Children's Enjoyment of Physical Education

Article excerpt

With the decline of student participation in physical education classes throughout much of the country, it is more important than ever to document the factors that are related to the lack of physical activity among America's youths. Children's attitude toward physical education may play a role in their participation in physical activities. Physical education class can be viewed either as an unnecessary endeavor or an enjoyable activity. Prochaska, Sallis, Slymen, and McKenzie (2003) studied children's enjoyment of physical education during a three-year period. They reviewed research that supported the premise that a positive interest and enjoyment in physical education reduces boredom, which in turn increases student adherence to physical activity. The researchers also found studies that suggested that positive attitudes toward physical education increased participation both in physical education class and in physical activity outside of school.

In order to examine the predictors of student enjoyment of physical education, Prochaska et al. observed 414 fourth, fifth, and sixth graders. Students completed physical fitness assessments during physical education class and filled out surveys in other classes every fall and spring for three years. The researchers measured the students' physical education enjoyment with the question, "How do you feel about PE classes?" Students could pick one of six different sad or happy faces, so that Prochaska et al. could measure the direction and intensity of physical education enjoyment. Students also had to pick between five pairs of descriptors that are related to physical education (nice/awful, healthy/unhealthy, happy/sad, important/unimportant, and fun/boring). In order to examine their cardiovascular endurance and evaluate their body composition, the students completed a mile-run and measured their body mass index (BMI), respectively. …