Perspectives and awareness of learner sedentary classroom behaviour amongst primary school teachers in Saldanha, Western Cape

Jooste, Liesl (2020-12)

Thesis (MScPhysio)--Stellenbosch University, 2020.

Thesis

ENGLISH SUMMARY : Background: Primary school learners, globally and in South Africa, spend almost half of their daylight hours at school in traditional primary school classrooms with school chairs and tables which is consistent with high volumes of sitting. Sedentary behaviour amongst school-aged children is a global healthcare concern because it impacts several dimensions of health. It is vital to understand teachers’ perspectives and awareness about sedentary classroom behaviour and its consequences on the health of learners. Interventions targeting sedentary classroom behaviour require teachers’ input for effective design thereof and teachers’ support for uptake and implementation of the interventions. Aim: The research aimed to determine primary school teachers’ perspectives and awareness of the effects of prolonged sedentary classroom behaviour on the health of primary school learners and, to explore potential strategies to address the impact of this behaviour in Saldanha, Western Cape Province of South Africa. Methodology: An exploratory, descriptive qualitative study, with an interpretative and phenomenological approach, was conducted. Purposive sampling was used to identify and recruit primary school teachers from four public sector primary schools in Saldanha. The data collection occurred in person using semi-structured individual interviews and focus group discussions at each school. The interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed, and analysed using an inductive thematic approach. Results: Thirty-six primary school teachers participated in the study (19 in individual interviews and 17 in the focus groups). The findings of this study indicate that participating primary school teachers were aware of the cognitive and behavioural effects and physical discomfort of prolonged sedentary time in the classroom. The participants were also aware of the effect that sitting posture can have on spinal health. The participants acknowledged that they were mostly unaware of the impact of prolonged sedentary classroom behaviour on the physical health of primary school children. Several interlinked factors influence the extent of sedentary behaviour in classrooms. The participating teachers elaborated on strategies they use to reduce sedentary time namely integrated, unstructured physical activity between lessons. Suggested future strategies to reduce sedentary time and its effects included curriculum change to create time for movement, restructuring of the classroom seating arrangements and the modification of the furniture to allow the interchangeable use of sitting with standing during lessons. Conclusion: Primary school teachers who participated in the study were aware of the negative effects on cognition and behaviour due to prolonged sedentary time of learners in the primary school classroom. The participants were also aware of the effect that sitting posture can have on the health of the spine but mostly unaware of the negative consequences of sedentary classroom behaviour on the physical health of primary school learners. Participants identified the full curriculum and limited space in classrooms as two significant factors that influence sedentary behaviour in the classroom. Strategies proposed to address the impact of sedentary classroom behaviour involved changes in classroom activities and classroom physical organisation. Further research regarding the feasibility and acceptability of classroom interventions to address prolonged sedentary time in the classroom in the South African context is warranted.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : Agtergrond: Laerskoolleerders, wêreldwyd en in Suid-Afrika, spandeer byna die helfte van hul dagligure op skool in tradisionele laerskoolklaskamers met skoolstoele en tafels, wat ooreenstem met die groot hoeveelheid sit. Sedentêre gedrag onder kinders van skoolgaande ouderdom is 'n wêreldwye gesondheidsorgprobleem omdat dit verskillende dimensies van gesondheid beïnvloed. Dit is noodsaaklik om onderwysers se perspektiewe en bewustheid oor sedentêre klaskamergedrag en die gevolge daarvan op die gesondheid van leerders te verstaan. Intervensies wat op sedentêre klaskamergedrag gerig is, vereis dat onderwysers se insette vir effektiewe ontwerp daarvan en onderwysers se ondersteuning vir die opname en implementering van die intervensies benodig. Doel: Die navorsing het ten doel gehad om laerskoolonderwysers se perspektiewe en bewustheid ten opsigte van die gevolge wat langdurige sedentêre klaskamergedrag op die gesondheid van laerskoolleerders te bepaal, en om potensiële strategieë te ondersoek wat die impak van hierdie gedrag in Saldanha, Wes-Kaap Provinsie van Suid-Afrika, aanspreek. Metodologie: 'n Verkennende, beskrywende kwalitatiewe studie, met 'n interpretatiewe en fenomenologiese benadering, is uitgevoer. Doelgerigte steekproefneming is gebruik om laerskoolonderwysers van vier openbare skole in Saldanha te identifiseer en te werf. Die data-insameling het persoonlik plaasgevind deur middel van semi-gestruktureerde individuele onderhoude en fokusgroepbesprekings by elke skool. Die onderhoude is deur middel van 'n induktiewe tematiese benadering benader, getranskribeer en geanaliseer. Resultate: Ses en dertig laerskoolonderwysers het aan die studie deelgeneem (19 in individuele onderhoude en 17 in die fokusgroepe). Die bevindinge dui daar op dat deelnemende onderwysers op laerskool bewus was van kognitiewe en gedragseffekte en fisieke ongemak van langdurige sedentêre klaskamergedrag. Die deelnemers was ook bewus van die effek wat sitposisie op die spinale gesondheid kan hê. Die deelnemers het erken dat hulle meestal onbewus was van die impak van langdurig sedentêre klaskamergedrag op die gesondheid van laerskoolkinders. Verskeie interkoppelende faktore beïnvloed die omvang van sedentêre klaskamergedrag. Die deelnemende onderwysers het uitgebrei oor strategieë wat hulle gebruik om sit tyd te verminder, naamlik ongestruktureerde fisieke aktiwiteit tussen die lesse. Voorgestelde toekomstige strategieë om sit tyd en die gevolge daarvan te verminder, sluit in kurrikulumverandering om tyd te skep vir beweging, die herstrukturering van die sitplekke in die klaskamer en die aanpassing van die meubels om die om die wisselende gebruik van sit met staan tydens lesse moontlik te maak. Gevolgtrekking: Laerskoolonderwysers wat aan die studie deelgeneem het, was bewus van die negatiewe effekte op kognisie en gedrag as gevolg van 'n lang sit tyd van leerders in die laerskoolklaskamer. Die deelnemers was ook bewus van die effek wat sitposisies op die gesondheid van die ruggraat kan hê maar meestal onbewus van die negatiewe gevolge van sedentêre klaskamergedrag op die gesondheid van laerskoolleerders. Deelnemers het die volledige kurrikulum en beperkte ruimte in klaskamers geïdentifiseer as twee belangrike faktore wat sedentêre gedrag in die klaskamer beïnvloed. Strategieë wat voorgestel is om die impak van sedentêre klaskamergedrag aan te spreek, het veranderings in klaskameraktiwiteite en fisieke organisasie in die klaskamer behels. Verdere navorsing oor die uitvoerbaarheid en aanvaarbaarheid van klaskamerintervensies om langdurige sit tyd in die klaskamer in die Suid-Afrikaanse konteks aan te spreek, is geregverdig.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/109250
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