Development of basic psychological need satisfaction in physical education
Effects of a two-year PE programme
Research shows that sports-active students experience more basic need satisfaction (autonomy, competence, relatedness) in physical education (PE) than their non-sports-active peers, and thus, reap most of the benefits of PE. This study aimed to investigate the role of a two-year PE programme, referred to as Interest-based PE, in contributing to students’ basic need satisfaction in PE, and in particular, to assess potential basic needs-benefits among students who were not involved in leisure-time sport. Among 693 students, 348 were offered a choice of two different PE approaches (“explorative” vs. “sports” approach) for the next two years, while the remaining students continued to receive traditional PE. Girls, non-sports-active students, and students who experienced less need satisfaction in PE at baseline were more likely to choose the explorative approach, thereby signifying a wish for a less sports-centred PE. However, no significant differences in autonomy, competence, and relatedness need satisfaction were identified between Interest-based PE groups and their respective control groups over the course of the programme. Sports active students experienced more gains in relatedness need satisfaction than non-sports active students over the course of the programme, suggesting that challenges in promoting equal opportunities for learning in PE may require more than “Interest-based PE”.
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