the current status of attitude toward PE and physical activities preference of the high school students in the public schools within New York City; and to provide meaningful information for PE professionals reforming their curriculum and programs. 728 grades 9-12th students (249 boys and 479 girls) voluntarily took parted in this survey.

Autor(es):Zeng, Howard Z.; Hipscher, Michael; Leung, Raymond W.; Stanco, Craig; Zanotto, George
Entidades(es):Brooklyn College of the City University of New York, Brooklyn, NY; Franklin D. Roosevelt High School, Brooklyn, NY; Brooklyn Technical High School, Brooklyn, NY, USA
Congreso: congreso de la asociación internacional de escuelas superiores de educación física (AIESEP)
Úbeda A Coruña, 26-29 de Octubre de 2010
ISBN: 9788461499465
Palabras claves:Reform, curriculum, programs.

Attitides of high school students toward phydical education (pe) and their sport/activities preferences

Abstract

This study investigated the current status of attitude toward PE and physical activities preference of the high school students in the public schools within New York City; and to provide meaningful information for PE professionals reforming their curriculum and programs. 728 grades 9-12th students (249 boys and 479 girls) voluntarily took parted in this survey. Their ages were 15-19 yr (M = 16.78 yr, SD = 1.02 yr). PE Activity Attitude Scale and Sport/Activities Preference Questionnaire were employed for date collection. Results showed that the top three higher scores were Question 2(M = 4.144 + .92) “Physical education is not only beneficial to those who are already in good body conditioning”.

Question 16 (M = 4.136 + .834) “During high school years, anybody who is serious about physical education is not foolish”. Question 18 (M = 4.118 + .920) “High school would be better without physical education/activities classes.”About 59% of the students reported they preferred playing team sports, 26% of the students reported they liked to play individual sports, and the students who were in favor dual-game sports were 15%. Aerobic exercise is their favorite activity and dance is their second favor activity, and.

INTRODUCTION AND BACKGRAOUND

Researchers in the fields of health and education have recognized that the goals of public health and physical education are to get school children physically active and remain physically active through their adulthood (Corbin, 2001; Malina, 2001). In fact, the promotion of lifelong physical activity participation has been recognized as the ultimate goal of school physical education programs (Rink, 2006), and physical activity has been ranked top in the ten Leading Health Indicators (USDHHS, 2000). Despite all this, participation in all types of physical activity among children continues to decline strikingly as age or grade in school increases (Corbin, Pangrazi, & Le-Masurier, 2004), and more children are among the sedentary and/or obese category (CDC, 2007; Ogden et al., 2006).

Identifying and understanding factors that associate with children’s physical activity participation are critical to promote current and lifelong physical activity participation of children (Sallis, Prochaska, & Taylor, 2000). Among many factors, children’s attitudes are considered to be a key element influencing physical activity participation (Hagger, Chatzisarantis, & Biddle, 2002; Solmon, 2003; Subramaniam & Silverman, 2002). Children who have more positive attitudes toward physical activity are reported to be more likely to participate in physical activity outside of school (Chung & Phillips, 2002; Hagger et al., 2002; McKenzie, 2003; Portman, 2003) and demonstrate higher physical activity amounts (Hagger, Cale, & Almond, 1995) than those with less positive attitudes. According to a review of literature on children’s attitudes toward physical education/activity by Solmon (2003), child characteristics and contextual factors are two major factors that related to children’s attitudes. Child characteristics refer to children’s age, gender, and sports skill etc.

Contextual factors include the quality of physical education programs and accessibility of after school physical activities etc. With regard to child characteristics, elementary children are found to have more positive attitudes than secondary children (Lee, 2004; Martin, 2000; Solmon & Carter, 1995), and children’s attitudes become less positive as they progress through their schooling (Lee, 2004; Prochaska, Sallis, Slymen, & McKenzie, 2003.). It is also found that elementary children express very favorable attitudes toward health, fitness, enjoyment, and social interaction benefits of physical activity, but do not enjoy physical activities involving hard practice and risktaking movements (Patterson & Faucette, 1990). Younger children’s higher interests, values, and more positive attitudes toward physical activity, however, may not be realistic due to their low ability of selfevaluation (Lee, 2004). With regard to contextual factors, quality physical education (PE) programs have been reported to be a strong factor influencing children’s attitudes toward physical activity.

