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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(10), 1160; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14101160

“It’s a Battle… You Want to Do It, but How Will You Get It Done?”: Teachers’ and Principals’ Perceptions of Implementing Additional Physical activity in School for Academic Performance

1
Department of Public and Occupational Health, the Amsterdam Public Health Research Institute, VU University Medical Center, 1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands
2
Welten Institute—Research Centre for Learning, Teaching and Technology, Open University of the Netherlands, 6419 AT Heerlen, The Netherlands
3
Department of Complex Genetics, School for Nutrition, Toxicology and Metabolism/Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, Maastricht University, 6211 LK Maastricht, The Netherlands
4
Centre for Brain and Learning, Faculty of Psychology and Education, LEARN! Institute, VU University Amsterdam, 1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 28 August 2017 / Revised: 27 September 2017 / Accepted: 28 September 2017 / Published: 30 September 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social and Environmental Influences on Physical Activity Behaviours)
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Abstract

School is an ideal setting to promote and increase physical activity (PA) in children. However, implementation of school-based PA programmes seems difficult, in particular due to schools’ focus on academic performance and a lack of involvement of school staff in program development. The potential cognitive and academic benefits of PA might increase chances of successful implementation. Therefore, the aim of this qualitative study was: (1) to explore the perceptions of teachers and principals with regard to implementation of additional PA aimed at improving cognitive and academic performance, and (2) to identify characteristics of PA programmes that according to them are feasible in daily school practice. Twenty-six face-to-face semi-structured interviews were conducted with primary school teachers (grades 5 and 6) and principals in The Netherlands, and analysed using inductive content analysis. Teachers and principals expressed their willingness to implement additional PA if it benefits learning. Time constraints appeared to be a major barrier, and strongly influenced participants’ perceptions of feasible PA programmes. Teachers and principals emphasised that additional PA needs to be short, executed in the classroom, and provided in “ready-to-use” materials, i.e., that require no or little preparation time (e.g., a movie clip). Future research is needed to strengthen the evidence on the effects of PA for academic purposes, and should examine the forms of PA that are both effective as well as feasible in the school setting. View Full-Text
Keywords: physical activity; academic performance; school setting; feasibility; perceptions teachers; perceptions principals; intervention development; interviews; qualitative research physical activity; academic performance; school setting; feasibility; perceptions teachers; perceptions principals; intervention development; interviews; qualitative research
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van den Berg, V.; Salimi, R.; de Groot, R.H.M.; Jolles, J.; Chinapaw, M.J.M.; Singh, A.S. “It’s a Battle… You Want to Do It, but How Will You Get It Done?”: Teachers’ and Principals’ Perceptions of Implementing Additional Physical activity in School for Academic Performance. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14, 1160.

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