Assistant Teacher, Mahesh Banga Vidyalaya, Mahesh, Hooghly, West Bengal, India
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The aim of this study was to investigate attitudes toward physical education and sports of secondary school students. The participants were 98 female and 175male students from secondary schools education aged14 to 17. A total of 273 students voluntarily participated in this study. The Attitudes towards Physical Education Scale (ATPES) was applied. ANOVA was used to determine differences in attitude toward PE and between girls and boys. In order to compare according to geographical location wise (urban and rural) Attitude scores of school going adolescents ANOVA was again conducted. The study revealed that participants in the study have positive attitudes toward physical education and, when compared, there is no significant difference between the attitudes of school going boys and girls. So gender played no such role in formation of attitudes toward physical education in this regard. So also in the present study irrespective of male and female of different geographic location (rural and urban) school going adolescents exhibited a positive attitude towards physical education.
|physical education, attitude, gender, geographical location.|
|Attitudes play an important role in order for people to be successful in their work. However, people are not born with those attitudes; they obtain them afterwards . In other words, attitudes are developed through learning and they change and develop in time. Considering the fact that students at the secondary stage of education are also at the stage of adolescence, it is recognized that during that period students’ attitudes to physical education lesson start to form. Accordingly, the positive-negative attitudes of students to the physical education lesson in this period shall be an important determinant of their participation in physical activities outside of school, in the current process, and in the future [3,4].Actually adolescence is a time when personal limits are explored and lifetime attitudes and patterns of living begin to be established. For this reason there is current concern about the low levels of fitness among adolescents and their attitudes toward physical education and activity, as these factors are considered to be crucial in the development of a healthy and active adult lifestyle.In recent years there has been mounting evidence that supports the health related benefits that are gained by individuals who engage in moderate levels of physical activity. One document in particular, Physical Activity and Health, A Report of the Surgeon General, has been a landmark publication which clearly presents those benefits. Unfortunately, as the research supporting the benefits of physical activity becomes more apparent, many segments of our population are still not adhering to the call, opting instead for a sedentary lifestyle. In an attempt to combat the levels of sedentary lifestyles that are plaguing many of our young people, health professionals are calling upon middle and high school physical education to equip students with the skills and knowledge necessary to become physically active for a lifetime. Physical education lessons in school could play an important role in the promotion of regular involvement in physical activities and a healthy lifestyle in general due to primary goal of physical education is to develop positive student attitudes that promote lifelong physical activity .|
|In order for physical education to accomplish this goal, it is also essential that student attitudes be considered when making curricular and programme decisions. Up to this point, student voices have been rarely considered--this is especially true for and high school students. Subsequently, little is known about which aspects of high school physical education evoke positive or negative attitudes in students. This information, if available could assist practitioners, teacher educators, and curriculum developers in providing optimal physical education experiences for high school students. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine high school students' attitudes toward a physical education programme which might help to determine the various aspects of the programme that appear to contribute to positive and negative attitudes toward school physical education. Gender plays an important mediating role in attitudes toward physical education. Many studies have compared girls’ and boys’ attitudes. In these studies, boys were found to display more positive attitudes toward physical activities that were challenging and had an element of risk [8;9], whereas girls showed more favourable attitudes toward physical activities emphasizing aesthetics [10;8;11;9].|
|A quick review of related literature shows that physical education takes a crucial role in education. Truly to educate our future generation and to help them to lead healthy and prosperous life, side by side with general education physical education in its augmented total quality is to be introduced from early school level.|
|In West Bengal, Physical Education has been aptly introduced as a compulsory subject in secondary (Madhyamik) school curriculum from early seventies of the past century. This physical education has gained much popularity among the teachers and the students. However, truly speaking, in society, this type of education has not yet found its proper place as it deserves. Now, to increase the acceptability of physical education among the students, their positive attitude towards physical education should be increased.|
