What factors have an influence in making us like sport in the physical education classes we receive in school? According to a new investigation, physical education teaching staff must develop the responsibility, encourage social interaction and avoid making comparisons between the pupils. The objective is to make us feel capable of doing physical exercise and playing sport throughout our lives.
The objective of the study recently published in the Journal of Teaching in Physical Education was to analyse the factors that influence whether or not we have a "good vibe" towards physical education, which is technically defined as 'dispositional flow', in other words, "an optimum psychological state that allows people to confront a task with the best possible psychic conditions".
"If a person manages to reach the flow state whilst performing the physical activity he/she will obtain high levels of enjoyment, and entertainment, and will want to perform it more to experience these sensations again", David González-Cutre, main author of the study and researcher in the University of Almeria (UAL), explained to SINC.
The results of this investigation show that the motivational climate transmitted by teaching staff, the relationship and responsibility goals, and the perceived competence are all associated with enjoyment.
The researchers studied a sample of 779 students (358 boys and 421 girls), with ages ranging from 12 to 16 years who responded to different questionnaires.
"The fundamental objective of physical education is to manage to make pupils play sport outside school hours and throughout their life. To achieve this, the person teaching physical education must focus on effort and personal improvement and not so much on comparison" González-Cutre points out.
Other recent studies have also confirmed that pupils who play sports outside school hours reflect better flow in physical education classes. "Flow is probably a variable for predicting extra-curricular sport practice", maintains the expert.
Dispositional flow or good vibes
Flow is a state of conscience in which individuals become totally absorbed by what they are doing, to an extent where they manage to exclude every other thought or emotion. For the experts "it is a harmonious experience where mind and body work together without effort, and leave the person with the sensation that something special has happened". The frequency with which a subject tends to experience this state has been conceptualised as 'dispositional flow'.
The likelihood of experiencing flow depends on genetics and environmental stimuli. This is why social agents play such an important role.
David González-Cutre, Álvaro Sicilia, Juan Antonio Moreno y Juan Miguel Fernández-Balboa. "Dispositional Flow in Physical Education: Relationships With Motivational Climate, Social Goals, and Perceived Competence". Journal of Teaching in Physical Education, 28, 422-440, octubre de 2009.