The role of physical education in promoting learner academic performance: A case study of Kombaniya Primary School of Mansa District, Luapula Province, Zambia
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Physical Education (PE) was introduced in Zambian Schools as one of the academic subjects to be taught in Primary Schools during the colonial period. To this effect the subject is taught as a compulsory subject in all primary schools though not as a standalone subject but integrated under a learning area called Creative and Technology Studies (CTS). This study was undertaken to establish the role PE plays in promoting learner academic performance at Kombaniya primary school, Mansa District, Luapula Province, Zambia. The objectives of the study were to: establish the role that PE plays in promoting academic performance of learners in primary schools, ascertain teachers‟ perception of P.E. as an academic subject in primary schools, ascertain pupils‟ perception of P.E. as an academic subject in primary schools and to explore the challenges that teachers face when teaching P.E in primary schools. The study used a case study design adopting a qualitative approach. Data was gathered through focus group discussions (for the learners), semi-structured interviews (for teachers and administrators) and lesson observations. Document review was also used. Data was analysed thematically. The findings of the study revealed that PE plays a role in promoting learner academic performance. It helps the body to be flexible, learners become physically fit and healthy, helps to reduce boredom that may occur because of sitting too much in class, helps to relax and refresh the brain and that it enhances the attention and concentration levels of the pupils there by affecting learning and improving pupil attendance in school. Observations made during the study for a period of 13 weeks from a specialised PE teacher were that, the learners had improved in their performance in Mathematics, Science and English subjects as compared to their performance in the previous grade. With Regard to teachers‟ and learners‟ perception towards PE as a subject was negative. Teachers, administrators and learners saw the subject as play or sport that took time away from academic subjects and not an important subject. Teachers teaching PE faced numerous challenges which ranged from negative attitude by teachers and administrators, inadequate teaching/learning materials, poor state of infrastructure, large class sizes, lack of monitoring in the subject to PE not being time-tabled. In conclusion, PE plays a role in promoting learner academic performance. The perceptions of teachers and learners towards PE as a subject was negative as PE was seen as play or sport which took away time for academic subjects. Teachers teaching PE faced a lot of challenges which included inadequate teaching materials, poor infrastructure and large class sizes. Based on the study findings, the study recommended that, since PE plays a role in promoting academic performance of learners, school administrators should time-table it. School administrators should encourage Continuing Professional Development (CPD) in PE among teachers. The Ministry In charge of Education should monitor and ensure that practical subjects are taught in schools. In order to address the challenges of inadequate teaching materials and poor infrastructure, school administrators should collaborate with sports Organisations and Companies to sponsor and help improve sports facilities in schools.
SubjectPhysical education-study and teaching
Educational sociology-study and teaching
Physical education-Mansa, Zambia
- Education