The promotion of sports-related health activities at educational facilities represents the area of concern for the healthcare sector as it can significantly reduce the occurrence of health complications and promote positive health and lifestyle choices among students. Because of this, it was chosen to focus on exploring the integration of sports health education into the curriculum of the University of Jeddah, which is among the critical institutions in Saudi Arabia that dedicates considerable time and effort to ensure that its students make healthy life choices and engage in physical activities.
The purpose of the study is to explore whether the introduction of a sports health education instructional program at Jeddah University would have a positive impact on the prevalence of chronic and acute diseases among students. It has been hypothesized that the introduction of such programs would have an overall beneficial effect on both students and educators at the facility. With the help of quantitative data analysis, using primary and secondary methods, a comparison of results of the two approaches was conducted to determine deviations in findings.
Primary purposes of data collection included questionnaires, interviews, and observations, while secondary methods included the analysis of reports from the university departments as well as health care institutions. Involving the sample of 250 randomly selected participants (tutors from different Saudi Arabian educational institutions), evidence-based findings were acquired to facilitate the understanding of how can the integration of sports-related health activities benefit the health and well-being of students at Jeddah University.
Exploring the way in which higher education institutions have promoted activities related to sports health is the key objective of the current study. The rising number of cases associated with the disease among the student population requires such institutions to facilitate the improvement of health and fitness. As mentioned by Al-Hazzaa and AlMarzooqi (2018), the prevalence of such chronic conditions as diabetes, cancer, and obesity increases the concern for the health of the population contributes to the decrease in the quality of life as well as premature deaths. Thus, the current study is focused on raising the question about the importance of health education as well as how colleges in Saudi Arabia can improve the health of their students and encourage them to engage in health-promoting activities.
The chapter pertaining to the literature review is targeted at exploring the range of research associated with the importance of promoting active lifestyles among students. In the Saudi Arabian context, the problem is essential to consider despite the fact that the government has changed policies to enable sports education in schools and other educational institutions. It is expected to find a defined need in the literature to integrate sports education into the everyday learning of students as well as the work of teachers.
The Cognitive Learning Theory represents the critical theoretical foundation for the current study. It provides an explanation for various mental processes and how they were influenced by multiple external and internal processes that facilitate the learning of individuals. Since physical education pedagogy has predominantly seen as drill-style teaching, limited attention has been given to the integration of theoretical educational models that support practical pedagogical approaches (Usher, Edwards, & de Meyrick, 2015).
More cognitive involvement of students in physical education and sports is needed to strengthen the capabilities of pedagogical approaches and ensure effective critical and creative thinking among students. The cognitive learning theory is thus applied to the current study because it also considers the social aspect of learning, and in the educational context, the social interactions between students in sports can alter the behaviors of learners as a result of exposure to new experiences. Therefore, the social component of learning will represent the critical basis for exploring the integration of sports health education in the context of the University of Jeddah.
Review of Literature
This section will be dedicated to the exploration of research conducted on the subject of integrating sports education into the curriculum of institutions. It is essential to understand the Saudi Arabian context of the study to evaluate the efforts of the government targeted at improving sports education at schools and universities. Sports education as a curriculum approach was studied from the perspective of research conducted in different educational contexts.
The Saudi Arabian Context
In place of confining health education processes as the key to preventing premature deaths and diseases among the population, the concept is explored in association to the process of learning. Understanding the context within which the study is conducted is of importance because it offers a perspective on the existing issues as well as methods intended for their elimination. The health resources that facilitate a good quality of life can manifest themselves in different ways, which is why researchers have dedicated their studies to exploring the integration of health education into the curriculum (Quennerstedt, 2018).
In the context of Saudi Arabia, health education has gained tremendous attention from researchers due to the declining health of the young population. As mentioned by Al-Hashem (2016), health education has been gaining importance in the country since the late 1900s as a response to the rising health concerns of the population, including young people. The 1980s were particularly successful for the healthcare sector of the country due to the boost in the constructions of hospitals and primary health care centers.
