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Limited PE classes affecting students’ participation in sport

3-day workshop organised in Malta

“The best way to improve student participation in physical education classes is to link their efforts to  a collective outcome.”

“The best way to improve student participation in physical education classes is to link their efforts to a collective outcome.”

The limited physical education classes in the curriculum at local schools is one of the main factors leading to students’ low participation in sport.

This finding was one of the main outcomes of a three-day workshop organised by the Foundation for the Promotion of Social Inclusion in Malta, part of the DIYPES Project.

The project, hosted under the Erasmus+ Sport programme, aims to increase the participation and engagement of high school students in physical education and sport classes.

Six countries are participating in the two-year project which began in January 2017. They include Malta, Denmark, Slovakia, Romania, Italy and Albania.

The workshop in Malta was held at the Kirkop Sports Complex and saw the participation of project officers, researchers, PE teachers and students, who all experienced the implementation of the project.

Project officer Uyen Vu said they have three main objectives.

Six countries are participating in the two-year project

“This meeting in Malta was an opportunity for PE teachers and students to discuss ways to improve the quality of PE lessons,” he said.

“The programme, in fact, seeks to identify and describe core educational objectives and development practices that can improve PE classes.

“The project will also test the feasibility and effectiveness of a three-month intervention focused on a participatory approach to physical education and sport classes in each country and will seek to develop a set of scenarios applicable at the EU level with regards to models for building innovative participatory approaches to PE classes.”

The project also involved an observation intervention at St Edward’s College in which students were invited to participate in a physical education class.

“We found out that one of the best ways to improve student participation in physical education classes was to link their efforts to a collective outcome, in this case, winning more points for their respective house class,” said Mark Schroder, one of the researchers.

“At St Edward’s, students are assigned a house colour, and their scholastic achievements also translate into extra points for their group.

“What we observed was that when the students were told that the best efforts would be awarded with extra points, they showed more commitment during their physical education activities,” Mr Schroder explained.

“Basically, we feel that when the students understand that there is a purpose behind their efforts, such as when a competitive element is introduced to the PE class, this can lead to more participation and engagement and ultimately, more successful outcomes.”

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