Physically active academic lessons: acceptance, barriers and facilitators for implementation

Mar 06, 2018 | S. M. Dyrstad, S. E. Kvalo, M. Alstveit and I. Skage

BACKGROUND: To improve health and academic learning in schoolchildren, the Active School programme in Stavanger, Norway has introduced physically active academic lessons. This is a teaching method combining physical activity with academic content. The purpose of this paper was to evaluate the response to the physically active lessons and identify facilitators and barriers for implementation of such an intervention.

METHODS: Five school leaders (principals or vice-principals), 13 teachers and 30 children from the five intervention schools were interviewed about their experiences with the 10-month intervention, which consisted of weekly minimum 2 x 45 minutes of physically active academic lessons, and the factors affecting its implementation. All interviews were transcribed and analysed using the qualitative data analysis program NVivo 10 (QSR international, London, UK). In addition, weekly teacher’s intervention delivery logs were collected and analysed.

RESULTS: On average, the physically active academic lessons in 18 of the 34 weeks (53%) were reported in the teacher logs. The number of delivered physically active academic lessons covered 73% of the schools’ planned activity. Physically active lessons were well received among school leaders, teachers and children. The main facilitators for implementation of the physically active lessons were active leadership and teacher support, high self-efficacy regarding mastering the intervention, ease of organizing physically active lessons, inclusion of physically active lessons into the lesson curricula, and children’s positive reception of the intervention. The main barriers were unclear expectations, lack of knowledge and time to plan the physiclly active lessons, and the length of the physically active lessons (15-20 min lessons were preferred over the 45 min lessons).

CONCLUSION: Physically active academic lessons were considered an appropriate pedagogical method for creating positive variation, and were highly appreciated among both teachers and children. Both the principal and the teachers should be actively involved the implementation, which could be strengthened by including physical activity into the school’s strategy. Barriers for implementing physically active lessons in schools could be lowered by increasing implementation clarity and introducing the teachers to high quality and easily organized lessons.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: ID identifier: NCT03436355 . Retrospectively registered: 16th of Feb, 2018.

PubMed Abstract

Dyrstad, S. M., Kvalo, S. E., Alstveit, M., & Skage, I. (2018). Physically active academic lessons: acceptance, barriers and facilitators for implementation. BMC Public Health, 18(1), 322. doi: 10.1186/s12889-018-5205-3