Analyzing the Learning of the Taking Personal and Social Responsibility Model within a New Physical Education Undergraduate Degree Program in El Salvador

Article excerpt

Abstract

El Salvador has an unfortunate history that includes a military regime and a civil war that together created a legacy of violence in which the country still struggles nowadays. Salud Escolar Integral (SEI) was created in 2005 by universities, federal governments, a corporate sponsor, and sport associations as a program to combat youth violence with the promotion of humanistic principles in physical education (PE) classes. In 2007, SEI supported the Universidad del Salvador (UdS) to develop the physical education teacher education (PETE) curriculum for the novice degree that was created. The purpose of this research was to analyze whether the PETE program offered by UdS provided the education, training, and experience to develop high self-perception levels of competence and confidence related to attitude, skills, and knowledge to teach PE with humanistic principles. The taking personal and social responsibility (TPSR) model was used as the theoretical framework to analyze the development of humanistic principles. The research was conducted with a case study methodology including three sources of data: questionnaires, reflection templates, and interviews. The data were collected longitudinally across a 3-year process (2007 2009). Methods of triangulation were used in the research, and it was concluded that UdS students reported high levels of confidence and competence to teach PE with humanistic principles. Nevertheless, the research also acknowledges that UdS needs to provide better support in teaching principles such as students' empowerment and transfer learning to guarantee humanistic principles are used when PE is taught.

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Located between Honduras and Guatemala, El Salvador is the smallest continental country of Central America. In spite of its small territory, El Salvador is highly populated with almost 7 million inhabitants. The violent civil war from 1980 to 1992, led to the death of over 70,000 people. This recent history has created a culture of violence and conflict that still persists today ("El Salvador," 2011). Children and youths are highly affected by this legacy of violence. It has been reported that 20% of youths have been threatened with a weapon and 32% have engaged in physical fighting (Springer, Selwyn, & Kelder, 2006). According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (2011), El Salvador has the second highest rate of violence in the world. This unfortunate reality causes national issues such as high health care costs, crime, and problems with youth development (Springer et al., 2006).

An educational reform was one solution the Salvadoran government identified for changing the culture of violence. In 2005, the Ministry of Education launched a 16-year national plan to modernize the educational system. The national educational plan relates to the humanistic values presented in the Salvadoran constitution, recognizing the country was built based on values of fairness, guarantee of human rights, combat of violence, and achievement of spiritual, moral, and social development (Ministerio de Educacion, 2011). Physical education (PE) is considered an important part of this plan to build up respect, personal development, and peace. According to Programas de Estudio (2011), in the Salvadoran national curriculum, the PE discipline has the goal of developing "values of respect, giving attention to diversity, fair play, personal effort, determination and respect for the rules and social norms in order to establish a place of a peaceful culture" (p. 9).

Hellison (1973) was the first author to present a PE model that included humanistic values among its objectives. Since then, other PE models (such as Sport for Peace by Ennis et al., 1999) have presented the potentiality of using PE toward humanistic development. In 2005, the United Nations declared the International Year of Sport and Physical Education (IYSPE), supporting the use of PE and sport programs to develop humanistic values. …