Health and Physical education (HPE) has during the last decades been under debate. Reports claim that students learn sport but not health. Changes in society show new scenarios around health and a growing uneven distribution of access to physical activity. This leads to questions about students’ learning experiences from school HPE.
The aim of the study has been, with the help of a nine year follow-up study, to describe and analyze students’ attitudes to participation and learning in HPE over the school years.
Method The study was based on a population from randomly selected schools in Sweden, with students born 1991, 1988 and 1985. The year of the baseline study was 2001. Here the focus is on the students born 1991, and the follow up made six and nine years after the base line study. The method used was questionnaires with both closed and open answers. In 2010, 75% of the original population (1290) answered a revised, almost identical questionnaire. Data has been analyzed with descriptive statistics and cross tabulations. Chi-square was used for examining group differences.
Results The results show a significant difference in participation pattern between male and female students, where 18% of the female students in relation to 8% of the male students never or very seldom participated in HPE in their older ages. From 15 to 18 years of age, one third of those who experience that they learned “nothing” remained in this category. Leaving school, 21% of the students at the age of 18 thought that they knew well how to train and be physically active by their own. 2 out of 10 regarded themselves as not having this knowledge. Over one third of the students were uncertain of relationships between health, life style and environment. The open answers to questions about general attitude towards PEH in upper secondary school resulted in two main categories: the value of having possibilities to engage in physical activity during the school week, and the need to restructure how HPE is organized and taught. The results point to a questioning and restructuring of existing programs in PEH.
Global Forum for Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy. University of Poetchefstroem, Sydafrika, 13-17/5 2014