Factors affecting the teaching of physical education in secondary schools: a case of selected secondary schools in Kalulushi and Kitwe districts of Zambia

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Mubanga, Kaite
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The University of Zambia
Not so long ago, Physical Education (PE) in Zambia was a subject which was compulsorily taught and it enjoyed a status just like any other subject in the school curriculum. Although this subject enjoyed compulsory status in all schools at that time, it is hard to establish if it was taught as such. In its attempt to revive PE, government through its 2013 Educational Curriculum Framework introduced Academic as well as Vocational Career Pathway Subjects. PE was made a Vocational Career Pathway Subject in this curriculum. PE had become an optional career pathway subject. This situation had seen very few schools choosing PE as a career pathway subject and this became a concern. Thus, the study sought to establish the factors affecting the teaching of PE in secondary schools. The participants included Standards Officers, lecturers, head teachers, PE teachers and PE students. Data was collected through questionnaires, semi-structured face-to-face interview schedules and observation checklists. From these experiences, the study established the status of PE in schools, the challenges teachers faced in the teaching of the subject and strategies which they (teachers) used to cope with the challenges. It is no secret that physical activity is necessary to a person’s well-being because it has immense benefits. The findings suggested that development of healthy young bodies was one of the benefits of a school programme of PE. PE programmes in schools directly benefited students’ physical health, improved academic performance, promoted healthy lifestyle, increased self-esteem and taught life skills. Therefore, it was important that students in schools engaged in PE activities owing to the many benefits associated with the subject. The results also revealed that the status of PE as a subject was very low compared to other subjects in the school curriculum and so was that of its teachers against other subject teachers. The introduction of new subjects into the already crowded curriculum had seen PE and other non-academic (lower status) subjects lose teaching time to accommodate these newer subjects. The study also revealed that there were many challenges which PE teachers faced in their teaching of PE and these included an overcrowded National and PE curricula, lack of PE resources, lack or bad state of facilities and equipment, large classes, and negative attitude by parents, head teachers and non PE teachers. While it was common knowledge that most of the challenges faced by PE teachers needed long term solutions to provide quality PE to students, there was need for them (PE teachers) to devise strategies which would mitigate the impact of these challenges in the absence of these long term solutions so as to ensure the normal and smooth learning and teaching of PE in schools. The study also established the strategies which PE teachers used to cope with challenges in the teaching of PE. These included requesting for more contact time from school authorities over the lost time, coming up with flexible time tables, forming partnerships among teachers in schools, between schools and with sports clubs in the community or institutions such as councils and churches so as to facilitate the teaching of the subject. The study also elaborated on how these partnerships overcame these challenges and enhanced the teaching of PE in schools even in the advent of these major challenges.
Physical education training--Study and teaching--Zambia