Feeling refreshed: Aotearoa/New Zealand students’ perspectives of the role of healthy behaviours in schools

Dominique Banville, Pamela Kulinna, Ben Dyson, Michalis Stylianou, Rachel Colby, Craig Dryden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to identify students’ perspectives of the role of healthy behaviours in their well-being and school success. Since a number of studies focused on establishing the link between healthy behaviours and learning have relied on quantitative measures, it was deemed important to provide a different perspective on the topic and give students a voice. Participants were 50 Aotearoa/New Zealand nine- and 10-year-old students of various ethnic backgrounds from two elementary schools. Using situated learning theory to determine the impact a school environment that promotes physical activity has on students’ perspectives, four categories were drawn from student focus-group interviews: (1) opportunities to be active, (2) roles of physical activity, (3) students’ misconceptions of health concepts, and (4) students’ support for health education and physical education at their schools. Students in this study were afforded multiple opportunities to be physically active and acknowledged the benefits these bouts of activities gave them while differentiating the types of opportunities and value they gained from them. Within their community of practice, students were sometimes ‘full’ participants as their knowledge was fully constructed, and sometimes ‘peripheral’ participants, needing more time, active engagement and content knowledge to better grasp some concepts. Little health education content knowledge was provided to classroom teachers, which might have caused some of the misconceptions held by students related to the impact of physical activity and nutrition on their brain function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)41-59
Number of pages19
JournalEuropean Physical Education Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017


  • Students’ perspectives
  • elementary schools
  • healthy behaviours
  • physical activity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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