Every project that needs to bring about an instrumental change in the curriculum needs the teachers to sit together, discuss possibilities and feasibility of the entire plan. And since it involves students , we also need to delve into their prior understanding and approach towards the already existing structure of physical education at AES.
Me and Ms.Madhu Kapoor, my fellow coach at AES for middle school decided to take up a research with students of grade 6 and 7 to find our their current fitness levels, their knowledge about the importance and ways of staying fit. As a part of this research, we also intended to show them the results in front of their eyes by asking them to abide by a routine fitness module before every unit and then letting them measure it for themselves. But when ever one performs an experiment, one has to be prepared for a mixed bag of samples.The going gets more interesting just then ! There, definitely, were kids who had little or no interest in what a heart rate might mean to their daily lives or what would muscular strength change about their health. So, through this research, it was a challenge for us to address their issues and plant seeds of fresh approach in their minds.
Seventy three grade 6 and grade 7 students from American Embassy School, New Delhi were grouped to participate in our action research wherein our focus was on health-related components of fitness: cardiovascular, muscular endurance and flexibility. Also, to set goals to improve health that is deteriorating as a result of the sedentary lifestyle they have gradually adopted. As our design strategy, we formed two groups: the experimental group and the control group. All students were given a baseline test on three areas of the fitness components.The experimental group did fitness circuit training and activities each week, for 6 weeks to see if repetition of the fitness areas, along with physical activity would help in improving their current levels of fitness or not.These included 10 min run, push-ups, sit-ups, leg raises, dips and stretch box. They utilized the first 25 minutes of class to work on all the areas of the fitness test and also received some small homework about their heart rate for their physical activity.The control group did no added training. All students were then given a post-test to gauge their fitness gains.We met them on alternate days for 80 min. The results were postulated in accordance with the observations of these pre and post tests.
Below are the results that suggested the success of the experimental group in developing better fitness levels and positive attitude while engaging in fitness in a fun way.
The graph shows how the results improved for experimental group for the different sets of exercises after the 6 week action research. The anomaly observed in the case of “sit and reach” wherein the control group had better post results than the experimental group arose due to the presence of consistent and already talented pool of kids in the control group.
For gauging the change in their attitude , we asked them to fill a short Likert survey that we quantified into scores later. The experimental group showed positive responses post the research.
With all this favoring our intent of making fitness a long term goal of PE, we could simply headstart our redefined instructional methodology !