Classroom teachers and daily student physical activity requirements: A study of capacity building through Traditional Indigenous Games (TIG)

Year: 2015

Author: Louth, Sharon, Jamieson-Proctor, Romina

Type of paper: Refereed paper

This study investigated the facilitation of daily physical activity for primary school students by regular classroom teachers. The existing practices of teachers and their perceptions of barriers to facilitating daily physical activity with their students were explored. Initial investigations revealed the need to build the capacity of classroom teachers so that they could provide effective, fun and inclusive experiences for their students. When reviewing the fun and inclusive nature of Traditional Indigenous Games (TIG) it was postulated that TIG may assist teachers to overcome their perceived barriers and thereby contribute positively to the health and well-being of students. The study employed a quasi-experimental mixed methods research design. A teacher intervention program was created which incorporated TIG and provided an effective avenue to examine the impact of playing TIG on teachers’ capacity to facilitate daily physical activity. Eleven teachers from five primary schools participated in the intervention program. Teacher surveys used a 5-Point Likert scale which measured classroom climate and relationships, as well as teachers’ perceptions and attitudes toward student enjoyment and participation in TIG. Descriptive statistics were used to compare pre and post-test data from the teacher surveys to identify any specific changes over time within each variable. Pre and post interviews were conducted with teachers and the nVivo software package was used to analyse the qualitative data and allowed the presentation of both the frequency supporting the strength of the theme (TAG clouds) and the illustrative evidence (quotes) that lay behind it. The study found that TIG assisted teachers to facilitate regular daily physical activity with their students. Overall, teachers felt the TIG intervention program had been a worthwhile investment of their time, and all were keen to continue with TIG after the twelve-month study concluded. All teachers developed sustainable ways to continue with TIG, and indeed have become advocates of TIG within their wider school community. The findings from this study suggest the need to provide professional development for teachers in physical activity through TIG and to engage teachers in a variety of integrated, cooperative, inclusive and culturally sensitive programs in order to achieve successful and sustainable learning outcomes for students.