Before and competitive sport. Whilst at school it was

Before considering the application of Dagkas
and Quarmby (2013) research, it needs to be understood the importance of
physical education (PE) as a subject with regards to children from lone parent
or low income families (or those from both). “Participation in organized sports, both at and outside school,
were important correlates of inactivity—boys and girls who did not participate
were approximately twice as likely to be physically inactive, compared to those
who did” (O’Loughlin et al., 1999). PE for a lot of children can be a time and
a place where their love for physical activity and sports comes from, for some
children their introduction to sports they never thought they could participate
in. PE allows for opportunity for everyone regardless of background to
participate in safe, organised, enjoyable and competitive sport.

Whilst at school it was brought to all teachers in the PE department’s
attention that pupils who came from low socio-economic backgrounds needed extra
help. For example, for some pupils they needed to leave their PE kit behind at
school for it to be washed as parents could not afford to wash it quickly
enough for pupils to wear again in the same week. This provides reassurance and
confidence in the department and staff at the school that pupils know they have
a safe space to participate and practice sports. Teachers in the department
made comments on how they enjoy providing the extra-curricular activities for
children of disadvantaged backgrounds (whether it be income or family
background) knowing that this is an option and is not forced onto any children
but for those who are wanting to participate. Those who do participate in
extra-curricular are usually the ones who come back after school or during
lunch time. By providing these services for children it gives them the
experience of sports or activities they can develop from lessons or skills they
haven’t learnt before. The learning opportunity allows them to develop
physically and mentally knowing how their body works learning not only skills
but rules, skills and tactics which can be transferred later on in life. These
pupils when asked why they participated stated that they “knew the importance
of a healthy active lifestyle and this is what they were doing to contribute to
that”, or that their parents had said “it was good for them to try and
participate in as much as they could at school because it will help them form
good habits of physical activity for later life”. With parental promotion of
physical activity happening and the opportunity for these children to
participate in these organised activities shows them that leading a healthy
active lifestyle can be achieved regardless of income or family structure. A
certain pupil stated that they didn’t want to be like their mum “who doesn’t do
anything other than work or watch TV cos that’s not good for you to watch too
much TV right?” However not all parents support the idea of their children
participating in physical activity through PE or promote its benefits. An
example of this would be those coming from inactive families with parents
suggesting they ‘skip’ PE to focus or revise for other subjects (dependant on
year group). With parents playing such an important role in promotion of
children’s behaviours and attitudes, especially towards health and physical
activity it was quite a shock that parents would promote these attitudes and
behaviours on their children. This can be linked in with work from Brustad
(1996) who found that parental enjoyment of physical activity and parental
encouragement made substantial contributions to the likelihood of child
physical activity participation. Dagkas and Quarmby (2013) acknowledged the
importance of teachers and the strains and difficulties they face when trying
to engage and involve those from low SES backgrounds. They stated that “for teachers and coaches to be effective,
they must recognise individuals’ needs and interests so that suitable
pedagogical encounters can be created” (Dagkas and Quarmby, 2013 p27)

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The catchment area of this school was from a mixed range of SES
backgrounds, meaning pupils were well integrated and the school had good
resources and facilities to be able to provide these experiences for the
pupils. With a small community outreach linked with the school (local rugby
club, rowing club and skiing centre) pupils were offered the opportunity to
develop their skills further outside of school. It was found from these clubs
that children who had engaged through the school once asked to commit to more time
and to find their own way of reaching these clubs saw a dropout rate in
participation. Especially the rugby club, many girls and boys form low SES
backgrounds struggled with the out of the way club to get to its facilities.
The school then took this opportunity to use its budget and get in specialist
coaching staff from an external professional rugby club to run sessions
throughout the week to support those children who struggled with managing to
participate outside of the school hours. With the implementation of the rugby
coaching on throughout the week it meant children could take part in a sport
they had grown to enjoy and develop their skills to become better, this then
lead to creating several boys and girls rugby teams who were very successful competing
against other local schools. This has been expressed in the research from
Dagkas and Quarmby (2013) when giving the example of “young people from lone
parent families clearly expressed financial concerns that restricted their
engagement in activity” (p22).

With students self-determination to participate in extra-curricular
and in PE evident throughout this placement it is clear that parental influence
did have its positive and negative effects on participation on physical
activity and participation. It was clear that children knew that this was some
their only options or time to participate in sports due to their household
income levels. PE teachers have a responsibility to make extra-curricular
options available to for pupils from lone parent families, poor family
structures or low economic backgrounds to give them an opportunity to practice
and lead healthy active lifestyles. When asking the children if there was
anything they would change about extra-curricular activities they said “more
sports” or “if they could be on for longer”. With extra-curricular being an
opportunity to engage socially with peers, Bourdieu’s theory acknowledging that
the social structures influencing habitus pertain to that particular time and
place only therefor if children were asked these questions at home would the
responses be different to than when asked during school. Dagkas and Quarmby
(2013) accept that incorporating Bourdieus framework for habitus has an effect
in every aspect of life but for this research specifically for physical
activity. This therefor leads to the conclusion that behaviours and attitudes
can be dependent on social structures but equally habitus. Thus, parents who
have not experiences physical activity or educated enough to understand its
importance. “The opportunity for habitus to change as
individuals are confronted by the unfamiliar” Bourdieu (1984), therefor suggest
if parents are scared of the unknown (PA) this could lead a child’s promotion
to disengage form PA due to parent’s perceptions. 


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