|In the present study, we assessed the extent of attitude towards physical education of the school-going adolescents and then which would help us to explore the psychosocial factors effecting the development of this attitude and help us in formulating a strategy of counselling programme to increase the attitude of the school-going adolescents in future. This in turn would increase the acceptability of physical education in the society as whole. This is the rationale behind considering this as a research problem.|
|The present study was carried out through descriptive survey method within ex-post-facto research design. The details regarding sample, tool, procedure of data collection and statistical technique are reported as unde.|
|i) Source – Government aided Secondary / Higher Secondary Schools of West Bengal were considered as source of sample.|
|ii) Sampling Technique – Stratified Random Sampling Technique was adopted.|
|iii) Sample Size – Finally 175 male subjects and 98 female subjects participated in the study.|
|iv) Sample Characteristics – Only school going adolescents (students of Class IX & X of age group 14 – 17 yrs.), who took Physical Education as their additional subject , were taken. Only Bengali speaking students were taken.|
|The following research tool was used in the present study for data collection. Brief description of the tool is given hereunder.|
i)Attitudes toward Physical Education Scale-
|It was developed by Demirhan and Altay,  for Turkish students. This is a paper and pencil self-report instrument with a 5-point Likert-type scale with responses ranging from 1 (Strongly Disagree) to 5 (Strongly Agree) summed across 24 items, resulting in a range from 24 to 120. . From the manual of the scale we find that (i) 1-24 points marks the most negative attitude, (ii) 25-48 negative attitude, (iii) 49-72 neutral attitude, (iv) 73-94 positive attitude, and (v) 95-120 the most positive attitude. The Cronbach Alpha reliability coefficient of the scale is 0.93, the intra-class correlation coefficient is 0.85, and the scale validity coefficient is 0.83.|
C. Procedure for Data Collection
|The relevant data were collected by administering the above-mentioned tool on the subjects under study in accordance with the directions provided in the respective manual of the tool.|
D. Statistical Techniques
|The descriptive as well as inferential statistics and underlying relationships were found out by computing appropriate statistics with the help of SPSS-10.01 software.|
III. PRESENTATION OF DATA
Attitude towards Physical Education
|From Table-.1 we got the descriptive statistics of attitude scores of school going adolescents; the minimum of the scores was 63 and the maximum of those was 116 and the range was 53, and the mean and standard deviation of the said distribution were 94.51 and 9.53 respectively. According to the Physical Education and Sports Scale manual, in this study the range extends from neutral (63) to most positive (116) attitude. The mean (94.51) falls under positive attitude. As a whole, the attitude towards physical education of the school going adolescents of our state was positive. From Table-2 we obtained the means of attitude scores of female and male adolescents as 95.21 and 94.12 respectively, and the standard deviations were 10.61 and 8.87 respectively. Again from Table-3 it was transparent that the two means of the attitude scores of female and male school going adolescents were not (statistically) significantly different. Both male and female adolescents had positive attitudes towards physical education.|
|Again from Table-4 we got the report of geographic location (rural & urban) wise comparison of means of attitude scores of school going adolescents. In case of rural and urban adolescents, the means of the attitude scares were 93.05 and 95.84 respectively and the standard deviations were 9.50 and 9.39 respectively. It was transparent from Table-5 that the two means of the attitude scores were different significantly. The mean of the urban school going adolescents was higher than that of their rural counterparts.|
V. DISCUSSIONS AND CONCLUSIONS
|In the present study, West Bengal’s school going adolescents’ attitudes toward physical education were determined and it was analyzed whether it differs according to gender and geographical location wise. The findings showed that as a whole, the attitude towards physical education of the school going adolescents of our state was positive. Both male and female adolescents had positive attitudes towards physical education. Participation in physical exercises and sports requires strong attitudes toward physical activities. Our research findings show that physical education students have strong attitudes toward physical activities. This is consistent with the following findings. Mea and Hoe  found that Malaysian sports science students had strong positive attitudes toward physical activities and Zeng, et.al.  also found that their study participants had strong attitudes toward physical activities. This result also supports the findings of previous studies (15; 16; 17; 18; 19], which obtained same or similar results. One of these studies, Bibiket.al.suggested that high school students perceived physical education as a positive and valuable experience and high school students believed that physical education is an important part of their academic experience, rated just after Math, English, and Science Furthermore, while Fox and Biddle, and