EFFICIENCY OF BRIEF COUNSELING METHOD WHEN DEALING WITH ISSUES OF PHYSICAL ACTIVITY OF SENIOR SCHOOLCHILDREN

Фотографии: 

A. Dumciene, professor, Dr.sc.soc. 
V. Rakauskiene, doctoral student. Lithuanian sports university, Kaunas

Key words: physical activity, counseling, pedagogical communication, physical education.

Introduction.  Adolescence and youth constitute the period of life when the potential of the intellectual and physical development is at its highest and social skills including health-related competences are being formed; hence a decrease of physical activity (PA) in the period of adolescence is seen as an issue by scholars representing a wide variety of countries [1, 4].

The thematic area of the academic research on physical education [2, 9, 10] suggests the philosophers of physical education to be looking for the educational technologies enabling the optimal education environment for both pupils and teachers.

The potential of young people when taking attitude-related decisions with the direct effect on their health is most notable when they assist in establishing, selecting and defining their social, physical and educational environments.

The purpose of the study was to make an experiment-based evaluation of brief counseling directed to the efficiency of dealing with the issues of enhancement of physical activity and education among senior schoolchildren.

Materials and methods. Three schools of general education located in Kaunas City (Lithuania) were selected as the base of the experiment. The experiment involved 192 pupils aged 15 to 19 with insufficient physical activity voluntarily. Activity levels were established before and after the experiment using the International Physical Activity Questionnaire brief form [5].

The experimental (92 pupils) and control (100 pupils) groups were made, homogeneous in terms of gender, age, PA levels and distribution in classes (p<0.05).

12 specially trained teachers of physical education (7 females and 5 males) were involved in the experiment; who observed personally behavioral changes of every subject of the experimental group during PE classes. The subjects of the experimental group were given instructions concerning available consultations with a school psychologist regarding PA issues if needed. 62% of them contacted the psychologist on their own while 38% did it on the advice of PE teachers.

The complicacies of the physical activity issues were subjectively evaluated by the pupils themselves in a 10-point scale as well as by their teachers using the same scale where maximum points indicated most urgent PA issues. The efficiency of counseling was repeatedly evaluated after each of the three counseling sessions as well as three and six months after the experiment.

Testing in the control group was performed before and after the experiment.

The philosophy of counseling is based on the assumption that each pupil has multiple strong points, capable of changing himself and his life. The material for counseling was worked based on the method of Brief solution focused counseling (BSFC) [3]. One of its key principles is to transform expectations and objectives of the one counseled to specific and clearly defined changes in behavior. The questionnaire with key questions was applied. The pupils’ progress when dealing with activity issues was evaluated in terms of the extent of subjective evaluation by comparing the initial and the final values as ‘no progress or minor progress’ (up to two points or negative value), ‘medium’ (3 or 4 points) and ‘substantial’ (5 to 9 points). Hypotheses were checked using Student t criterion or Pearson c2 with the significance level set at p<0.05. SPSS for Windows 13.0 program version was used for statistical processing of the research data.  

Results and discussion. The information of the subjective evaluations of the progress in activity issues in the experimental group in the course of BSFC is adduced in Table 1.

Proceeding from the data of Table 1, pupils mostly evaluated their PA issues as less complicated with each subsequent session; these changes were statistically significant (p<0.05).

Table 1. The dynamics of subjective evaluations of PA complexity within counseling 

Stage of self-evaluation of complexity of PA issues

M ± SD

t

p                  (I –II)

t

p             (I – III)   

t

p             (II – III)

I Session 1

7.93±1.49

14.14

0.0001

18.10

0.0001

 

12.40

 

0.0001

II Session 2

5.42±1.82

III Session 3

2.91± 2.25

IV in 3 months

3.98±2.68

13.25*

0.0001*

 

 

 

 

V in 6 months

4.47±2.98

10.51*

0.0001*

 

 

 

 

Here:  * = compared to self-evaluation on the counseling session 1

Proceeding from the data of Table 1, pupils mostly evaluated their PA issues as less complicated with each subsequent session; these changes were statistically significant (p<0.05).  

