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Title: The promotion of physical activity within secondary boys schools in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Authors: Jassas, Rashid
Keywords: Secondary school
PA promotion
Social cognitive theory
Saudi Arabia
Active school model
PE teachers perspectives
Issue Date: 2012
Publisher: © Rashid Jassas
Abstract: Background There are concerns over the low proportion of young people in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia [KSA] who regularly participate in physical activity [PA] (Al-Hazzaa, 2004; Al-Hazzaa, et al., 2011). Schools have a unique opportunity to promote PA and provide adequate PA opportunities for young people via the formal/informal curriculum, school sports programmes, and out-of-hours PA (Dobbins et al., 2009). However, implementing effective PA promotion programmes in schools is a challenge and requires consideration of a range of factors. In Saudi Arabia context, the secondary boys school PE programme comprises two main elements: 1) the PE curriculum which is compulsory for all students and includes one 45 minute PE lesson per week; 2) the extra-curricular programme which is optional and comprises the Internal Physical Activity Programme (IPAP) and the External Physical Activity Programme (EPAP). The IPAP activities occur during breaks between lessons whilst the EPAP takes place after school. Both are delivered by PE teachers. Research Aims The aims of this study were: 1) To investigate the nature and extent of the promotion of PA in boys secondary schools in Saudi Arabia. 2) To explore physical education teachers perspectives on the promotion of PA in boys secondary schools in Saudi Arabia. 3) To identify the factors that influence the promotion of PA in boys secondary schools in Saudi Arabia. Theoretical Framework The theoretical framework for the study was based on Social Cognitive Theory (Bandura, 1997) which presumes that PA behaviour is influenced by: personal characteristics; behavioural factors; and environmental factors. In addition, the Active School model (Cale, 1997; Cale & Harrris, 2005) was utilised as a conceptual framework, guiding the investigation of PA promotion within schools and the analysis of data. Methodology In order to investigate the research questions, a two phased mixed method (Creswell, 2009) research project was carried out. Phase one involved a detailed survey questionnaire, informed by the Active School model, which was designed to gather information about PE teachers policies, practices and views with respect to the promotion of PA. The questionnaire s validity was enhanced via a number of Saudi experts who confirmed its appropriateness for use in the Saudi context. Moreover, a pilot study was undertaken to obtain valuable feedback relating to the format, content and clarity of both the survey questionnaire and interview schedule before the main study. The questionnaire was distributed to all secondary boys schools in Riyadh in KSA (N=181 schools). The response rate was 52%. The Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 17 was employed in the analysis of the data. Phase two involved semi-structured interviews. Prior to conducting these, the interview schedule was piloted at one secondary school. Six PE teachers drawn from the survey sample were interviewed and the interview data were then transcribed and analysed using MAXQD10 software. Research Findings The survey revealed that two thirds of the secondary boys schools had a plan or policy for the promotion of PA, and almost 70% of PE teachers thought that their school significantly contributed to the promotion of PA. Games activities (e.g. football) dominated the PE curriculum, and the majority of schools also organised inter-school games competitions (e.g. league). In contrast, exercise and fitness-related activities (e.g. circuit training) were less common within the schools PE curricula. The PE curriculum was viewed by the teachers as the most important avenue to promote PA, followed by the IPAP and EPAP (95%, 91% and 73% respectively). Sports/activity facilities varied between schools, particularly in terms of indoor facilities, and over half of the PE teachers considered their indoor and outdoor facilities to be inadequate for promoting PA (54% and 57% respectively). The vast majority (90.3%) of the schools did not offer PA opportunities to parents/families. Furthermore, three quarters of the teachers expressed a need for professional development specifically in the area of PA promotion. On a positive note, headteachers and local PE supervisors were reported to be supportive of efforts to promote PA in the schools and provided support for both the IPAP and EPAP. All PE teachers, who were interviewed, considered the time allocated to PE programme to be insufficient for promoting PA amongst pupils. Further, some teachers viewed PE lessons as time off from serious school subjects and entertaining time . Most teachers reported that parents considered PE as unimportant and/or playtime . Discussion/Conclusion PE teachers views on role of schools in the promotion of PA were generally positive. The ways in which the teachers practiced the promotion of PA varied and maybe have been due to their narrow understanding of the whole school approach to PA promotion. The teachers focused on the PE curriculum and the PE extra-curricular programmes as the main avenues through which to promote PA within their schools, and gave less attention to other avenues such as the whole school environment. Almost all of the teachers had a sporting philosophy for PE leading them to privilege competitive sports. Although the teachers reported to have support from head teachers and local PE supervisors, many schools were not as conducive to PA promotion as they could be due to the narrow range of physical opportunities on offer, and the teachers lack of relevant professional development, the limited sports facilities and the insufficient maintenance of these. In addition, the status of, and time allocated to PE were found to be an issue influencing the promotion of PA in schools. It was concluded that actions could be taken to broaden PA promotion within Saudi schools. For example, policy update and development for PA promotion could be improved to address clothing and changing, traffic/transport, and playground bullying; establish links with outside sports agencies and professionals; and increase PA opportunities before or after school, or at weekends. The findings suggest that if the descriptor comprehensive which is widely used to distinguish whole school approaches from curriculum-only models of PA promotion is to be fully realised, schools need to make a clear and explicit effort to promote PA within the social/cultural environment. Further that research is needed on the social and cultural values, norms and perspectives affecting PA promotion in schools.
Description: A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.
URI: https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/2134/10252
Appears in Collections:PhD Theses (Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences)

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