Date of Conferral
Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)
Physical education (PE) is recognized by public health officials as a medium capable of addressing various health-related behaviors, and middle school students perceptions and attitudes toward a cooperative PE curriculum have yet to be identified. This study sought to determine the perceptions and attitudes 10 middle school students have toward cooperative activities in PE class with the notion that the results would benefit both teachers and researchers. Two theories were used to guide this study: Bandura's social cognitive theory, and Harter's competence motivation theory. The research questions focused on identifying the attitudes and perceptions middle school students have toward cooperative activities in PE class and utilized a qualitative study with a case study approach. Focus groups, observations, and teacher interviews were data sources analyzed using open, axial, and selective coding. Triangulation of the data stemming from the three data sources supported the emergent theories that middle school students feel good participating in cooperative activities when they are done in small groups, there are chances to help others, and the activities provide an opportunity for all students to equally participate both physically and verbally. It is recommended that PE teachers, curriculum writers, and trainers of PE teachers consider cooperative activities when deciding how PE classes can be structured for middle school students. Implications for positive social change included empowering students to have more autonomy with their PE curriculum, which can lead to increased participation. Training PE teachers to effectively facilitate cooperative activities could provide students the opportunity to learn and build motor skill while learning experientially and benefiting mentally and physically.