An Investigation into the Influence of the HPE Curriculum on the Participation of Year 12 Students in Extra-Curricular Physical Activity
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
Schools are perceived as perfect settings for encouraging students to adopt the universally recommended levels of physical activity (PA) (Haerens et al., 2009). However, the learning area of health and physical education (HPE) -previously called- physical education and sports (PES) has seen some radical reforms over the past 30 years. These reforms transformed the core objectives of PES, and the role of schools in promoting PA.
The aim of this study is to examine the discrepancy between the essential role that is attributed to HPE in the promotion of active lifestyles (Ministry of Education, 2007) and the decreasing numbers of senior secondary school students participating in extra-curricular physical activities (ECPA) (New Zealand Secondary School Council, 2010; Adolescent Health Research Group, 2001, 2008, 2012).
The relationship between what students do in HPE and what they carry over into their lifestyles is yet to be adequately investigated (Yelling et al., 2000.; Telema et al., 2005.; Shen et al., 2007; Haerens et al., 2009; Walhead et al., 20010;). Findings from this study could contribute to broadening the debate amongst both academics and practitioners about the relationship between HPE and ECPA and to enhancing their interventions.
Mixed research methods were used to collect data for this study. First a survey was conducted to gather demographic information about 162 year 12 students from five different high schools. This was followed by interviewing four individual students, four groups of students, and four heads of HPE departments about their perceptions of the 2007 HPE curriculum (2007 HPEC). Findings from this study indicate that it is very difficult to measure whether the core objective of leading students into active lifestyles is achieved or not. More research is needed into the reasons why students pursue PA in New Zealand and how it is possible to maintain their participation at the health recommended levels.