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Research in Learning Speech

What are pre-service teachers attitudes towards the impact of screen time on physical activity? Our group decided to investigate screen time verses physical activity. We found a gap in literature that did not having findings for this concept, so we decided to research the attitude of pre-service teachers towards the impact of screen time on physical activity. Throughout the Western world, obesity among children is increasing at an alarming rate. Research has shown that there is a strong correlation between parents and their children regarding the amount of time spent watching television. The increase and increased availability of technology is having an impact on the amount of physical activity young children engage in (Jago, Fox, Page, Brockton & Thomson, 2010). Research has also shown that particular interventions can assist students to increase the amount of time spent exercising compared to that of sedentary activities (Goldfield, 2011). An online research survey has shown that a mothers opinions and experiences of their children, as well as the perceived developmental benefits of outdoor play greatly influence the extent to which children are exercising (Clements, 2004). Recent study has also found that children desire to work collaboratively with their parents, thus allowing parents to assist in improving the health of their children (Sebire, Jago, Gorely, Cillero & Biddle, 2011). These research articles provided information on children, parents and the obesity correlations associated with physical activity versus screen time. However none of this research identifies pre-service teachers attitudes towards the impact of screen time on physical activity, and therefore this became the basis of the research task. We used a survey of eight questions to gather our data, highlighting that a quantitative method of research was used in surveying our 23 pre-service teacher participants. Within the survey, we asked open-ended questions to discover the individual views of the participants; we asked closed questions in order to understand if they were in a positive or negative frame of mind in regards to questions and ideas posed (Straker, 2012). We also asked a scaled question to highlight where participants sat in regards to their own screen viewing time. The survey was conducted in a closed classroom, which limited influences from other sources. The participants were given the survey and told that it was anonymous and no means of identification would be given out to ensure confidentiality. After completion of the survey, participants gave the completed surveys back to a researcher. The findings that we gathered from our survey were interesting and allowed us to fill the gap in our previous reading. We found that 87% of participants indicated that there is a direct association between screen viewing and the amount of physical activity in which student are undertaking. Our pre-service teachers indicated that 84% of them engaged in two to five hours of screen

viewing time per day, with 8% engaging in over five hours and 8% engaging in less than one hour of screen time per day. There were many suggestions for alternative activities to screen time. 52% of our participants suggested engaging in exercise, physical activity or team sports instead of engaging in screen time. Participants suggesting relaxation alternatives such as reading, shopping or socialising, closely followed this. 11% of participants suggested that work such as jobs or study could be an alterative. All of our participants believed that physical activity gave benefits that screen time could not give such as increased fitness, improved social life and in all health areas. Participants believed that their attitude towards physical activity would affect that of their future students. So respondents stated that they would be active in demonstrating the necessity to participate in physical activity and to encourage participation. Responses also highlighted the need to teach children a balance in life, between exercise and screen time to encourage a healthy lifestyle. 100% of participants believed that they engaged in more physical activity in Primary School than todays Primary School students. They believe that there is an increase in technology available, the types of technology and the access, which children have to screens both at school and at home. It was found that 78% of participants believed that physical activity was more important than screen time due to the related health benefits. However 22% stated that both must be undertaken in our society in order to gain knowledge, remain healthy and keep up with society. 91% of participants believed that sport and physical activity should be made compulsory for all students, even if they do not desire to participate. Participant statements that teachers should find activities in which all students find some level of enjoyment supported this idea. Also that, physical activity assists in social interaction, has many health benefits (social, emotional, mental, etc), and it teaches fundamental skills. 4% of participants were undecided about making physical activity compulsory for students and 4% were against it, stating that students should have a choice. One participant stated maths is compulsory for students who dont like it, what is the difference? This study has great significance within the education spectrum, as children within the Upper Primary years have exceeded television-viewing recommendations, as seen in Jago et al (2010). As this research was conducted on pre-service teachers, the information gathered will impact future students. The findings are significant for education, as pre-service teachers believe that their understanding of physical activities benefits and their personal attitudes towards physical activity and screen time will influence their future students. These pre-service teachers would teach the value of physical activity and how to balance screen time with other activities. Pre-service teachers will strive to become good role models for their future students and will encourage their students to participate in physical activity and will promote healthy attitudes towards physical activity and balancing it with screen time. Like all researchers, we had to adhere to ethical considerations. Our survey was anonymous, so no participants could be identified from their responses. Participants were informed of the research intention prior to being asked to

complete the survey, however the participants were not volunteer as they were expected to participant as part of a subject, highlighting a level of coercion. Participants had no expense other than time in completing the survey. Our research was conduced in a classroom, so our sample size was not very large, which is a limitation to our research. As the participants were all university students undertaking the same course, the sample size does not represent a broad demographic of society. As pre-service teachers were our only participants, their level experience with children in a teaching role is limited. The time given for the creation of the survey by the researchers and completion of the survey by the participants was limited, meaning that some participants may not have given as full an answer as they would have liked. Our only research method was a survey, which limited the type of detail we could gather. The survey was short, with only eight questions, which limited the amount and range of information we could gather from our participants. Another limitation, which we encountered, was that the precise definition of screen time was not present on the survey. This may have skewed results as participants may have defined it differently, or not listened to the oral definition given by researchers prior to completing the survey. The research question; what are pre-service teachers' attitudes towards the impact of screen time on physical activity? has been successfully analysed through our research. The research has provided a good starting point, indicating the gap in knowledge, and showing beneficial and informative results. It indicates there is certainly cause for further research on a larger scale, including a broader demographic. A more in-depth survey would be required to receive the most detailed and reliable results. It would also be interesting to gather the attitudes of existing teachers with years of experience. Overall, this research has highlighted pre-service teachers perceived values and attitudes of the impact of screen time on physical activity.