The Effects of Integrated Classroom-Based Physical Activity on On-Task Behaviour for Indigenous Elementary School Students
Kerpan, Serene 1985-
The ability for school-aged children to stay on-task is crucial for success in school. One strategy to help children adhere to the expected behaviour of staying on-task is to increase opportunities for them to be physically active during class time. Physical activity that incorporates curricular content done in the classroom, known as integrated classroom-based physical activity, has been shown to improve on-task behaviour, increase physical activity, and teach curricular content simultaneously. Available research on integrated classroom-based physical activity and on-task behaviour is constantly expanding; however, there have been no studies yet with Indigenous children. The numerous benefits of integrated classroom-based physical activity may begin to address the complex problem of low academic attainment within Canada’s fastest growing population, Indigenous Peoples. The first purpose of this research was to examine the effects of integrated classroom-based physical activity on the on-task behaviour of Indigenous children in kindergarten, grade one, grade four, and grade five. The second purpose of this research was to gather the perspectives of the teachers and students who took part in the integrated classroom-based physical activity interventions. Study 1 utilized participatory action research methodology, which sought to engage teachers and school leaders in its design. On-task behaviour was assessed through direct observation with grade four and five participants at Whitecap Elementary School on Whitecap Dakota First Nation. Results indicated that the integrated classroom-based physical activity intervention may have been effective in improving the on-task behaviour of the participants. However, there was a regression to the mean issue that limited the findings. Study 2 built on the findings of study 1 and applied the same study design and methods with kindergarten and grade one participants at Whitecap Elementary School. The relationship between integrated classroom-based physical activity and on-task behaviour has not been investigated with this age group. Results indicated that the integrated classroom-based physical activity intervention was effective in improving the on-task behaviour of the participants. Study 3 gathered the perspectives of both teachers from study 1 and study 2 along with the perspectives of the grade four and five students who took part in study 1 through the use of qualitative methods. This study included teacher interviews and one student focus group. Four themes emerged from the interviews with the teachers and students. These themes reveal the importance of physical activity on academic performance, classroom management issues, the need to tailor classroom activity, and the students’ desire for competition and enjoyment of integrated classroom-based physical activity. Results from this mixed-methods research provide evidence that on-task behaviour is improved with integrated classroom-based physical activity for Indigenous students. Furthermore, qualitative findings present the barriers and facilitators to providing integrated classroom-based physical activity for elementary Indigenous students.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
CommitteeRodgers, Carol; Spink, Kevin; Abonyi, Sylvia; Clifford, Jim
Copyright DateOctober 2016
Physical activity, learning, classroom physical activity, Indigenous, elementary