Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Education (MAE)



First Advisor

Susan O'Conner

Second Advisor

Carol Enke


Physical education has been shown to positively increase students' social, emotional, and cognitive domains as well as their physical health. Despite these unarguable results, physical education class continues to be reduced in schools. Obesity rates are at an all-time high and for the first time in our history, the generation of children 10-12 years old is projected to live five years less than their parents. Teachers cannot tackle this huge task on their own, they need more support, time and resources, and we need to hear first-hand from the children. Through qualitative methods using interviews and descriptive analysis, this study uses the phenomenological approach to examine students' perspectives of physical education class and fitness activities. Furthermore, the study investigates how to increase participation in middle school PE students and inspire students to continue to be physically active outside of class. This research provides perspectives' regarding the benefits students' gain from PE as well as the role motivation plays in students' success. In addition it explores how confidence levels affect PE outcomes and what curriculum model suits middle school students best.


SC 11.MAE.2015.Leland.HM