Murdoch University Research Repository

Welcome to the Murdoch University Research Repository

The Murdoch University Research Repository is an open access digital collection of research
created by Murdoch University staff, researchers and postgraduate students.

Learn more

Primary generalist teachers’ physical education teaching practice and student experiences in the Maldives

Abdulla, Azeema (2022) Primary generalist teachers’ physical education teaching practice and student experiences in the Maldives. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

PDF - Whole Thesis
Embargoed until June 2023.


The aim of this thesis was to contribute to the understanding of Maldives’ primary school physical education (PE) delivered by generalist teachers and the student experiences. In pursuing this aim, I used mixed-methods in a series of studies. These included investigations of generalist teacher’s perceived confidence and motivation to teach PE, student physical activity (PA) levels, teacher declared barriers to delivering PE, alongside student’s PE-focussed perceived level of teacher support, need satisfaction, need frustration, motivation and adaptive outcomes. In addition, examined was the effectiveness of an 8-week intervention programme targeting increased PA and motivational climate in PE classes.

In Chapter 1, I provide the context of this study; including geographic, historical, cultural and education systems in the Maldives. In Chapter 2, my rationale for undertaking this study with the summary of the theoretical paradigm and methodology of the studies are described. In Chapter 3, I focus on pertinent work from both general and PE domains that have utilised relevant theoretical frameworks such as self-efficacy theory for confidence and motivation of teachers, promoting in-class physical activity grounded in the HOPE (Health Optimising Physical Education) and SHARP principles model (Stretching whilst moving, High repetition of motor skills, Accessibility through differentiation, Reducing sitting and standing, and Promoting in-class physical activity). Finally, I review literature related to enhancing motivational climate through Self-Determination Theory (SDT). In Chapter 4, I explain the paradigmatic underpinnings of the methodology and methods of the studies. In Chapter 5, I focus on exploring generalist teacher’s confidence and motivation to deliver PE. In Chapter 6, I direct my attention to measuring student PA levels and teacher behaviour in PE classes, and explore the challenges and barriers teachers’ encounter when delivering PE. In Chapter 7, I focus on empirically examining the indicators of student experiences in their generalist-delivered PE classes. These include, student perceived support, need satisfaction, need frustration, motivation and adaptive outcomes. In Chapters 8 and 9, I focus on the development, implementation, and evaluation of an 8-week intervention programme. Specifically, the aim of Chapter 8 was to evaluate the impact of the intervention programme on enhancing student PA levels. The goal of Chapter 9 was to investigate the effectiveness of the intervention programme on improving student experiences in PE classes, as examined in Chapter 6. Finally, in Chapter 10, I review the information presented in Chapters 1 to 9, consider the limitations and implications of this work, and present suggestions for future research.

This thesis analyses data collected across five separate studies involving participants drawn from Maldives’ primary school PE classes. It contributes a novel and comprehensive understanding of the status of PE delivery by generalist teachers and student experiences in Maldives’ primary schools. Through the use of surveys, class observations and semi-structured interviews, the findings from the baseline studies (Chapters 5 to 7) are as follows. Chapter 5 indicated generalist teachers in the Maldivian context believed their knowledge of PE was deficient, which impacted their confidence and motivation to implement PE lessons. Chapter 6 results confirmed that the students averaged 31.05% (7.95 minutes) of PE time in moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA). According to the teachers, PE programme implementation was impacted by a lack of teacher knowledge and confidence, teacher attire, and perceived lack of infrastructure, resources and equipment. In spite of limited PE time and resources, the results from Chapter 7 showed that children in the Maldivian school context were highly motivated and enjoyed PE lessons whilst experiencing need supportive teaching styles. Lastly, this work reports the outcomes of an 8-week intervention programme (Chapters 8 and 9) designed with the intention of increasing children’s MVPA level and motivational climate. Chapter 8 findings established MVPA in the intervention schools increased significantly from the baseline measures, whereas in the control schools, MVPA remained constant. The results presented in Chapter 9 confirmed that the intervention programme significantly enhanced the students’ perceived need support, and autonomous motivation. It also reduced teachers’ need frustrating behaviours within PE classes. Therefore, it is concluded that this detailed exploration of generalist teachers’ PE delivery and student experiences in PE, and the impact of the intervention programme have significant conceptual and practical implications for improving the quality of PE in Maldives’ primary schools.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Education
Supervisor(s): Whipp, Peter
Item Control Page Item Control Page