Attitudes towards physical education in KwaZulu-Natal.
Thomson, Janet Elizabeth.
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This study investigated the attitudes towards Physical Education in KwaZulu and the determinants of those attitudes. The focus was on the teaching of the subject in schools and colleges of education in the KwaZulu Department of Education and Culture. The purpose of the study was to establish whether Physical Education was being limited by a lack of resources and/or the perceived low status of Physical Education. Questionnaires were developed for four different groups, namely, teachers, principals, college lecturers and the pupils and students themselves. The analysis of the responses indicated that all four groups held strong beliefs about the benefits of the subject. The benefits which the pupils regarded as the most positive were in the areas of physical fitness and social development. In contrast to their western counterparts, pupils and students did not view Physical Education as a "light relief' subject nor did they regard enjoyment as a requisite. Negative determinants of attitude were found to be related primarily to the lack of facilities and the consequent lack of diversity in the Physical Education curriculum. Respondents from the teachers' and principals' groups revealed that the teaching of Physical Education in KwaZulu was important but severely inhibited by a combination of factors. Allocation of resources in the form of physical facilities and equipment was found to be deficient. There was an absence of qualified staff, which resulted in the subject either being omitted from the curriculum or being taught by teachers with no knowledge of its objectives nor of the correct teaching methods. In some cases the subject was confused with sport and coaching school teams and in most cases the subject played a subservient role to that of examination subjects. The promotion prospects of the Physical Education teachers were not perceived to be limited compared to their academic counterparts because all of them were teaching academic subjects. Those with specialised training in Physical Education were not in evidence because they were not teaching Physical Education. College lecturers were specialist trained and indicated a much greater degree of success in the implementation of Physical Education programmes. Colleges had superior facilities and equipment although insufficient use of funds was apparent. College lecturers did not feel that they successfully achieved the educational objectives of the subject. In agreement with their western counterparts, they perceived their promotion prospects to be limited. The failure to implement successful programmes of Physical Education in the schools led to the recommendation that preservice specialised training was vitally important but not sufficient and that in-service courses in the form of practical workshops for staff and principals were essential in order to support the preservice initiatives.