Activities in health education have steadily increased between 1985 and the late 1990s (Al-Hashem, 2016). In 1997, health education was seen in a much more positive light by both public and professionals, with the media coverage dedicating more time to the issue. In terms of the relatively modern developments, initiatives targeted at promoting more exceptional educational skills were have been introduced from 2007 onwards, with the Ministry of Health facilitating the prevention of chronic conditions through education.
In 2013, the National Committee of Health Education was founded alongside the Charitable Society for Health Communication to oversee the country-wide educational strategies targeted at health promotion and disease prevention (Al-Hashem, 2016). At this time, health educators in the country can work with the Ministry of Health, the private, public, and academic sectors to facilitate the development of health associations. Overall, Saudi Arabia is integrating considerable effort into the integration of sports education into the curriculum as well as promoting the overall healthy behaviors among the population. In the country, health education has transformed into a profession that requires continuous training and development to address the future challenges of the health care sphere.
Sports Education as a Curriculum Approach
Sports education as a curriculum approach has been a priority for different educational institutions. As mentioned by Farias, Valerio, and Mesquita (2018), the teaching and learning of games and activities based on sports have represented an important form of health education curricula. There is substantial evidence suggesting that the model supporting engagement in sports can benefit the emergence of positive social goals as well as healthy sports behaviors.
Since there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to implementing physical education sports techniques (Kirk, 2013), physical education programs should consider the various abilities of students to execute their motor skills according to circumstances and various situations in regards to the game and sports-related activities. Therefore, most studies on encouraging sports education focused on the competency and participation of students and their involvement with sports (Araújo, Mesquita, Hastie, & Pereira, 2016).
However, Farias et al. (2016) pointed out that despite the positive results of integrating sports education into the curriculum, the prolonged proposal for embedding this aspect of education has not yet unequivocally established. The reasons for this gap in integration are varied; for example, studies have found the lack of student improvement when games and exercises are implemented (Mahedero, Calderón, Arias, Hastie, &Guarino, 2015). Another reason for the ineffective integration of physical activities into the educational curriculum is the lack of validated conceptual frameworks to facilitate game-based pedagogies.
Namely, the potential for transferring sports education across the curriculum relies on the level of preparedness of educational facilities to address the needs of their students regarding sports training. The aspect of participation plays an integral role in the integration of sports education into the curriculum. As mentioned by Farias et al. (2018), the participation of learners in consecutive seasons of sports games pertaining to the same category can enable the transfer of long-term performance and strengthen students’ capabilities in sustaining healthy behaviors through playing games.
However, when developing programs that aim to positively influence students’ fitness, special considerations should be given to the design of the tasks. Instructors play important roles in this area because they can conduct regular assessments of their students’ progress and work on developing programs that will be the most beneficial for sustaining the effectiveness of students in the maintenance of positive sports behaviors.
When studying the implementation of programs promoting sports health education in educational facilities, researchers have reported differences between the actual and expected program outcomes (Darlingron, Violon, & Jourdan, 2018). The successful implementation of such programs has been attributed to the mode of their introduction, the home/school relationship, leadership management within educational facilities, as well as the level of delegated power.
Importantly, there is no unified program that can benefit all educational facilities, which points to the need for the management of schools and universities to be more attentive to the demands of their students in terms of introducing health promotion programs into the curriculum. Therefore, context matters when it comes to the integration of such programs at various educational facilities. While some may have more resources and training to enable the integration of sports education into the curriculum, other facilities may be limited in their capabilities and thus unable to be effective in its integration.
A critical perspective on sports health education was offered by Althuwaini (2018) who investigated the integration of the sports education model in the teaching of athletics in the context of a Kuwait middle school. While the study was primarily focused on the athletics curriculum, the scholar identified the need to integrate sports education into any curriculum to facilitate group learning, self-assessment, the promotion of student engagement, and positive health and lifestyle choices. Athletic challenges, as well as goals intended for promoting health education among students, encourage students to plan and evaluate their sports capabilities as well as get motivated to become better through the integration of valuable experiences associated with various athletic skills.
