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Enhancing Student Motivation and Social Skills: Adopting the Sport Education and Cooperative Learning Models

Angelo Montoya, Kelly Simonton, and Karen L. Gaudreault

joperd cover October 2020

There has been much research done on the many different evidence-based instructional models in physical education (Dyson, Griffin, & Hastie, 2004; Metzler, 2011). Researchers have studied the relationship between these models and several variables of physical education such as motivation, student attitude, student behavior, and social skill development due to their relations with student outcomes (Hassandra, Goudas, & Chron, 2003; Hastie & Sharpe, 1999; Ntoumanis, 2001). Although many of the models have provided significant findings, there is a lack of evidence for teachers using such models (Hodges, Laughlin, & Brusseau, 2018). The purpose of this article is to review the essential components of two popular instructional models, the Sport Education model (SE) and Cooperative Learning (CL) model, and the positive effects they have had on student motivation, behavior, attitude and social skill development. We also discuss how professional development (PD) can improve teachers’ understanding and implementation of these models.

Three essential outcomes of any quality physical education experience include increases in students’ motivation, their attitudes toward physical activity and physical education, and, lastly, their responsible behavior and engagement. A significant body of research exists on student motivation, attitude and behavior in physical education. Increasing students’ intrinsic motivation has been a very popular topic of motivational research studied in physical education (Hassandra et al., 2003). According to Ntoumanis (2001, 2005), it is important that intrinsic motivation is fostered and promoted in physical education because it can lead to positive outcomes such as adaptive attitudes and active behaviors into adult life. Motivation is not only listed in the National Standards as an essential outcome (SHAPE America – Society of Health and Physical Educators, 2014); it is a direct predictor of student engagement (Garn, Simonton, Dasingert, & Simonton, 2017), learning (Morgan, 2019), and adopting a healthy lifestyle (Wallhead & Buckworth, 2004).

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