Research Paper: Physical Activity

Pages: 11 (3505 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 3  ·  Topic: Teaching  ·  Buy This Paper

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[. . .] As the author states: "The most effective strategies to increase children's levels of physical activity and improve movement skills in physical education were direct instruction teaching methods and providing teachers with sufficient and ongoing professional development in using these physical education (PE) instruction methods" (Dudley, 2011, pp. 353).

The articles reviewed thus far seem to have things in common. The first one focused on why girls may not want to participate in physical activities. The second sought to determine what may improve participation. The third remarks on direct instruction. All three although different share the common thread of practice. Physical activity needs to be practiced repetitively in order to yield positive results.

Many girls who do not like physical education and do not participate in physical activities do so because they feel like they don't understand how to properly do it, feel incompetent when doing it, and see it as a boring or arduous activity. The article by Dudley adds another layer to how one can improve the overall experience for someone to engage in physical activity. Instruction, participation, practice, and competence are all needed to provide the person engaging in physical activity, to desire to participate more. The article further states that interventions focused on movement skills, much like the second article with motor skills, is needed in order to see any increase in participation. "It is argued that adequately powered interventions that target movement skills in secondary schools and evaluate school sport curriculum are urgently needed" (Dudley, 2011, pp. 353).

The same rule applies to special needs girls who are the specific target for improvement. Special needs kids and teens in general are not as active as their average counterparts. They need extra instruction and extra practice in order to gain the same competence and satisfaction from a physical activity. Add this to girls who are already showing decreased participation as they age, the solution thus far appears to be that girls, especially girls with special needs, need to practice physical activity a lot more to develop enjoyment in it and thus increase participation.

An example would be of a game of tag where the objective is to yell out the person's name and then have others catch the other person who is guarded by their teammates (Hastie, 2003, p. 72). This helps promote teamwork as well as helps anyone who may have a disability participate more. The added instruction may come from the students wishing to aid in assisting their teammates. The practice may be applied at minimum four times per week with break in between games in order to supply enough rest.

Communication is important when engaging in physical activity, not just in the sense of instruction, but also in the sense of participation. From the articles reviewed in the article, some discussed the lack of communication girls have during physical education classes. Girls sometimes feel obligated to keep their opinions or questions to themselves for fear of being deemed incompetent. Letting girls become aware that asking questions is a good thing might help girls become more involved and thus increase their interest.

The fourth article by Cairney (2012), discusses the possible reasons why girls decrease their participation in physical education. The author states in the introduction the benefits of physical activity thus providing a point to share with girls who desire not to participate or be physically active. "Regular engagement in physical activity is associated with a variety of psychological, social, and physical benefits for children and youth" (Cairney, 2012, pp. 1). The point adds significance to participation in physical education because it may help reverse the often negative body image and self-image girls experience throughout their adolescence. Being physically active, accomplishing certain fitness goals, proving to others and one's self one's strength determination, and focus, greatly boosts self-esteem and self-confidence. Not only that, it also afford girls who are physically active a chance at a scholarship or even certain events that they otherwise wouldn't not qualify for.

Caireny discusses the importance of school-based PE programs and regards school-based PE programs as a commonly perceived effective means of positively affecting health and physical activity behaviors during childhood and later years. "PE classes can provide children with activity that directly fosters motor skill development and fitness, and can also stimulate positive perceptions of physical activity, thereby influencing motivation to engage in physical activity" (Cairney, 2012, pp. 1). Although PE is regarded as a very important aspect of school and education, it is often disregarded by students. This perhaps may be due to competency in physical education.

"Numerous theories of motivated behavior that have been applied to understanding and predicting physical activity participation highlight positive affect as a proximal motivator of physical activity" (Cairney, 2012, pp. 2). The correlation between competencies, satisfaction, and motivation becomes clear here in the article because it shows motivation is linked through positive experience. If girls perceive an activity to be unenjoyable, they will not pursue it. However if they attribute positive emotions and experiences to an activity, they will continue to perform it and eventually develop a high enough competency.

The article states the decline in participation by girls in physical education is directly linked to a perceived lack of enjoyment in comparison to boys and competence. If girls are more competent in physical activities they will desire to participate more. "These findings offer evidence that gender differences in PE enjoyment are effectively non-existent among children with high levels of perceived competence, and suggest greater efforts should be made to understand why some children have lower perceptions of athletic competence" (Cairney, 2012, pp. 5-6). So the problem is not just in actual athletic competence, but also perceived athletic competence. Girls seem to think they are not competent at physical activity even if they haven't tried to do those activities long enough to determine competence. The perception in itself becomes a deterring factor.

A solution therefore should include improving the perception of girls in regards to their athletic competence. If girls see they are more competent by performing physical activities, perhaps they will have more confidence in their overall abilities. Most research in this subject pertains to quantifying a declined participation. This article however explains something that cannot be quantified, but rather inferred. It also lends to analysis of gender roles assigned to boys and girls from childhood into adulthood.

Most girls are not encouraged to be physically active or fit. They're encouraged to maintain a healthy weight, look pretty and presentable, and behave accordingly. Boys however have their parents, society, and their peers emphasize the need to be strong and fit in order to be successful and accepted in society. These perceived roles may have an impact in athletic competence perception.

"Improving children's views of their physical abilities may be an important goal, particularly among girls with low perceived competence" (Cairney, 2012, pp. 6). If girls become emboldened to participate in physical activities, if people generate an image of strength and prowess for girls, not just boys, perhaps the athletic competence perception will improve. It has worked with boys for generations. Why can it not work for girls? Girls must improve their overall self-image to that of a strong, motivated, and fit person in order to develop the enjoyment needed to continue physical activities and therefore improve their competence and confidence.

The fifth article by Beltran-Carrillo et al. (2012), examines negative experiences in physical education and sport described during qualitative discussions of a group of sedentary teenage Spanish boys and girls. The purpose of this analysis is dual as the authors' state:

First and most important, it seeks to give voice to these young people reporting negative experiences and connect them to contexts of physical activity and sport in which they occurred in order to show how, ironically, inactivity is an unintended consequence. Second, the authors attempt to connect inactivity through negative experiences by drawing on conceptual notions of a gendered performativity culture, and symbolic violence (Beltran-Carrillo, 2012, pp. 3-27).

Conceptual notions of a how girls and boys perform are prevalent throughout the world. Males are seen as the stronger sex. Males are also seen as the smarter sex. These conceptual notions are false but have the ability to permeate society. Women who would otherwise feel confident in their abilities, compared to men, may feel inadequate. It is seen quite often in male dominated areas such as football, even in workplaces like construction. Men are perceived as more competent whereas women are perceived as the "helpers" or the ones that cheer for the "boys."

All of the previous articles dealt with how, if, and why girls do not participate in physical education as much as they should. This article focuses on what may fuel the perceived incompetence or negative self-image. Women sadly, are objectified and seen as sexual objects by men and even amongst other women. Fitting into a size zero, having large breasts, a tiny waist, all of that makes a woman,… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Physical Activity.  (2014, March 26).  Retrieved August 23, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/physical-activity/7943277

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https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/physical-activity/7943277.