Games in Health Education: A Survey of Pre-service Teachers

Games in Health Education: A Survey of Pre-service Teachers

Margot Kaszap (University of Ottawa, Canada)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-731-2.ch007
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Abstract

Studies indicate that teachers are not effectively encouraging appropriate health and well-being strategies among their students (Turcotte, Gaudreau, & Otis, 2007). Because educational games offer many advantages in promoting health, motivation, and active participation in learning, (Sauvé, Power, IsaBelle, Samson, & St-Pierre, 2002), it is important to determine which types of games health education teachers can use best. Building on health education needs and social representation theory, this chapter presents a study of pre-service (student) teachers to identify social representations that pre-service teachers have about games, including whether they perceived games as supporting learning at home and in school, and which types and aspects of games they preferred. The answers to these questions helped the research team to create games to meet the needs of future teachers in enhancing their students’ health education.
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Health Problems And Youth

Statistics show that young people have increasing health problems in their lives. Indeed, youth health concerns could be described as “nine Ss” (sedentary lifestyle, surplus weight, scrawniness, unhealthy sexuality, sleep (out of step with their biological clocks), stress, substances, $$ and suicide). Although we do not cover all these points here, we examine certain statistics and the connection between health and learning among the young as background for our study.

Sport and Physical Activity

During the school year, young people dedicate, on average, 30 hours per week to school, watch TV from 15 to 26 hours per week, and spend increasing numbers of hours playing electronic games and using the Internet (Clocksin, Watson, & Ransdell, 2002). In a study of 1,847 11-to-15-year-old students in Quebec, Pronovost (2007) found that greater consumption of multimedia corresponded to a lesser degree of physical and cultural activity (p. 125). In Nova Scotia, a 2002 study revealed that the majority of primary and secondary students in the province did not have the minimum exercise required to be healthy. In fact, of the 1,700 students participating in the study, only 10% of 16-year-olds met national exercise standards (Gagné, 2002). In Quebec, it seems that three out of five children failed to meet the minimum 60 minutes a day of activity recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) (Allard, 2008). The Pronovost (2007) study also indicated that children who were active on sports teams expected to be more successful in their school years, and were more likely to believe in their capacities than those who were not part of a sports team.

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