The Impact of Motor-Development Approaches to Teaching Physical Education upon the Self-Regulation of Primary year 1 and year 2 Pupils within the Scottish Education System
Throughout Scotland, self-regulation has been acknowledged as a fundamental function, critical to school transition, social interaction, and success within education (Education Scotland, 2020b).
Yet despite this, many children begin school lacking self-regulation skills, impacting upon their development and engagement in classroom tasks (Cadima et al., 2016). Therefore, in an attempt to support the self-regulatory capacities of children across Scottish schools, Education Scotland (2020a) has launched Better Movers and Thinkers (BMT)- a motor-development approach to teaching physical education (PE) which aims to develop the cognitive domain and foster self-regulation skills among children.
However, despite such well-intended endorsements, there remains a lack of evidence surrounding the true effectiveness of motor-development approaches to PE upon self-regulation. Therefore, in acknowledgement of this void, this study aimed to explore the impact of motor-development approaches to teaching PE amongst primary 1 and 2 school pupils within the Scottish education system.
The following study implemented BMT as a motor-development intervention across an 8-week period, amongst 30 pupils within primary 1-2 in a school in South Ayrshire. Framed through a mixed-methods design, the study involved pre and post-intervention testing of three quantitative outcome measures- cognitive-regulation, affective-regulation, and motor-regulation- assessed through the Response to Challenge Scale (RCS) ( Lakes, and Hoyt, 2004 ). In order to examine the perceptions of teachers and pupils upon the implementation of BMT, qualitative data was gathered via three, pupil focus group interviews and through the reflective journals of four classroom teachers- assuming the role of reflective observers throughout the study.
Quantitative data revealed an effect between pre and post-test conditions in the domains of cognitive-regulation (p=0.000) and affective-regulation (p=0.042) however, displayed no significance within the domain of motor-regulation (p=0.067). Analysis of qualitative data through both reflective journals and pupil focus groups revealed that as well as enjoying BMT as an intervention, pupils experienced further benefits such as improved wellbeing, confidence, and concentration within class.
Moving forward, the potential that BMT holds to develop both cognitive and affective-regulation amongst children is encouraging, and must be further pursued in order to promote motor-development approaches to PE throughout the mainstream curriculum.
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