What does the requirement for daily physical activity in Danish schools mean for the least physically active pupils? A multiple case study

Bidragets oversatte titel: Hvad betyder det for de mindst fysisk aktive elever, når daglig bevægelse bliver lov i folkeskolen?: A multiple case-study at primary schools in Denmark

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A recent Danish school reform requires all pupils to have 45 minutes of teacher-led physical activity every day (Lov 406, 2014). This is because of an increasing disparity between the least and most physically active pupils in recent decades (Pedersen, B. et al., 2016). This new requirement aims to enhance pupils’ health and learning and encourage the least physically active (Lov 406, Paragraph 15, Point 1, 2014). Preliminary studies show that 65% of Danish schools meet this requirement (Oxford Research, 2018), but it remains unclear whether the least physically active pupils are becoming more active. Studies have shown that the least physically active children tend to choose more sedentary activities because of low self-esteem (Palowski et al., 2016), and are more likely to be in a vulnerable position (Andersen & Helweg-Larsen, 2008). Greater support from teachers is required to help this group become more active physically (Andersen, H.B. et al., 2018), but studies show that teachers often provide most support to already physically active children (Sarraxin et al., 2006). The aim and research question of this study is: How is physical activity in school understood and experienced by the least physically active pupils and how do these pupils experience the role of teachers in relation to physical activity in school? 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 in terms of social profile, size and location. The selection of the least physically active pupils was based on objective measurements in autumn 2017. The research is based on: - Qualitative interviews combined with drawings: 32 Year 3 pupils - Participant observations of six classes in Year 3 and 4: 2-3 weeks at each school in spring and autumn 2018. The empirical framework will be analysed using systematic combining (Dubois & Gadde, 2002), based on the sociologist Norbert Elias’ theory of the established and the outsiders (Elias & Scotson, 1994) and micro-sociologist Erving Goffman’s theory of dramaturgy (2014). Expected conclusions/findings The research is ongoing and the presentation will only show the initial analysis: The least physically active pupils often take little part in physical activity and remain in the periphery. However, in the interviews, most pupils report being very physically active. There is thus a discrepancy between the observations and the pupils’ own perceptions of their participation in physical activity. The pupils also find that teacher-led physical activity takes up less of the school day as they become older, and that teachers only support physical activity to a limited extent. 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 far schools can support all pupils in a culture of physical activity based on a discourse of learning and health.
Bidragets oversatte titelHvad betyder det for de mindst fysisk aktive elever, når daglig bevægelse bliver lov i folkeskolen?: A multiple case-study at primary schools in Denmark
Publikationsdato5 mar. 2019
Antal sider2
StatusUdgivet - 5 mar. 2019
BegivenhedNERA 2019: Education in a globalized world - Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sverige
Varighed: 6 mar. 20198 mar. 2019


KonferenceNERA 2019
LokationUppsala University


  • Børn og unge
  • fysisk aktiv
  • folkeskolen


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