Exploring Intermediate School Aged Children's Perceptions with Regards to Their Experiences of Their Physical Education Classes
The benefits of students participating in good quality physical education (PE) classes within their schools can impact other areas of their lives. The quantity of PE classes available to students, the level of choice, the range of activities and PE pedagogical practices need to be considered in order to maximise student participation and enjoyment levels in PE. The overall aim of this thesis was to determine what perceptions and experiences intermediate aged children have of their physical education classes. The objectives were concerned with the quantity of physical education classes that the students received, the level of choice the students had regarding the types of activities they participated in during PE, whether the students were aware of the possible association between physical fitness and their academic performance and whether the students felt they had an extensive variety of activities available to participate in during their physical education classes. This research utilised a survey based methodology, employing the use of a questionnaire that was completed by a total of 336 children, aged between 11 and 13 years from one Waikato Intermediate School. The findings suggested that the students were generally satisfied with the quality of their PE classes, but they recommended that some adjustments are made to their physical education curriculum and pedagogical practices. Some of these changes, included having PE more regularly, having more choice regarding the types of activities they take part in during PE, and having more diverse types of physical activities. A trend that emerged at the data analysis stage was the number of students, (both boys and girls), who were only interested in continuing on with participation in PE when they get older out of the fear of becoming fat. This issue and some of its consequences are discussed in more detail. Recommendations are made about PE and for further research. The nature and scope of this case study should be seen as a stepping stone for future research into this area of interest, particularly focussing on the experiences and perceptions of the students themselves.