Effects on empathy and assertiveness of a sport education season in fourth grade spanish primary school students
In this study we have analysed the impact of a SE season on the empathy and the assertiveness of an intact 4 year Primary School Students group from Spain. The participants were 21 students (ten boys and 11 girls) aged 9-10 years from a school in Castilla-La Mancha, central Spain. The season lasted 18 lessons and was implemented in the second academic quarter. Empathy was assessed by the Empathy Questionnaire (Garaigordobil Landazabal, 2008; Mehrabian & Epstein, 1972). Assertiveness was assessed by the Children assertive Behaviour Scale (Michelson, Sugai, Wood, & Kazdin, 1983; Michelson & Wood, 1982; Monjas Casares, García Larrauri, Elices Simón, Francia Conde, & de Benito Pascual, 2004). This questionnaire reports on assertive behaviour (a tendency to express oneself directly, but not coercively, in social situations), passive behaviour (a tendency to respond submissively in relationships), and aggressive behaviour (a tendency to express oneself in a coercive manner). Empathy decreases from pretest to posttest, although differences are not significant. Assertive and aggressive behaviours decreased, although differences are not significant. However, passive behaviours decreased, and differences were significant. SE creates a high quality context were students can be socially educated. More research is needed.
The new national Physical Education (PE) curriculum (MEC, 2006) establishes that PE should be a mean to develop social skills in students. Traditional methods of teaching PE have not considered this issue. However, in the last decades some instruction models have been developed in order to teaching social values. One of them is Sport Education (SE), proposed by (Siedentop, van der Mars, & Hastie, 2004). SE focuses on how students learn to play sport, manage their sport experiences, individual responsibility and effective group membership skills (Siedentop et al., 2004). Primary goals of sport education are collaborating to develop competent, literate sports and enthusiastic sports people (Siedentop, 1994). Characteristics of authentic sport that should be introduced at school Physical Education (PE) are the using of seasons, team affiliation, formal competition, record keeping, a culminating event at the end of the season and a festivity atmosphere all around the teaching.
Some major findings of research on SE in relation to social skills are (Kinchin, 2006): students appreciate the opportunity to get to know new classmates (MacPhail & Kinchin, 2004); students have extended available time to cultivate friendships, develop loyalty, work through difficulties and differences (MacPhail, Kirk, & Kinchin, 2004); some more able students help other less able students (MacPhail et al., 2004); inclusion is improved (Hastie, 1998; McCaughtry, Sofo, Rovegno, & Curtner-Smith, 2004); winning is not the most important thing (McCaughtry et al., 2004). All these findings are linked to empathy and assertiveness. There is very few quantitative research (Kinchin, 2006). In this study we have analysed the impact of a SE season on the empathy and the assertiveness of an intact 4 year Primary School Students group from Spain.
The participants of this study were 21 students (ten boys and 11 girls) aged 9-10 years from a school in Castilla-La Mancha, central Spain. The season lasted 18 lessons and was implemented in the second academic quarter. The teacher experience was 12 years of PE and three year of SE. The lesson content was team handball. Treatment validity was confirmed by the systematic observation of lessons, seeing evidence of the following during the course of instruction (Hastie & Sinelnikov, 2006): (i) a decrease in the teachers organization and direct instruction as the season progress; (ii) an increase in the percentage and frequency of observating behaviours; (iii) a decrease in involvement in skill instruction from the teachers and increasing participation in game play and officiating commitments by the students.
Variables analysed were empathy (ability to imagine oneself in another’s place and understand the other’s feelings, desires, ideas, and actions) and assertiveness (standing up for personal rights and expressing thoughts, feelings and beliefs in direct, honest, and appropriate ways which do not violate another person’s rights). Empathy was assessed by the Empathy Questionnaire (Garaigordobil Landazabal, 2008; Mehrabian & Epstein, 1972). Assertiveness was assessed by the Children assertive Behaviour Scale (Michelson et al., 1983; Michelson & Wood, 1982; Monjas Casares et al., 2004). This questionnaire reports on assertive behaviour (a tendency to express oneself directly, but not coercively, in social situations), passive behaviour (a tendency to respond submissively in relationships), and aggressive behaviour (a tendency to express oneself in a coercive manner).
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION Empathy decreases from pretest to posttest, although differences are not significant. This is consistent with Kichin, Wardle, Roderick, & Sprosen (2004) when they found that some boys feeling “left out”. It is also consistent with (Curnow & Macdonald, 1995), as they found some boys have ridiculed girls’ efforts. No significant differences were found according to role, team or gender. Assertive and aggressive behaviours decreased, although differences are not significant. However, pasive behaviours decreased, and differences were significant (F(1,20)=6,08, pThis is consistent with SE enables students to take more responsibility for the learning within teams, i.e., when executing their team leadership roles (Carlson & Hastie, 1997; Hastie, 1997; Hastie & Sinelnikov, 2006; MacPhail et al., 2004; McCaughtry et al., 2004). No significant differences were found according to role, team and gender in passive behaviours and assertiveness. Significant differences were found according to role in aggressiveness (F(1,15)=3,85, P
SE creates a high quality context were students can be socially educated. SE group dynamics can diminish passive behaviours, and aggressiveness in some roles, but could increase the levels of aggressiveness in other roles, so teacher should pay special attention to all roles, so as all students assimilate difficult situations properly. However, if teachers wish to develop empathy and assertiveness in students, they will have to hybrid SE with other teaching strategies in order to be successful. An example of this is the hybrid model proposed by Hastie and Buchanan (2000), designed for students to achieve sport skill competence, social responsibility and personal empowerment. Another possibility is using psychological treatments as those described by Garaigordobil (2008). The sample of this is study is very limited, as it was a pilot study. More research is needed.
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