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Special Issue "Physical Education for Sustainability: Policy and Practice"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Education and Approaches".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 January 2023 | Viewed by 8002

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Dario Novak
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Faculty of Kinesiology, University of Zagreb, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia
Interests: human health and performance; physical education
Dr. Brigita Mieziene
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Health, Physical and Social Education, Lithuanian Sports University, 44221 Kaunas, Lithuania
Interests: physical education; health behaviors
Dr. Branislav Antala
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Faculty of Physical Education and Sports, Comenius University, 036 01 Bratislava, Slovakia
Interests: physical education and sport pedagogy

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue on “Physical Education for Sustainability: Policy and Practice” aims to synthesize current knowledge on opportunities for sustainable physical education in the school environment, with an emphasis on including components such as frequency, variety, equality and inclusivity, meaning or value content, delivery and participation, monitoring and evaluation, integration, and examples of best practice. Furthermore, policies and recommendations that may affect these opportunities, as well as barriers to and enablers of the opportunities, will be discussed.

I encourage you to contribute a research or comprehensive review article for consideration for publication in Sustainability, an international Open Access journal which provides an advanced forum for research findings in areas related to sustainability and sustainable development. There is an absence of results-based monitoring, evaluation, and policy/practice-related information on physical education available at international and regional levels. National-level physical education data are also inconsistent in terms of measurement and availability. This Special Issue on “Physical Education for Sustainability: Policy and Practice” aims to synthesize current knowledge on opportunities for sustainable physical education to address this knowledge gap. I am confident you will find that the journal contributes to enhancing understanding of sustainability and fostering initiatives and applications of sustainability based measures and activities.

Dr. Dario Novak
Dr. Brigita Mieziene
Dr. Branislav Antala
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • physical education
  • health
  • policy and practice
  • sustainability

