Exploring play in school recess and physical education classes

The purpose of this study was to explore children’s play during recess and in physical education (PE) classes from the perspective of Huizinga’s theory of play. Specifically, this study investigated how primary school PE teachers used the concept of play, how it was understood by student participants, and how the participants engaged in the different phases of play during recess. Two groups of Year 3 children from two different schools participated in the study. Observations and unstructured group and individual interviews were used to collect data. The results reveal that PE teachers used the concept of play to propose activities, therefore employing play as a pedagogical tool. Participants engaged in some short breaks during the different parts of the PE class, during which they engaged in a ludic mode of play. Finally, the players communicated with each other in different ways while playing in a ludic mode during recess, using verbal and non-verbal communication and a combination of both. The results suggest that PE teachers need to determine which approaches to play are more appropriate to use in their classes. © 2016, © The Author(s) 2016.

The purpose of this study was to explore children’s play during recess and in physical education (PE) classes from the perspective of Huizinga’s theory of play. Specifically, this study investigated how primary school PE teachers used the concept of play, how it was understood by student participants, and how the participants engaged in the different phases of play during recess. Two groups of Year 3 children from two different schools participated in the study. Observations and unstructured group and individual interviews were used to collect data. The results reveal that PE teachers used the concept of play to propose activities, therefore employing play as a pedagogical tool. Participants engaged in some short breaks during the different parts of the PE class, during which they engaged in a ludic mode of play. Finally, the players communicated with each other in different ways while playing in a ludic mode during recess, using verbal and non-verbal communication and a combination of both. The results suggest that PE teachers need to determine which approaches to play are more appropriate to use in their classes. © 2016, © The Author(s) 2016.

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