An appreciative inquiry review of the effectiveness of current physical education teaching practices in the Northwest Territories

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Pybus, Colin
Research indicates the Northwest Territories (NWT) needs to increase support toward developing the health and wellbeing of its youth. The role that physical education (PE) plays in promoting student health has been well documented as an essential part of improving health. The research objective is to provide the NWT educational community with the data to understand the current state of PE delivery and the teaching supports needed moving forward. This project fills a gap in understanding how PE is currently delivered in the NWT. An appreciative inquiry (AI) approach provided the framework for this online, mixed-methods study. Current or previous NWT PE teachers were surveyed (n = 32) in September of 2020. I collected insights about current PE practices, the effectiveness of curricular activities in eliciting positive levels of acceptance, engagement and enjoyment in PE students, Indigenous cultural integrations, and identifying improvements for the betterment of instruction. Results indicated that participating teachers had a positive outlook on the state of NWT PE, expressing job satisfaction and indications of NWT students’ positive interactions with PE. Access to PE-specific professional development opportunities, increasing collaboration within the NWT PE community, and creating clear administrative policies and procedures were identified as future supports. These analyses provide an enhanced understanding of current PE practices within the NWT, share successes, and identify steps necessary to enhance PE practices. The application of this study's findings also can be expanded to other PE programs run in similar Arctic, Indigenous and isolated settings.
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