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

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Article
Sustainable Development Perspectives in Physical Education Teacher Education Course Syllabi: An Analysis of Learning Outcomes
Sustainability 2022, 14(10), 5955; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14105955 - 13 May 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 566
Abstract
Although school education, including the subject of physical education (PE), has the potential to contribute to the visions set out by the 2030 Agenda and its sustainable development goals (SDGs), little attention has been directed towards sustainable development perspectives in PE teacher education [...] Read more.
Although school education, including the subject of physical education (PE), has the potential to contribute to the visions set out by the 2030 Agenda and its sustainable development goals (SDGs), little attention has been directed towards sustainable development perspectives in PE teacher education (PETE). In this explorative paper, we aimed to investigate how sustainable development perspectives are reflected in Swedish PETE course syllabi, focusing on learning outcomes. The source of data was 496 learning outcomes retrieved from PETE course syllabi at the eight Swedish PETE institutions that examine PE teachers for compulsory school grades 7−9 and upper secondary school. A qualitative thematical analysis was performed, and two educational resources developed to support how to use education in achieving SDGs were used as a guiding framework. The findings show eight learning outcomes (<2%) explicitly related to sustainable development perspectives. We found these learning outcomes in courses dealing with outdoor education, movement and health didactics, and work environment and ergonomics. Our further analysis suggests that 37 learning objectives (19% as cognitive, 43% as socio-emotional, and 38% as behavioural) and 31 competencies (35% within knowledge and understanding, 32% within skills and applications, and 32% within values and attributes) could be linked to our themes of learning outcomes. These learning objectives and competencies of the SDGs were for good health and well-being, quality education, gender equality, reduced inequalities, peace, justice, and strong institutions. The main findings signal a possibility to work with the conceptualisation of sustainable development perspectives and SDGs in PETE. PETE educators should be encouraged to critically reflect on what it can mean to include sustainable development perspectives in PETE course syllabi. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Education for Sustainability: Policy and Practice)
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Article
Health-Related Fitness in Slovak High School Students in Prešov Region
Sustainability 2022, 14(6), 3606; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14063606 - 18 Mar 2022
Viewed by 378
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to examine the physical characteristics, body composition, and health-related fitness components in Slovak high school students. Data on body composition and health-related fitness were obtained from 848 students attending 14 high schools in the Prešov self-governing region. [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study was to examine the physical characteristics, body composition, and health-related fitness components in Slovak high school students. Data on body composition and health-related fitness were obtained from 848 students attending 14 high schools in the Prešov self-governing region. Health-related fitness levels were determined using the FITNESSGRAM test battery. Body composition was measured using a direct segmental multifrequency bioelectric impedance analyzer InBody 230. The results of the study showed gender differences in anthropometric measures, body composition parameters, and health-related fitness components. Analysis of variance among subgroups with different performance levels in particular tests showed an effect on anthropometric measures and body composition, especially on abdominal strength and endurance and upper body strength and endurance. Regarding gender differences, boys were found to be taller and heavier in all age groups. The BMI values showed a normal rate of physical development in all age groups and both genders. Overall, body composition was more optimal for boys than for girls. Girls were found to have a higher degree of abdominal fat and visceral adiposity. Boys were found to have higher levels of upper body strength and endurance and abdominal strength and endurance. The difference in flexibility level was statistically significant between 16 year-olds. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Education for Sustainability: Policy and Practice)
Article
Prevalence of the Preschool Teachers’ Physical Activity Level: The Case of the Republic of Croatia
Sustainability 2022, 14(5), 2963; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14052963 - 03 Mar 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 468
Abstract
The aim of this article was to determine the prevalence of the Republic of Croatia preschool teachers’ physical activity level and its correlation to chronological age, years of service, degree of education, and place of work. The research was conducted on a sample [...] Read more.
The aim of this article was to determine the prevalence of the Republic of Croatia preschool teachers’ physical activity level and its correlation to chronological age, years of service, degree of education, and place of work. The research was conducted on a sample of 159 preschool teachers from different parts of the Republic of Croatia. The Croatian version of the standardised version of the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ) was used. The basic descriptive parameters were calculated, while the correlation between certain variables was determined by the Spearman correlation coefficient and linear regression analysis. Results have shown that almost 80% of preschool teachers do not meet the criteria for the recommended levels of physical activity. They are most physically active at work but are the least active during transportation and leisure time. A statistically significant correlation was determined between physical activity and age, years of service, and place of work. Younger preschool teachers are significantly more physically active in their leisure time than older ones, as are those with fewer years of service. Preschool teachers who work in a bigger city are more physically active at work, whereas those from smaller cities are more active doing their household chores. Furthermore, the independent variables (Age, Years of service, Place of work, Degree of education) in combination significantly affect the level of physical activity of preschool teachers in their leisure time and the overall level of physical activity. Preschool teachers should be models for children, and if they are not physically active themselves, they will not be sufficiently motivated to stimulate the same in children, i.e., the habit of leading an active and healthy life from an early age. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Education for Sustainability: Policy and Practice)
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Article
Environmental Knowledge of Participants’ Outdoor and Indoor Physical Education Lessons as an Example of Implementing Sustainable Development Strategies
Sustainability 2022, 14(1), 544; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14010544 - 04 Jan 2022
Viewed by 632
Abstract
(1) Background: The purpose of the study was to assess the impact of physical activity outdoors in nature as part of physical education in schools on the level of knowledge and ecological attitudes. (2) Material and methods: A total of 220 students took [...] Read more.
(1) Background: The purpose of the study was to assess the impact of physical activity outdoors in nature as part of physical education in schools on the level of knowledge and ecological attitudes. (2) Material and methods: A total of 220 students took part in the study, with 103 of them in the treatment group, which usually practiced outdoor physical education classes, and 117 in the control group, which practiced mainly indoor. The project lasted 21 months, covering the last two years of primary school. The authors used the Children’s Environmental Attitude and Knowledge Scale CHEAKS in this study. The authors sought for an answer to the question of whether bringing a young person closer to nature by participating in a greater number of outdoor physical education lessons results in in-depth environmental knowledge. (3) Results: The appearance of seven statistically significant differences in ecological knowledge in the final study in favor of the group having outdoor physical education lessons proves the cognitively and visually stimulating role of a natural environment for physically active people. The location of physical education lessons turned out to be a much stronger condition for in-depth knowledge than gender, place of residence, parents’ education level, and subjective assessment of the financial satisfaction level. (4) Conclusion: These results are an incentive to further developing the young generation’s contact with nature through outdoor physical education lessons. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Education for Sustainability: Policy and Practice)