Rice specified that student boredom by the lesson, repetition and pointless activities have an effect on students developing negative attitudes they also emphasized that the most powerful factor for students to develop a negative attitude to the physical education lesson is the teacher. The fact that attitudes to the physical education lesson by students in this study are generally positive may lead to the thought that they are satisfied by the subjects taught in the lesson and with the physical education teacher. Moreover, school facilities are convenient for the physical education lesson and lessons are performed in a democratic environment. Since students are confronted with challenges such as academic performance decrease, lack of intrinsic motivation, low self-esteem and negative attitudes and behaviours toward school and teachers the neutrality can be understood. According to Ntoumanis  if students are not motivated in physical education, if they find it a boring or humiliating experience, they will form a negative attitude toward it. Therefore, it is logical to assume that physical activity programmes in schools will have a more positive impact when children are motivated to participate in physical education, and when they experience positive cognitive and affective outcomes as a result of their participation. To ensure children are motivated to participate in physical education, physical education teachers should obtain opportunities for all students to experienced achievement regardless of their talent.|
|Here in this study, gender played no important mediating role in attitudes toward physical education. In their studies Shropshire et al., with English students and Alpaslan with Turkish students found that the students’ attitude toward physical education scores did not show any statistically significant difference according to gender. However, a number of studies differ with this revelation. According to Ransdell, et.al. , gender is the only non-reversible factor that influences participation in physical activities. As it is noted that society has prejudice towards boys’ participation in physical activities, which later causes differences in attitude between genders. Daigle  in his dissertation “Gender Differences in Participation of Physical Activities: A Comprehensive Model Approach” notes that gender highly influences attitudes toward participation in physical activities. Contrary to these scholars, our findings are attributable to the following probable reasons; the society encouraged the students irrespective of their gender to participate actively in physical activities from childhood hence developing strong attitude toward physical activities. Bailey, et.al. opined that family greatly contributes to children’s level of physical activities involvement. Children who were actively involved in physical activities either had physically vigorous parents or physically energetic siblings. This attitude toward physical activities is sustained throughout one’s lifetime.|
|In the present study irrespective of male and female of different geographic location (rural and urban) school going adolescents exhibited a positive attitude towards physical education. Again the mean of the urban school going adolescents was (statistically) significantly more positive than their rural counterparts. In our state more importance have been put to include physical education in school curriculum for long times. This endeavour may be reflected here. In urban areas several facilities for games and sports are prevalent – this may be the cause of higher positive attitudes towards physical education in urban areas.|
|It was observed that the overall attitude (of the students having physical education as their additional subject) towards physical education was highly positive. So as per their perception this education is highly needed for their wellbeing. Other students also should be motivated to take the subject and this subject should be included as compulsory subject to the secondary curriculum.|
|This study was delimited to do research on class IX & X standard high school physical education programme by investigating students’ attitudes toward the physical education programme. The insights gathered from this study, although helpful, were in no way exhaustive. It is therefore imperative that future research in this area should be continued.|
|An obvious starting point would be to further investigate the role of curriculum content on high school students’ attitudes toward physical education. Future research could investigate the attitudes of high school students who are exposed to non-traditional or innovative curriculum. Examples of such programmes may include programmes in which students choose all or part of their curriculum or programmes in which curricular scope and sequence were narrowed to provide students with more depth and less breadth. Research in this area could be conducted according to grade level, or perceived competency, to name a few.|
|Although this study provided some rich insights into students’ attitudes toward high school physical education, it was only representative of a small sample. Therefore, a recommendation for future research is the replication of this study with various populations from various locations. More specifically, student attitudes toward physical education should continue to be examined according to school location (urban, rural, or suburban) and according to student ethnicity all over West Bengal.|
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