Teachers’ role in promoting physical activity for the least active pupils

Bidragets oversatte titel: Lærernes rolle for at fremme fysisk aktivitet for de mindst fysisk aktive elever i skolen

Publikation: Konferencebidrag uden forlag/tidsskriftAbstraktForskningpeer review


Topic: A Danish school reform requires all pupils to have 45 minutes of daily physical activity (PA). The aim is to enhance pupils’ health and learning and encourage the least active, because of an increasing disparity between the least and most active pupils. Studies show that 65% of Danish schools meet this requirement (Oxford Research, 2018), but it remains unclear whether the least active pupils are becoming more active. The specific organisation of daily movement for pupils is mainly the responsibility of teachers, as few schools have a strategic movement policy. Active participation and involvement by the teachers and social educators influence children’s PA in school (Nabe-Nielsen et al., 2005); however, teachers’ support for PA is greater for pupils who are already motivated than for those who are less motivated (Lander et al., 2017). Aim and research question: What possibilities and constraints are there for teachers and social educators to promote daily physical activity for the least physically active pupils? My overall methodological design is a multiple case study (Flyvbjerg, 2006) involving three schools in Aalborg, Denmark, which were selected based on the criterion of maximum variation. This paper is based on semi-structured qualitative interviews with 30 Year 3 pupils and 15 teachers in 2018 and participant observation of six classes in Years 3 during 4 weeks at each school in 2018. The empirical framework will be analysed using systematic combining (Dubois & Gadde, 2002), based on the sociologist Norbert Elias’ conceptualisation of figurations and social habitus (2000). Expected results and findings: The research is still ongoing, and the analysis is therefore preliminary. The pupils find that the teachers only support PA to a limited extent during the school day and in Physical Education classes; conversely, participation by the adults motivates them to move more. PA at school is usually brain breaks in the form of a run or “let’s get out in the fresh air” or “free play”; it rarely supports the teaching of other subjects. If the teachers have a social habitus with a physical active profile, they are more motivated for in-class activities, but they primarily motivate the pupils who are already physical active, the least active pupils often become somehow “invisible” to the professionals. If the professionals are more aware of their own habitus and behaviour it may positively influence the PA of the least active pupil’s. This topic is relevant to Nordic educational research because the increased polarization in physical activity is not only a challenge in Denmark. Further, it is important to discuss how teachers can enhance PA in a schoolsetting for the least active children.
Bidragets oversatte titelLærernes rolle for at fremme fysisk aktivitet for de mindst fysisk aktive elever i skolen
Publikationsdato6 mar. 2020
Antal sider1
StatusUdgivet - 6 mar. 2020
BegivenhedNERA 2020: Rethinking the futures of education in the Nordic countries - Turku University, Turku, Finland
Varighed: 4 mar. 20206 mar. 2020


KonferenceNERA 2020
LokationTurku University


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