Article
The Gender and Education of Parents as Factors That Influence Their Views on Physical Education
Sustainability 2021, 13(24), 13708; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132413708 - 12 Dec 2021
Viewed by 774
Abstract
(1) The aim of this paper was to explore the views of primary and secondary school children’s parents on physical education (PE) and to subsequently analyse the differences in their views. The gender of the parent and child was taken into consideration as [...] Read more.
(1) The aim of this paper was to explore the views of primary and secondary school children’s parents on physical education (PE) and to subsequently analyse the differences in their views. The gender of the parent and child was taken into consideration as well as the parents’ levels of education. (2) The research sample consisted of 821 participants 668 of which were female (81.4%) and 153 of which were male (18.6%). The views of the children’s parents were collected through a non-standardized questionnaire. The questionnaire was divided into four areas (1—attitudes towards the physical education teaching process, 2—physical activity as part of lifestyle, 3—physical education during the COVID-19 pandemic, 4—social capital), with a total of 18 items in the questionnaire. The reliability of the questionnaire was analysed using Cronbach’s coefficient reached 0.835. Confirmatory factor analysis was also used to test the predicted factor structure. (3) In general, this research found that parents were more likely to express dissatisfaction if their child was only provided with 2 PE classes per week and would accept an increase in this number. Those parents whose children do not participate in organized physical activities were shown to be unsatisfied with their children’s physical fitness. A more significant limitation of children’s physical activity (PA) was observed among parents with secondary education. Parents with secondary education also feel that their child partaking in PA when they have free time is not so important, whereas parents with a higher level of education feel that it is. (4) Parents expressed positive evaluations of PE and recognized the importance it has in their child’s education. In the questionnaire, questions were related to physical fitness and PA specifically during the COVID-19 pandemic and this research observes the differences in opinions of parents depending on the level of education they attained and the gender of their child. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Education for Sustainability: Policy and Practice)
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Article
Teachers’ and Parents’ Perspectives on Promoting Primary School Children’s Physical Activity at School: A Qualitative Study
Sustainability 2021, 13(23), 13287; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132313287 - 30 Nov 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 535
Abstract
Lack of children’s physical activity remains a relevant problem that urges the need to find solutions. As physical activity starts to decline already in primary school, this study explores the possibilities of promoting physical activity at school. Specifically, this study aimed to gain [...] Read more.
Lack of children’s physical activity remains a relevant problem that urges the need to find solutions. As physical activity starts to decline already in primary school, this study explores the possibilities of promoting physical activity at school. Specifically, this study aimed to gain an understanding of teachers’ and parents’ perspectives of promoting children’s physical activity in primary school. Five semi-structured focus groups were conducted with primary school teachers (n = 31, aged 30–62) and five with the parents of primary school children (n = 25, aged 31–48). The data from the focus groups were analyzed using thematic analysis. Six main themes emerged from the study, reflecting teachers’ and parents’ perspectives on promoting primary school children’s physical activity at school: physical and psychological changes of children’s, parents’ attitudes towards physical activity, adapting school facilities for children’s physical activity, organization of the physical education process, teacher’s personality, teachers’, and parents’ partnership. The findings revealed the most significant barriers to promoting physical activity among primary school children as perceived by teachers and parents and the opportunities for not only overcoming these barriers but also increasing children’s physical activity at school. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Education for Sustainability: Policy and Practice)
Article
Test-Retest Reliability of Unilateral Horizontal Drop Jump in Children
Sustainability 2021, 13(21), 12084; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132112084 - 01 Nov 2021
Viewed by 517
Abstract
Jumps are an indispensable activity for the development of coordination, muscle strength and power, especially in children. Positive effects of horizontal drop jump (HDJ) proved to be very important in improving individuals performance. HDJ presents a specific movement pattern that has similarities with [...] Read more.
Jumps are an indispensable activity for the development of coordination, muscle strength and power, especially in children. Positive effects of horizontal drop jump (HDJ) proved to be very important in improving individuals performance. HDJ presents a specific movement pattern that has similarities with running gait and take-off in different horizontal jumps. Influence and effect of implementating HDJ in children is yet to be determined. The aim of this research was to determine the test–retest reliability of the unilateral horizontal drop jump (UHDJ) in children of early school age (6–7 years). Participants (n = 31; 19 girls and 12 boys) were school-age children that regularly attended Physical Education classes (Girls: mean age 7.5 ± 0.3 years, mean height 127.1 ± 6.8 cm and mean weight 25.8 ± 5.2 kg; Boys: mean age 7.5 ± 0.2 years, mean height 127.5 ± 6.9 cm and mean weight 27.6 ± 7.1 kg). UHDJ was performed from an elevation of 30 cm relative to the platform with starting position 120 cm from the middle of the platform. A jump on the platform and a unilateral take-off in the distance were performed, followed by a bilateral landing on the mat. Intraclass correlation coefficient was used to determine the reliability between the two days of measurements. Test–retest reliability was calculated for all observed variables, and a good correlation was found between the performed measurements (ICC = 0.76–0.89). The α coefficient indicates good to excellent (0.86–0.94) internal consistency. These findings suggest the usefulness of applying a UHDJ in school-age children. Moreover, it can be used to identify children talented for sports, monitor the effects of training and discover and direct individuals towards suitable sports disciplines. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Education for Sustainability: Policy and Practice)
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Article
Physical Education Teachers’ Opinion about Online Teaching during the COVID-19 Pandemic—Comparative Study of European Countries
Sustainability 2021, 13(21), 11730; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132111730 - 23 Oct 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1233
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the quality of implementation and Physical Education (PE) teachers’ perceived advantages, disadvantages, and encountered difficulties of online PE teaching during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. The participants were 1148 professionally active PE teachers [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the quality of implementation and Physical Education (PE) teachers’ perceived advantages, disadvantages, and encountered difficulties of online PE teaching during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. The participants were 1148 professionally active PE teachers from Poland, North Macedonia, Croatia, Turkey, Bulgaria, and Kosovo (613 female, 535 male). A cross-sectional online survey study was performed between May and September 2020 and was done online through an electronic questionnaire. Study results suggest differences in evaluation of online teaching between PE teachers from different countries: a positive evaluation of online teaching reported from teachers from Croatia, Poland, and Bulgaria, neutral in Turkey, and a negative evaluation during that period by teachers in Macedonia and Kosovo. Different ratings of advantages, disadvantages, and difficulties from the studied countries in online teaching in primary and secondary schools were also noted. A lack of proper equipment at home, a lack of proper training for information technology (IT) use, as well as use of different platforms for online teaching were among the highest-ranked difficulties during online teaching. The greatest concerns during online PE teaching were identified in terms of pupils’ safety, the intellectual property of resources, and the quality of curriculum delivery. The results from the study identify the most important areas of teachers work where PE should be supported regarding online teaching. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Education for Sustainability: Policy and Practice)

