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A self-made fitness program with self-evaluation that helps motivate fourth and fifth grade students to exercise and value exercise

1 August 1998


The purpose of this qualitative study was to investigate whether a selfmade fitness program and self evaluation would motivate students to exercise, monitor their fitness levels, and develop a value for physical fitness. My research was based on the work of Burns (1994); Deal and Deal (1995); and Skinner and Wellborn (1994). Burn's program consists of students developing their own fitness program, schedule, and goals for self evaluation. Deal and Deal believe the amount one exercises indicates one's level of fitness. Skinner and Wellborn emphasize motivational theory. If the basic psychological needs of involvement, competency, and self autonomy are met, engagement happens, leading to positive developmental outcomes. This study took place at an urban elementary school located in the Pacific Northwest. The participants were fourth and fifth grade students. Information was gathered from the students through a variety of methodological approaches including video-taped interviews, written surveys, reflection journals, written goals, and written exercise schedules. Children were able to choose the correct exercises to meet their self made goals. The self-made fitness activities and self-evaluation were developmentally appropriate. The students' basic psychological needs were met through involvement between student and teacher, competence through a structured program, and self-autonomy through the self-made fitness program, goals, and self-evaluation. Because of this, students became engaged in the program and enjoyed it. They learned about the relationship between activity and good fitness and gained a value for exercise. Some students were confused about how to self-evaluate through journals. The students needed more in-depth education about fitness development and evaluation through journals. Also, students mentioned that the program was difficult and took too much time. Future recommendations for the program include reducing program and time requirements to make it more feasible.


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