Children’s positive attitudes are likely to be linked with enjoyment, perceived usefulness of the curriculum, and a sense of belongingness (Subramaniam & Silverman, 2002). Curriculum with situational interest, such as those require students to analyze and design offensive and defensive strategies, may foster students’ interests in physical activity (Chen & Darst, 2001). A learning environment that promotes personal meaning is considered to be important to the development of positive attitude (Rink, 2006). Children are also likely to become more positive toward physical activity if they are in a learning environment that makes them comfortable and confident (Hagger et al., 2002). In terms of children’s negative attitudes associated with contextual factors, Carlson (1995) indicated that students become bored if there is a lack of challenge or repeat the same activities without taking children’s interests into account. Siedentop (2004) also argued that a multi-activity curriculum with a series of short-term units would negatively influence students’ attitudes.

Biddle and Chatzisarantis (1999) found that it is more difficult for students to maintain interests in traditional team sports than in individual sports or activities. Additionally, marginal status of PE in the school curriculum has a negative impact on students’ attitudes (Tannehill, Romar, O’sullivan, England, & Rosenberg, 1994). Compared with research dealing with children’s physical activity levels, research addressing children’s attitudes toward physical activity is relatively scant, and most research targets elementary school children. As discussed previously, children at elementary schools tend to report inflated physical activity ability, interest, and attitude due to their limited developmental ability of self-evaluation.

Secondary school children’s self-report, however, were more realistic (Lee, 2004). Thus, it would be meaningful to examine secondary school children’s attitudes toward physical activity. The purpose of this study, therefore, was to investigate the current status of attitude toward PE and activities preference of the high school students in the public schools from four boroughs of New York City; and to provide meaningful information to help PE professionals reform their curriculum and programs.

METHODOLOGY

Participants Participant were 728 grades 9th -12th students (249 boys and 479 girls) eight public high schools from four school districts (Manhattan was not included) of New York City (NYC). Their ages were 15-19 yr (M = 16.78 yr, SD = 1.02 yr). The PE curricular requirements and standards as outlined by the state and school districts were: (a) basic motor and manipulative skills, cardiorespiratory endurance, flexibility, muscular strength, endurance, and body composition; (b) to participate in physical activities that develop physical fitness skills, demonstrate fundamental motor, non-locomotor, and manipulative skills, understand the effects of activity on the body and the risks associated with inactivity, understand the relationship between physical activity and individual well being; (c) students will have the necessary knowledge and skills to establish and maintain physical fitness, participate in physical activity, and maintain personal health (New York State Education Department, 2007). The students had one PE class per day, five days per week. Attention was focused on the high school level because biological developments in adolescence and social environmental factors led to changes in their perception and behavior. Moreover, PE was one of the courses in the high school curricula being ignored due to the emphasis on academic performance (e.g. the state exam).

Questionnaires (Not attached in this short form version) Physical Education Activity Attitude Scale (PEAAS) adopted by Zeng, et al. (2009) and was originally developed by Adams (1963) and Valdez (1997) was employed for date collection. This is a paper and pencil self-report questionnaire with a 5-point Likert-type scale with responses ranging from 1 (Strongly Agree) to 5 (Strongly Disagree) summed across 20 items, resulting in a range of scores from 20 to 100. A score of 20 indicates the most negative attitude; 21-40 indicates a negative attitude; 41-60 indicates a neutral attitude; 61-80 indicates a positive attitude; and 81-100 indicates the most positive attitude (See Appendix A).

The second questionnaire was the Physical Education/Activities Preference Questionnaire (See Appendix B) with a Cronbach Alpha reliability coefficient of.92, an intraclass correlation coefficient of .90, and a scale validity coefficient of .93. Statement samples in this instrument were: “Physical education is important for people to have good posture throughout their life,” “Physical education is only beneficial to those who are already in good body conditioning,” “There is no subject as useful as physical education does for a person’s well-being,” “Physical exercise provides an important relief from the stress of one’s daily life,” and “I believe physical education is all right but I don’t much care for it.” The second instrument, Physical Education/Activities Preference Questionnaire (PEAPQ) developed by Zeng (2009), contained eight questions that asked participants to self-report his/her gender, grade, age, ethnic group, social economic status, and what type of sports and activities he/she preferred.

