Exploring female students' perceptions of a tailored physical education program




Pfaeffli, Leila

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A substantial number of adolescent girls are insufficiently active to achieve the health benefits and well-being associated with physical activity (PA). Physical education (PE) classes can provide part of the solution, yet most girls opt out of PE when it is no longer mandatory. Improvements in PE course content and learning environments can motivate adolescent girls to participate. Self-determination theory (SDT) provides a framework to examine the motivational processes of girls in PE. This qualitative case study explored female students’ motivation towards physical activity in one elective PE 10-12 course tailored to meet their interests and needs. A secondary objective was to determine if the pre-requisites and outcomes of their motivation were consistent with the constructs of SDT. Emerging themes reflected the elements of SDT. The students expressed that their needs were supported by the teacher through the PE course content and learning environment. Many stated that they felt motivated because they now enjoyed PE. Positive outcomes included PA participation, positive affect towards PE and PA, meaningful learning, and a sense of well-being. This study provides physical educators with insight to improve physical activity motivation and participation of female students in elective PE.



adolescent girls, self-determination theory, motivation, qualitative