Within the context of sports education as a curriculum approach, the role of educators should not be undermined. As physical education is a multi-faceted subject, teachers are expected to have appropriate education in order to be accountable for the various demands of the subjects (Stroebel, Hay, & Bloemhoff, 2019). This points to the need to evaluate the capabilities of teachers in facilitating the effective integration of physical education into the curriculum. According to Stroebel et al. (2019), such issues as assessment problems, the inappropriate allocation of teachers and their inefficient rotation, the lack of knowledge and understanding, as well as insufficient in-service training prevents teachers from facilitating the effective integration of health education into the curriculum. As found by the scholars, there is a need for re-skilling to equip teachers with essential skills and knowledge for facilitating the efficient teaching of physical education.
Statement of the Problem
Health issues associated with the rising occurrence of chronic conditions such as cancer, diabetes, and other illnesses decrease the quality of life among the population of Saudi Arabia. The participation in positive health-related activities represents a potential for preventing the widespread occurrence of health complications and improving the overall health of the population. As mentioned by Mahmoud, Al-Zalabani, and Abdulrahman (2016), public health initiatives have been consistently integrated into the sphere of education to facilitate the understanding of the existing limitations in health and well-being.
Although educational policies in the country have changed in favor of including sports education at institutions, the lack of physical activity among young people still represents a significant challenge to the sphere of healthcare. Therefore, the current study explores the effectiveness of integrating a sports health education instructional program into the curriculum at the University of Jeddah.
Research Questions and Hypotheses
The main research question to be answered in the study is, “What are the effects of the integration of sports health education instructional program into the curriculum of Jeddah University in Saudi Arabia?” Supporting research questions are the following:
- Is there a connection between the occurrence of adverse health conditions and the declining involvement of students in healthy lifestyles and sports?
- Are lecturers well-equipped to provide sufficient health education to Jeddah University students?
- Does Jeddah University deliver enough resources to facilitate the integration of the health education program into the curriculum?
- What barriers can prevent the implementation of the sports education instructional program as a compulsory discipline?
- Will the integration of sports education into the curriculum affect the capabilities of instructors to handle emergency situations.
The null hypothesis, which represents a default position related to events related to the implementation of the sports education instructional program. The null hypothesis for the study is that Jeddah University is not effectively prepared to include sports health education classes in the curriculum of the educational facility. The hypothesis, which refers to the proposed explanation of a given phenomenon, is that the introduction of a sports health educational program would have a positive influence on both lecturers and students. Overall, the research will aim to explore the willingness of Jeddah University to include sports education into the curriculum, the degree of support that educators can provide to their students, as well as the degree of the ability to manage emergencies related to health-related activities.
This section of the research is dedicated to describing the procedures used for conducting data collection and analysis procedures. The research is of quantitative nature, which is aimed at making generalizable findings of the population (Leung, 2015). The findings of the study can be further used for qualitative research, which will provide more in-depth information about the perspectives of teachers concerning the integration of a sports education instructional program into the educational facility in the context of Saudi Arabian institutions.
The current study will be of a quantitative design, which implies the systematic investigation of a given phenomenon through collecting data and conducting statistical, computational, and mathematical techniques. Quantitative studies are widely applied in the context of social sciences, thus collecting quantitative data with the help of methods that would provide quantifiable data for further analysis. In the context of current research, a questionnaire design was chosen as the primary method of data collection. It is intended to address research objectives in order to minimize non-sampling bias and facilitate an effective method of collecting vital information.
Study Population and Sample Selection
Data from 250 teachers working in different schools in Saudi Arabia is expected to be collected to study the attitudes toward the integration of sports health instructional programs into the curriculum of an educational institution. Such a large sample of participants is necessary because of the wide scope of the problem’s coverage. The larger the number of potential participants, the higher is the likelihood for discovering diverse trends, opinions, and perspectives on the implementation of sports education at learning facilities. The fact that the participants are expected to work at different educational institutions enables the expectation that they will provide an abundance of information on best practices of the program’s integration as well as stories telling the limitations that their schools or universities have experienced while educating students on health education.