Data Collection Procedures After the schools were selected, permission to conduct the current study was granted by the administrators of the schools. In the letter to the school administrators, the purposes, procedures, and potential outcomes of the study were briefly described. Students were then asked if they would be willing to take part. Then the volunteer students signed the inform consent form. The questionnaires were adiministered by their instructors and the students completed the questionnaires in their classroom settings.

RESULTS

The aims of this survey study were to examine the attitude toward physical education (ATPE) and sports/activities preference of the high school students in public schools from four boroughs of NYC. The descriptive statistics of the participants on the PEAAS can be found in Table 1.

Table 1. Descriptive Statistics of High school students Attitude toward Physical Education/ Activity in Four Boroughs of New York City (N = 728)

Table 1. Attitides of high school students toward phydical education (pe) and their sport/activities preferences

Contenido disponible en el CD Colección Congresos nº 16

 

Table 1 showed that the top five high scores answered by the participants were Question 2, 16, 18, 14 and 11. The highest score (M = 4.144 + .923) was Question 2, in which the participants surely believed that “Physical education is not only beneficial to those who are already in good body conditioning”. In other words, the participants believed that “Physical education should be beneficial to anyone who regularly participates in it”. The second high score was from question 16 (M = 4.136 + .834), in which the participants believed that “During high school years, anybody who is serious about physical education is not foolish”. The third high score was from question 18 (M = 4.118 + .920), in which the participants did not believe that “High school would be better without physical education/activities classes.” In other words, the participants believed that “Without physical education, high school would not be possible as it is supposed to be”. The fourth high score was from question 14 (M = 4.027 + .929) in which the participants did not believe that “Based upon my experience, physical education is boring and useless.” In other words, physical education is a fun, enjoyable, and helpful course for the high school students. The fifth high score was from question 11 (M = 4.001 + .791), in which the participants truly believed that “Physical exercise is the best way to obtain a youthful looking and agile body.” Moreover, the sum of the mean total score was 68.600 (M = 3.430 + .919). According to the design of the PEAAS Questionnaire, this result indicated that the participants in the current study possess a definitely positive attitude toward to physical education and exercises. Results of the survey for the participating students’ demographics and physical education, sport/activities preference are presented in Table 2:

Table 2. Participating Students’ Demographics and Physical Education, Sport/Activities Preference (N = 728)

Table 2. Attitides of high school students toward phydical education (pe) and their sport/activities preferences

Contenido disponible en el CD Colección Congresos nº 16

 

As presented in Table 2, some of the interesting features were: (a) 65.80 % of the students were females, 74.31 % of the students claimed they preferred co-ed class format, 75.82 % of the students were from middle income family; (b) more than 59% of the students reported that they preferred playing team sports, about 26% of the students reported that they liked to play individual sports, and the students who were in favor of playing dual game sports were about 15%; (c) among the five optional activities, aerobic exercise is their favorite activity and dance is their second favor with 41.21 % and 22.25 % respectively, the third favorite activity is weight lifting with 17.86 % which was over the Martial Art and Outdoor Adventure. In addition, the percentages of the students from the four ethnic groups reflected the diverse population characteristics of the city with 14.56 % White, 20.33 % Black, 34.06% Hispanic, and 27.88 Asian. For this finding, people might find connections with the cultural characteristics, e.g., the Hispanic kids like to dance, the White and Black kids like to play team sports, and the Asian and other kids like to play individual sports, and aerobic exercises. Furthermore, multiple comparisons for determining the differences of the high school students’ ATPE that related to gender, ethnic, and SES were compared using a one-way univariate analysis of variance (ANOVA) (see Table 3).

