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An interventional study with the Maldives generalist teachers in primary school physical education: An application of self-determination theory

Abdulla, A., Whipp, P.R.ORCID: 0000-0002-5895-2667, McSporran, G.ORCID: 0000-0001-7494-6411 and Teo, T.ORCID: 0000-0002-7552-8497 (2022) An interventional study with the Maldives generalist teachers in primary school physical education: An application of self-determination theory. PLoS ONE, 17 (5). e0268098.

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In Maldives’ primary schools, physical education (PE) is mainly taught by generalist classroom teachers who often lack knowledge and confidence to teach PE. Also, PE programs in primary schools are affected by a perceived lack of infrastructure, resources and equipment. Children in primary schools are allocated one 35 minute period of PE per week. Researchers have previously investigated interventions implemented by specialist PE teachers to enhance the motivation of secondary school students in PE classes. However, limited research has been conducted with generalist teachers’ implementing PE intervention with primary school children. In this study we applied self-determination theory to investigate the effects of a professional learning program and an associated resource support package, that was then delivered by the Maldives generalist teachers’ delivering PE. The participants were 30 primary school teachers (control group, n = 15; intervention group, n = 15), and their 725 primary school students aged 9–12 years (mean age of 10.5 years). The teachers in the group undertook eight hours of professional learning that focused on strategies and behaviours to support student satisfaction for the three main elements of self-determination theory: autonomy, competence, and relatedness. A repeated measure ANCOVA was carried out for each of the dependent variables. Overall results when compared to pre-intervention measures, the students of teachers in the intervention group significantly increased their post-intervention perceptions for autonomy, competence, and relatedness; and, increased their psychological need satisfaction. Moreover, intervention-students in the post-intervention phase reported reduced need frustration for autonomy, competence, and relatedness; and, experienced higher levels of self-efficacy, enjoyment and engagement. We contend that these results accentuate the usefulness of professional learning programs for generalist teachers delivering PE to promote students’ psychological need satisfaction, whilst reducing thwarting behaviours to enhance students’ self-determined motivation toward PE classes. The intervention program significantly enhanced the students’ perceived need support, and autonomous motivation, it also reduced teachers’ need frustrating behaviours within PE classes. Facilitating teachers to provide more moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and psychological need support could reduce the rate of non-communicable diseases that are currently prevalent in the Maldives.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): College of Science, Health, Engineering and Education
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Copyright: © 2022 Abdulla et al.
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