In the end of the experiment 44.6% of the subjects of the experimental group marked a significant progress while 21.7% had an average progress when dealing with PA-related issues regarding the activity boost. Objective activity indices increased; the number of low active pupils decreased from 37.0% to 25.0% while the share of active pupils increased from 31.5% to 46.7%. 96.0% of the pupils from the control group lacked progress in the issues of PA increase. Hence the values of physical activity issues in the experimental group increased significantly compared to the control group (c2=83.17, p<0.05).

Even though objective evaluations of PA complexity improved compared to the Counseling session 3, significant differences were spotted as against urgency levels during the Counseling session 1; significant differences were also observed compared to the data 3 and 6 months after the experiment (t=13.25, p<0.05 and t=10.51, p<0.05 respectively).

As proved by the results of the study, efficiency of the BSFC method is not related to the pupils’ gender (p<0.05).

The activity issues the pupils consulted on were divided into three groups: intentions to increase one’s physical activity (29.3%), pedagogical communication and behavior in PE classes (31.5%) and insufficient involvement in PE classes (39.1 %). Proceeding from the analysis of the experimental results, the progress in the allocated issues was not same remarkable as shown in Table 2. The key positive changes in the experimental group took place merely due to the intentions of more physical activity (p<0.05) while the teachers and pupils’ communication issues in PE classes and insufficient involvement in PE classes in most cases were mostly settled not so efficiently (p>0.05). 

Table 2.  Progress levels achieved by pupils in solution of PA issues by the results of pupils’ self-evaluation

 

Physical activity-related issue

Progress in dealing with issues, n (%)

Minor

Medium

Prominent

Pedagogical communication in PE classes

13 (50.0)

10 (38.5)

3 (11.5)

Insufficient involvement in PE lessons

10 (38.5)

6 (23.1)

10 (38.5)

Intention to increase one’s physical activity

4 (11.1)

4 (11.1)

28 (77.8)

 

The data of the questionnaire of PE teachers indirectly approved the pupils’ subjective self-evaluation of their progress dealing with PA issues. Yet the teachers’ and the pupils’ opinions were completely different regarding two categories of issues. The behavior of the experimental group during PE classes after a course of counseling sessions was estimated by teachers as less troublesome (significant change: t=10.86; p<0.05); pupils got more involved into PE classes (t=8.43; p<0.05) than before the experiment. It should be noted that prior to the experiment on the BSFC method, teachers of PE treated equally both problem teenagers, consulting on the pedagogical communication issues, and those insufficiently involved in PE classes (t= -1.13, p>0.05).

As assumed by the teachers, even though they spotted remarkable changes in pupils’ behavior during PE classes, the use of BSFC was far more efficient in dealing with insufficient involvement in PE classes compared to the issues of pedagogical communication or behavior in PE classes (t=2.50; p<0.05). 

The significant decrease of physical activity in adolescents was said [1] to imply the necessity of improving physical education, which can be contributed by brief counseling [11]. The need for pedagogical supervision is also highlighted [11] with the objective of tracing individual causes of insufficient physical activity in order to develop correction measures of inappropriate behavior; with pedagogical communication to be improved on the grounds of the principle of respect and strictness [6].

Brief counseling as an intervention method aimed at changing the attitude to healthy way of life and increase of physical activity is getting more widely used [1, 7, 11]. A significant peculiarity of the method is a low number of contacts with the individual motivated to be physically active [11].

The obtained data proves the positive effect of the BSFC method in stimulating pupils for the process of physical education, increase of physical activity and enhancement of pedagogical communication between pupils and teachers.

Conclusions. The Brief solution focused counseling is an efficient method of improvement of senior pupils’ physical education and physical activity.

The majority (66.3%) of the pupils of the experimental group marked big or average progress in the issues of increase of physical activity.

The pupils’ subjective evaluations of the progress in the PA-related issues were proved by teachers’ opinions.

The most evident changes within counseling were obtained in terms of the increase of physical activity; whereas the issues of communication with PE teachers in the lessons were settled less efficiently.

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Author’s contacts: a.dumciene@lkka.lt