Table 3. Multiple Comparisons for Determining the Differences in Attitude toward Physical Education/Activities that Relate to Gender, Ethnic, and Social Economic Status Factors of the Participants (N = 728)

Table 3. Attitides of high school students toward phydical education (pe) and their sport/activities preferences

Contenido disponible en el CD Colección Congresos nº 16

 

The results were summarized as follow: In gender factor question 8, male students scored significantly higher than those of female students with M = 3.417 +1.119 vs. M = 3.138 +1.113; p = .001. This result indicated that the male students are not as strong as the female students believing that “Maintaining good physical condition takes more effort than it is worth.” In other words, the effort of maintaining a good physical condition for the boys is just fine. In question 10, again, the male students scored significantly higher than those of females with M = 3.570 +1.072 vs. M = 3.206 +1.079; p = .000. This result indicated that the male students strongly disagreed that “Most students get all the exercise they need just doing normal daily activities.” than those of the female students. In other words, the boys believe that “just doing normal daily activities are not enough for them to maintain a good physical condition”. Surprisingly, the male students scored significantly lower in question 15 than those of female students with M = 3.141 +1.263 vs. M = 3.557 +1.078; p = .000.

This result indicated that the male students are not as strong as the female students agreeing that “In high school, physical education classes are just as important as other academic classes.” On the other hand, the female high school students are serious about the PE classes and regard PE classes as important as other academic classes. Concerning the differences among the five ethnic grouips, the white group scored significantly higher on question 8 and question 10, with M = 3.585 +1.067 and M = 3.584 +1.003 respectively, than other three groups. It reflected that the white kids have better awareness on “maintaining a good physical condition needs certain efforts” and “just doing normal daily activities is not enough for maintaining a good physical condition” than the other groups’ kids. The black group scored significantly higher on question 15, with M = 3.675 +1.114, than any other groups. It reflected that the black kids are the strongest believers who believe that “In high school, physical education classes are just as important as other academic classes.” In regard to the social economic status factor, the only significant finding was on question 2, in which the high income kids scored M = 4.326 +.967, the middle imcome kids scored M = 4.165 +.891, and the low income kids scored M = 3.992 +1.023. This finding reflected that kids from different income levels might have diferent views about “Physical education is only beneficial to those who are already in good body conditioning.” wherein kids from high-income families might have more positive views than those kids from middle- and low-income families.

DISCUSSION

The present study examined the current status of the participants’ attitude toward physical education (ATPE) and their sport/activities preference. At the same time, this study also addressed the differences on ATPE of the high school students’ with regard to their gender, ethnic, and social economic status (SES). The discusssion would be as follow: (a) the ATPE status of the participants; (b) the participants’ sport/activities preference; (c) the ATPE differences of the participants between gender; (d) the ATPE differences of the participants among ethnic groups; and (e) the ATPE differences of the participants among SES. In general, the findings of this study indicated that the total score on ATPE for the participants is 69 out of 100. This result indicated that the current ATPE status of the participants is definitely positive. The top five highest scores by the participants were Question 2, 16, 18, 14 and 11. These questions asked “Physical education is not only beneficial to those who are already in good body conditioning.” “During high school years, anybody who is serious about physical education is not foolish”.

“High school would be better without physical education/activities classes.” “Based upon my experience, physical education is boring and useless.” And “Physical exercise is the best way to obtain a youthful looking and agile body.” As can be seen, these five questions related to ‘benefits’, ‘degree of serious’, ‘perception’, and ‘value’ about physical education and exercises. We believe these four factors are the most essential driven power that structures the ATPE of the participants. Concerning sport/activities preference of the participants, with a wide range selection of the sports and activities from the PE curriculum of the seven high schools (with two high schools in Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx borough, and one high school in Staten Island), team sports of Football, Baseball, Basketball, Volleyball and Soccer, individual sports of Swimming, Track and Field, and dual game sports of Tennis, Badminton, and Table Tennis were provided.