Random sampling is the method that will be used for choosing participants for the research. It ensures that each member of the subject population has the same chance of being chosen to participate in research. Simple random sampling is the approach that is the most straightforward in its application to research and implies choosing a desired sample size of the population to ensure that every individual (e.g., every teacher) has equal potential for participating in the study (Elfil & Negida, 2017). First, a list of educational facilities in Saudi Arabia will be compiled, ensuring that as many institutions are included.
They will be numbered consecutively to facilitate the random sampling of facilities. Out of the list of numbered facilities, five institutions will be randomly selected. Random numbers assigned to institutions will be drawn with the help of randomization software. The same method of sampling will be applied to choosing the teachers working at the facilities. In the case when there are not enough teachers in giving facilities to ensure the 250-participant sample, additional facilities will be added to the sample with the help pf the same method of randomization.
As applied to the current study, instrumentation refers to the use of measurement devices (in this case, questionnaires) in order to make findings about the subject matter of research. In this study, the researcher uses subject-completed instruments. While the researcher developed the questionnaire, the answers are given by participants, which is attributed to the subject-completed nature of the instrument.
During the data collection process, the participants are given a variety of questions in order to achieve variability in perspectives. Multiple choice questions and Likert-type scale questions are the most frequently used in the study because they are easy to understand while the answers can be easily employed in the process of data analysis. Multiple-choice questions are among the most commonly usedused forms of survey questions that offer respondents the opportunity to choose one or multiple answers out of several options. In the case of the current questionnaire, the respondents will be expected to give one response to facilitate data analysis. Likert-type scale questions will include five-point agreement scales used for measuring respondents’ agreement with various statements.
Validity and Reliability
Both validity and reliability represent indicators that point to the quality of research at hand. They show how well the method used in a study measures a phenomenon. While reliability is associated with the consistency of a measure, validity implies its accuracy (Bolarinwa, 2015). The chosen method of collecting data, questionnaire, can facilitate internal and external validity. Internal indicates the extent to which research can establish a reliable cause-and-effect relationship between the outcome and the treatment.
Randomization of the study sample is the critical strength contributing to the internal validity of the current study because the random assigning of participants can ensure that there is systematic bias existing between the groups. A questionnaire that is based on a form of a random sampling technique can, therefore, be representative of a particular population under study and thus facilitate the production of findings that are generalizable to that population. External validity explains the degree to which the outcome of a study can be applied to other settings (Myers, 2014). Thus, the generalizability of the outcome is expected to be present in the case if research is externally valid. The research has vast potential for being replicated in a multitude of contexts, which makes it highly externally valid.
Research reliability explains the degree to which the developed method produces stable and consistent results. The reliability of the study will be assessed with the help of internal consistency, which refers to the consistency of participants’ responses across items on a multiple-item measure (Mohajan, 2017). This is possible through posing several similar questions in the questionnaires but phrase them differently. If the responses to these questions given by the same respondent are similar, then the questionnaires should be considered having internal consistency.
Data Collection Procedures
Primary and secondary methods of data collection will be implemented in the study to facilitate further analysis of data. The primary method of quantitative data collection will include questionnaires. In the context of quantitative research, questionnaires are useful for data collection because of their convenience. The researcher can conduct them in person, over the phone, or with the help of social media or emails. This primary method of data collection was chosen for the current study because of a large sample of 250 participants, which meant that the researcher had to collect significant volumes of data and getting the most concise details possible.
Another important reason for choosing questionnaires as a primary method of data collection is the method’s overall efficiency. Since they can be used in combination with random sampling techniques that facilitate representativeness, they are cost-effective and therefore do not require an excessive amount of resources for successful implementation. Besides, a questionnaire can cover samples that are spread geographically, which is especially important in the case of the current study. Since the 250 participants are expected to be located in multiple destinations around Saudi Arabia, the questionnaire is a data collection method that will ensure the wide sample coverage.
Depending on the location of the participants, the questionnaire will be carried out in different ways. Face-to-face interviews represent the method of data collection through questionnaires in the case if participants are in immediate proximity to the researcher.
