Author ORCID Identifier

Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation




Education Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Aaron Beighle

Second Advisor

Dr. Melody Noland


Many children are not meeting national physical activity recommendations and are sedentary during the school day. This has led teachers to implement classroom physical activity to increase movement of their students. This dissertation focused on student perceptions of classroom physical activity and teacher self-efficacy to implement it. This dissertation includes three studies focusing on classroom physical activity: (1) student perceptions of classroom physical activity, (2) an examination of the relationship between teacher self-efficacy and implementation of classroom physical activity, and (3) a description of factors related to teacher implementation of classroom physical activity, including methods of implementation and teacher confidence.

Twelve seventh grade students with experience in classroom physical activity participated in interviews about classroom physical activity. Findings from Study 1 indicated that most students (n = 8) felt that classroom physical activity was beneficial in helping to improve their focus. Half the students perceived classroom physical activity as a contributor to energy increases while at school. Seven students did not view classroom physical activity as a distraction, while eight held positive views about it.

In Study 2, elementary teachers (N = 116) participated in an online survey about their self-efficacy to implement physical activity in the classroom. Self-efficacy to implement classroom physical activity was found to be significantly higher for teachers who do implement physical activity in the classroom, compared to those who do not (p = 0.0006). When comparing teachers with high self-efficacy (score of 4+ overall) versus teachers with low self-efficacy (score of 3 or less), it was discovered that roughly 72 percent of those with over 10 years of teaching experience had overall high self-efficacy, compared with roughly 30 percent for those with less than 10 years of teaching experience. Teachers’ reported days of exercise per week was found to have a positive association on their belief in healthy modeling (p < 0.0001).

Of the 92 teachers who responded to the short-response questions in Study 2, 64 teachers reported implementing classroom physical activity daily. Only 46 teachers indicated how many physical activity ‘breaks’ they implement each day, with 35 reporting implementation of classroom physical activity at least twice per day. Three major themes emerged when teachers were asked why they implement classroom physical activity: (1) improved focus/education (n = 42), (2) reduce stress/provide break (n = 37), and (3) increase movement/exercise (n = 20). Most teachers (n = 68) reported experiencing barriers to implementing classroom physical activity, while 20 perceived no barriers. The most cited barriers to classroom physical activity were a lack of time (n = 33), lack of class space (n = 16), and COVID-19 restrictions or policies (n = 10).

Four themes emerged from teacher interviews in Study 3: (1) already developed programs available with technology is overwhelmingly used by teachers to implement classroom physical activity, (2) teachers are resilient to barriers of classroom physical activity, (3) remote/virtual learning attributed with COVID-19 presented several challenges to teachers when implementing classroom physical activity, and (4) teachers participate with students during classroom physical activity and believe it is important to model physical activities.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

Funding Information

George and Betty Blanda Endowment Fund