 

As the result showed, team sports are the participants’ number one choice, individual sports second and dual game sport third (see Table 2). Among the five optional activities, the order of their favor is: Aerobic Exercise number one, Dance number two, Weight Lifting number three, Outdoor Adventure number four, and Martial Arts number five. According to an unofficial interview with the program directors of these high schools, the sports/activities perferences of these high school students might be attributed to: school district requirements, tranditional sports/activities of the school, influence of PE teachers’ expertise, environment of PE classes, ethnic and cultural background. For example, white and black kids like and are good at team sport, Hispanic kids like and are good at dancing, and Asian kids prefer to play individual sports and Martial Arts. With regard to the differences between genders, the current study found significant differences in the ATPE scores between boys and girls in Question 8, 10 and 15.

As the study hypothesized that, gender had a significant effect on participants’ATPE. This finding was consistent with some previous studies that reported significant higher attitude scores in boys (Birtwistle & Brodie, 1991; Koca & Demirhan, 2004; Parkhurst, 2000; Subramaniam & Silverman, 2007) whereas it was inconsistent with the findings of Hicks et al. (2001) and Van Wersch et al. (1992). Furthermore, in the studies that used Children’s attitudes toward physical activity, a multidimensional instrument, boys were found to have more positive attitudes toward physical activities that were challenging and had an element of risk (Folsom-Meek, 1992; Smoll & Schutz, 1980; Subramaniam, & Silverman, 2007), whereas girls favored physical activities that emphasized aesthetics (e.g., floor exersice of gymnastics, dance, and yoga) (Birtwistle & Brodie, 1991; Folsom-Meek, 1992; Smoll & Schutz, 1980).

It is worth pointing out that, the finding of ‘the female high school students are serious about their PE classes and regard PE classes as important as other academic classes’ is different from other previous research findings. Concerning the ethnic factor, significant differences in the ATPE scores among the five ethnic groups were also found in Question 8, 10 and 15. White scored higher in Question 8 and Question 10 (M = 3.585, and M = 3.584), scored lower in Question 15 (M = 3.283) than Black, Hispanic and Asian. Black scored higher in Question 15 (M = 3.675) but scored lower in Question 8 and Question 10 (M = 2.932 and M = 3.121 respectively) than other four groups. Although Hispanic and Asian groups have a greater population in the current suvey, the ATPE scores for these two groups were just in the middle. Reason for this finding is unknown but it might be related to the cultural background, the environment of PE classes, and the influence of PE teachers.

This study has also examined the preferences of students in coed or single-sex PE class formats. As a result, about 3/4 of the students claimed they prefer co-ed class format, only 1/4 of the students claimed they prefer single-sex PE class format. Reasons for this finding were probably related to the US public educational system which does not promote single-sex PE class format. Currently, New York City public schools do not have the single-sex PE class format and the participants do not know what the advantages and disadvantages of the single-sex PE class format are. In summary, the current ATPE status of the participants from the four boroughs is positive. The crucial factors that structure their ATPE are ‘benefits’, ‘degree of serious’, ‘perception’, and ‘value’ about their physical education classes and daily physical exercises. The participants’ sport preference is team sports, individual sports, then dual game sports.

The participants’ favorite activities are: Aerobic Exercises, Dance, Weight Lifting, Outdoor Adventure, and then Martial Arts. Generally speaking, male participants show higher ATPE scores than female participants. This finding is consistent with most previous studies; however, the female participants declare that they are serious about their PE classes and regard PE classes as important as other academic classes. Concerning the ethnic factor, different ethnic groups show different favoritism on certain factors, the reason is unknown.

Concerning the coed or single-sex PE class formats, most participants indicate that they are in favor of the coed format. Finally, according to the findings of this investigation and the unofficial interview with the program directors of these high schools, we would like to offer the following recommendations to improve PE experiences and promote positive ATPE on the urban high school students: (1) Increasing PE teachers participation in class activities (role model and leading by example). (2) Maximizing class time allows student to engage in motor activities or practices.

National goals for school PE programs emphasize that 50% or more of class time should be spent with students being physically active (USDHHS, 2000). (3) Multiple teaching strategies, such as the Mosston and Ashworth’s spectrum of teaching styles, must be applied to meet the needs of diverse learners. (4) Offering a wide variety of sports and activities allows students to choose and take into consideration students’ cultural background and gender characteristics, e.g., Dances, Outdoor-adventure, Martial Arts, Gymnastics and those activities with a strong feminine sex.

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