Northbrooks Secondary School PE Department Resilience Program

Northbrooks Secondary School PE Department Resilience Program

11 October 2021
Research

In 2020, the Northbrooks Secondary School Physical Education (PE) department collaborated with The Positive Movement on a yearlong project to study on the effects of Positive Psychology Interventions (PPI) on students’ levels of emotional awareness and ability to work with their emotions.

6 classes of Secondary 3 students were chosen to be part of the study due to the age appropriateness for the scope of the project. Volleyball was also chosen as the common sport across all Secondary 3 classes as it was a new sport to most of the students in the school. 3 classes (2 Express classes and 1 Normal Academic class) were assigned as control classes and 3 classes were assigned as targeted classes. (1 Express class, 1 Normal Academic class and 1 Normal Technical class)

The project was broken into 3 phases.

Phase 1 - Teaching of Positive Psychology Theories and Interventions to PE Teachers through 3 online workshops

As part of the PE department’s professional development, PE teachers went through 3 customized workshop sessions that leveled up the department’s capacity in the area of Positive Psychology. The content of the 3 workshops were designed to suit the department’s needs.

Figure 1: Northbrooks PE Department teachers with Claire Ong and Heng Yang from The Positive Movement taken in January 2020

Phase 2 - Collection of data and introduction of Positive Psychology Interventions

10 sessions of Positive Psychology strategies were crafted and then infused into the Volleyball curriculum to be carried out by the PE teachers of the 3 targeted classes as shown in the table below.

3 chosen PPI (Emotional Thermometer and Palette, Positive Emotion Diet and Strength Spotting) were selected and gradually introduced across the 10 sessions. The other 3 control classes carried out their Volleyball curriculum as they normally would.

Table 1: Schedule of Positive Psychology Interventions


A self-perception survey consisting of 6 questions was designed by The Positive Movement and administered to all the Secondary 3 students during the pre-intervention and post-intervention stage. Students rated their quantitative responses to their questions on a Likert Scale of 1 (Strongly Disagree) to 5 (Strongly Agree).

Figure 2: Students getting feedback from their PE teacher during a lesson


Although the research was intended to be of a quantitative nature, the team thought that it would be meaningful to get some qualitative data to deepen the understanding of what happened during the intervention. As a result of this, a focused group discussion was designed and carried out as well.

Figure 3: Claire Ong and Heng Yang from The Positive Movement conducting a focused group discussion for students across the targeted classes

Phase 3 - Analysis of Results

A paired-sampled t-test was conducted on both targeted and control groups pre and post intervention. The significance level used was 0.05.

Table 2: Change in mean and p-values for Target and Control groups


A paired-sampled t-test was conducted to a target group of students with 76 observations to compare their perceived emotional awareness before and after intervention. There was a significant difference in responses for before (M=14.2, SD=9.14) and after (M=15.7, SD=6.84) with p = 0.00157. These results suggest that the intervention had a positive effect on the students’ emotional awareness.

A paired-sampled t-test was conducted to a target group of students with 76 observations to compare their ability to work with emotions before and after intervention. There was a significant difference in responses for before (M=6.57.2, SD=2.73) and after (M=7.43, SD=2.92) with p < 0.0001. These results suggest that the intervention had a positive effect on the students’ ability to work with emotions.

A paired-sampled t-test was conducted to a target group of 76 students to compare their ability to identify, regulate and shift emotions before and after intervention. There was a significant difference in responses for before (M=20.8, SD=15.5) and after (M=23.2, SD=15.7) with p < 0.0001. These

results suggest that the intervention had a positive effect on the students’ ability to identify, regulate and shift emotions.

The above data generated suggests, with reasonable confidence that the interventions the

department took proved to have a positive impact on students’ ability to identify, regulate and shift their emotions to a large extent.

Aside from the quantitative data gathered, it was also meaningful to learn about the following points gathered from the focused group discussions.

  1. Students found it difficult to talk about emotions
  2. Students became more aware of their emotions due to the increased emphasis on it during PE lessons
  3. Students did not find learning about emotions relevant in their lives at that point in time
  4. Students felt that their teachers seemed to care more about them due to the introduction of PPI

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