Source: Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, Vol. 44, No. 3, 257–273, 2016
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)
The present study aimed to examine the perceptions of the importance of content areas in physical education from the perspective of university students. The study also explored how those perceptions related to the reasons for course choice and motivation.
The participants were 188 Physical education degree students.
The participants included 73 female and 115 male.
The participants completed several questionnaires: a demographic information form; Academic motivation scale (AMS) (Vallerand et al., 1992), which is a measure of intrinsic, extrinsic and amotivation; Attractors and facilitators for physical education (AFPE) (Spittle et al., 2009), which is a measure of reasons for choosing the course; and Content of physical education questionnaire (CPE), which was designed to measure perceptions of importance of areas of study in physical education.
The findings reveal that the participants mentioned sport and physical activity, confident interpersonal service, and role model as reasons for choosing to study physical education.
The authors also found that the students were motivated towards study, with intrinsic motivation towards study higher than extrinsic motivation and a lack of motivation. The results also reveal that females were generally more motivated than males. The authors argue that physical education programmes need to ensure that there is not a significant shift towards more extrinsic motives as students progress through the course. The authors suggest that the reasons for the choice of course do relate to student outcomes while studying the course.
The authors also found that the students perceived the majority of content areas and individual units as important. These content areas included instruction of movement skills, health education, games, motor development, and physical education identity. Furthermore, it was found that perceived importance of content areas was positively related to the choice of course for confident interpersonal service, sport and physical activity, and role model reasons, as well as motivation to study.
The authors conclude that perceptions about what students believe is the knowledge they are learning and what they should be doing were related to why they chose the course in the first place and also their motivation within the course. The authors also argue that content areas related to instruction of movement skills, health education, games, motor development, and physical education identity were perceived as more important, whereas sports and socio-critical perspectives were perceived as less important. They suggest that physical education programmes should consider what content is delivered and how to effectively integrate practical and theoretical content.