Review

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Review
The Distinct Role of Physical Education in the Context of Agenda 2030 and Sustainable Development Goals: An Explorative Review and Suggestions for Future Work
Sustainability 2021, 13(21), 11900; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132111900 - 28 Oct 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1000
Abstract
Agenda 2030 is a universal call to action which emphasises that all sectors of society should mobilise to create an inclusive and equal society and improve the lives of people world-wide. Education, physical activity and sport are recognised as critical means to achieve [...] Read more.
Agenda 2030 is a universal call to action which emphasises that all sectors of society should mobilise to create an inclusive and equal society and improve the lives of people world-wide. Education, physical activity and sport are recognised as critical means to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); therefore, it makes sense that school physical education (PE) also has the potential to contribute to the visions set out by Agenda 2030. A critical question is how sustainability can be understood, framed and integrated in PE. In this explorative paper, we, therefore, performed a review regarding the distinct role of PE in the context of Agenda 2030 and its SDGs. The overall research question that guided this paper is as follows: what perspectives related to PE in the context of Agenda 2030 and its SDGs have been discussed in the research literature? To identify relevant papers, five electronic databases (Education Research Complete, ERIC, Education database, SportDiscus, and Scopus) were systematically searched with search strings developed in an effort to identify research that supports the SDGs. The search resulted in about 4300 papers published between 2015 and 2021. Three unique papers met the inclusion criteria. We conclude that, so far, Agenda 2030 is a largely unexplored area of research in the field of PE, and that more research is needed to understand how sustainability can be understood, framed and integrated in PE. Based on the findings, we conclude the paper by providing suggestions for future work. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Education for Sustainability: Policy and Practice)
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Review
Interventions Which Aim at Implementing the Knowledge-Based Approach in the PE Lesson: A Systematic Review
Sustainability 2021, 13(21), 11781; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132111781 - 25 Oct 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 686
Abstract
Background: Lately, there has been a change in the approach to physical education as a school subject. The new (knowledge-based) approach proposes the teaching of a theoretical component that provides information and complements the practical one. The students thus acquire a thorough understanding [...] Read more.
Background: Lately, there has been a change in the approach to physical education as a school subject. The new (knowledge-based) approach proposes the teaching of a theoretical component that provides information and complements the practical one. The students thus acquire a thorough understanding of the principles underlying physical activity and assimilate the knowledge needed to independently conduct their physical activity throughout their lives. Materials & Methods: Firstly, there were identified a number of interventions that implement the theoretical component specific to the new approach, in the school environment. Interventions targeting students from the first grade to the university level were taken into account, without setting any geographical or temporary limits. Then, we analyzed the way in which the theoretical content was adapted and implemented at each educational level. The tools used in the evaluation of the theoretical component were also presented. Results and Conclusion: Even from the elementary school level, we find adapted methods for implementing a cognitive component. As we advance through middle school, high school and university level, we find interventions that propose theoretical contents adapted to contemporary society. Within the university-level chapter, special attention was dedicated to future physical education teachers and to the way in which they are prepared to teach a cognitive component within the physical education lesson. Finally, three categories of tools used in the evaluation of the cognitive component were presented: questionnaires, interviews, interactive methods. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Education for Sustainability: Policy and Practice)
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