Face-to-face data collection will be implemented in the study when the participants agree to meet with the researcher. Telephone questionnaires will be applied in cases when participants do not have time to meet face-to-face or when this method of interviewing is more comfortable for them. Questionnaires sent via email will be the most widely used method of data collection because of their convenience and the ease of use. They give participants the opportunity to answer questions whenever they can and submit them to the research for data analysis. When contacting potential participants, the interviewer will inquire about the most convenient ways for them to respond to questionnaires.
The secondary method of data collection will be associated with the practical assessment of students’ first-aid skills and knowledge. Students from the randomly-selected educational facilities will be asked to complete the short assessments that demonstrate their practical knowledge. In addition, data on students’ knowledge and skills will be collected from previous research findings to facilitate the process of comparison between the findings of the current study and those made by scholars in the past. The comparison of data would facilitate the increased accuracy of conclusions in order to make final recommendations on how to successfully integrate the sports education program into the curriculum. It is crucial to collect information from previous research because of the need to associate the findings of the current study with the ones that were collected by scholars across the discipline.
Data Analysis Procedures
To analyze the data collected from questionnaires with teachers, inferential statistics will be used. Inferential statistics use a random sample of data that was taken from a population in order to describe and make appropriate inferences about the target population. The properties of the participants will be analyzed in order to derive estimates about the general attitudes of the population regarding the integration of the sports education program into the curriculum at Jeddah University. To measure the findings, a t-test and ANOVA will be used. The T-test represents a statistical hypothesis test in which the test statistic follows the t-distribution under the null hypothesis (Kim, 2015).
The analysis of variance, ANOVA, refers to a statistical technique used for checking whether the means of the two (and more) groups have any significant difference (Aryadoust & Raquel, 2019). Thus, this data analysis method is used for checking the influence of various factors on identified means of different samples.
When collecting data from teachers with the help of questionnaires, it is imperative to consider the ethical issues that may arise from such a data collection method. The researcher must ensure that the information provided by the study participants is kept confidential. This is possible through assigning numbers to each participant to avoid the disclosure of their names, addresses, as well as other personal and professional information. In this way, respondents can be more open to giving honest answers to questions because their data is not involved in the questionnaires. Moreover, the postal option of questionnaire administration is not included in the data collection procedure, which strengthens the security of participants’ information.
All teachers involved in the study will be presented with informed consent forms prior to completing the questionnaires. These forms will introduce the study and provide the purpose for its implementation in order for the participants to be aware of the reasons because of which the research is being conducted. In addition, the informed consent form will communicate to the participants that in being involved in the study, they decide to share vital information pertinent to the research voluntarily. By signing the consent form, teachers confirm their willingness to participate and add to the vast body of knowledge associated with the integration of sports education into the curriculum. It is important to attain informed consent to protect the researcher from potential litigation from study participants and make sure that the scholar and the participants share a mutual opinion of the study.
In the current study, several limitations of research are necessary to mention. While random sampling will ensure representativeness and a low level of bias, there is a risk of limited outcomes in quantitative research. Since the questionnaires use structured and close-ended questions, there is a possibility of limited outcomes, which means that the results cannot always represent the actual occurring in generalized forms.
Since respondents have limited response options that were designed by the researcher, the outcomes thus ultimately depend on the perspective taken by a scholar when designing the questions. Another significant limitation of the study refers to the limited availability of secondary data that can be applied to the context of research. While the subject matter is widespread, there has been limited research conducted on the topic of implementing a sports education instructional program at educational facilities. Finally, data may not be robust enough in order to make conclusions regarding study findings.
The quantitative design of the study is intended to minimize research bias while the use of questionnaires will decrease bias. The study involving 250 participants is expected to facilitate a high degree of representativeness and provide robust findings on the basis of their experiences working in the educational fields. The random selection of participants as well as institutions in which they work is another essential step for achieving representativeness and limiting bias. Evidence-based findings will be acquired to facilitate the understanding of how can the integration of sports-related health activities benefit the health and well-being of students at Jeddah University.
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