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Generalization and maintenance of skill trials from physical education to recess in elementary school


Cheng, S., et al.



Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy

Publication type

Artículo de revista




Applied behavior analysis; comprehensive school physical activity program (CSPAP); elementary school children; skill performance; systematic observation


Background: Being skillful is a prerequisite for lifelong participation in physical activity (WHO 2022). Hence, investigating the quality of children’s skill performance is important. If physical education wants to contribute to the development of a physically active lifestyle, demonstrating whether children apply skills learned in physical education in a less structured setting such as recess is worthwhile. Purpose: This study systematically replicated and extended previous work connecting the content of physical education (i.e. parkour) with voluntary organized physical activity during recess. It was investigated whether children would maintain participation in parkour recess after the parkour sport education season in physical education ended. The research questions in this study were: (1) How did children’s voluntary participation in parkour recess differ between the generalization and maintenance phase?; and (2) How did children’s performance of skill trials in parkour recess differ between generalization and maintenance phase in comparison to physical education? Sex effects were investigated in both research questions. Methods: Participants in this study were seven physical education teachers (2 females and 5 males) and 147 grade 2 children (55 girls and 92 boys, mean age: 8 years). Seven classes from different schools in Flanders (Belgium) received a 10-lesson sport education parkour season in physical education. During the generalization phase, parkour was taught in physical education and five voluntary 20-min parkour recess sessions were organized during lunch recess. During the maintenance phase, teachers taught other content during physical education instead of parkour and another five parkour recess sessions were organized during lunch recess. All physical education lessons and parkour recess sessions were videorecorded. Children’s voluntary participation in each parkour recess session was recorded and their correct skill trials in physical education and parkour recess were collected using systematic observation. Findings: Children’s voluntary participation in parkour recess significantly declined from generalization (77%) to maintenance phase (52%), p <.001. In parkour recess, children performed significantly more total skill trials (58 vs. 51, p =.013), skill trials per minute (4.20 vs. 3.49, p [removed]


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