Students' and parents' lived experiences in physical education and youth sport
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The purpose of this study was two-fold: (a) to explore students’ experiences and learning in physical education and youth sport, and (b) to examine parents’ perceptions of their children’s experiences in physical education and youth sport. Phenomenological research method was employed in this study. The participants of this study included ten students, ages 12 to 15 and their parents (either father or mother). Data collection included phenomenological interviews, survey questionnaires, self-taken pictures of choice, and student diaries. Phenomenological analysis was used. This includes transcription, bracketing and the phenomenological reduction, listening to the interview for a sense of the whole, delineating units of general meaning, delineating another unit of meaning relevant to the research questions, clustering units of relevant meaning, determining themes from clusters of meaning, and contextualizing meaningful themes (Hycner, 1985). The findings of the study indicated students had positive thoughts toward physical education because they had fun and experienced feeling good about themselves. In spite of these positive views, students did not regard physical education as a learning environment. They had a separate perception of what they did and learned in physical education. Unlike physical education, students considered experiences in youth sport to present learning opportunities. In particular, students believed constructing a relationship with people, especially with their peers, in a youth sport program as a valuable learning opportunity. They learned social skills more in youth sport than in physical education. Students who involved in youth sport benefited from parents' psychosocial support including emotional support and informational support. Also, sibling relationships had an important influence on a students’ participation in youth sport both competitively and cooperatively. Finally, all students agreed that they liked youth sport more than physical education because of the level of learning, engagement or feeling free, and the involvement of the youth sports coach. Parents stressed the importance of their children’s social development in school life. They believed physical education to be a part of total education and to contribute to the social learning process through cooperative activities such as team sports. Parents also believed that physical education represented a playing time rather than learning time. However, they understood that the nature of physical education changes depending on the grade level: in secondary level, parents believed physical education relies on health education and physical fitness test more than doing physical activities. Parents believed that youth sport experiences helped their children to learn a variety of life skills to promote social development including respect for other and cooperation, and to learn self-discipline such as patience and self-control applicable to their children's daily life. From parents' viewpoint, participation in a youth sport program provided an opportunity to interact with their children. Finally, parents believed that their children learned more in youth sport than in physical education because of the deeper understanding of one sport, children's choice of activities, and parental involvement.