American Journal of Educational Research
ISSN (Print): 2327-6126 ISSN (Online): 2327-6150 Website: Editor-in-chief: Ratko Pavlović
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American Journal of Educational Research. 2019, 7(8), 570-582
DOI: 10.12691/education-7-8-6
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A Focus Group Approach: Exploring the Feasibility of a Mandatory, No-Credit Programme of Daily Structured Physical Activity in Secondary Schools in Trinidad and Tobago

Valerie Stoute1 and Nicole Camille Parris2,

1Environment and Postgraduate Studies and Research, The University of Trinidad and Tobago, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago

2Science Department, Ministry of Education, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago

Pub. Date: August 21, 2019

Cite this paper:
Valerie Stoute and Nicole Camille Parris. A Focus Group Approach: Exploring the Feasibility of a Mandatory, No-Credit Programme of Daily Structured Physical Activity in Secondary Schools in Trinidad and Tobago. American Journal of Educational Research. 2019; 7(8):570-582. doi: 10.12691/education-7-8-6


This study explores a possible solution for the growing problem of obesity in teenage school children. It examines the feasibility of introducing, as a solution to the obesity problem, a mandatory, no-credit programme of daily structured physical activity (P.A.) into the secondary school curriculum at all levels. Qualitative methods were used to gain insights into the desirability and support for such a programme and the logistics of implementing it. In the first phase of the research a Focus Group discussion was held with six secondary school Physical Education (P.E.) teachers to examine their opinions on these aspects – desirability, support, and logistics for such a programme. This group also articulated their expectations for what support from P.E. teachers, the most likely school personnel to be responsible for such a course, they anticipated would be given to this type of daily structured physical activity programme in secondary schools. Two semi-structured interviews were conducted, one with a retired P.E Sports Officer, an Advocate who had been instrumental previously in helping to introduce the current ‘for-credit’ subject of Physical Education and Sport into the secondary school curriculum, and the other with two current curriculum officers in the Ministry of Education. Thematic Analysis was employed to extract and confirm themes and sub-themes from both the Focus Group and the semi-structured interviews. In this paper, for the Focus group, a consensus matrix is used to summarize the salient information, the level of agreement among the participants for a particular sentiment expressed by any one speaker in the group. Ten thematic areas, which broke down further into 17 sub-themes, were extracted from the Focus group discussion. Among these were the current general state of P.E./P.A. in schools, differences in structured versus unstructured P.A., the implications of launching a compulsory P.A. program, the roles of P.E., P.E. teachers, the government, and parents in fighting obesity in secondary school children, the success of old solutions, and possible new solutions. The Advocate provided important information on the challenges and barriers which existed at the time of the prior introduction of the formal examinable subject on Physical Education, including the belief that this subject had not lived up to expectations. The curriculum officers, on the other hand, provided technical details and advice on the necessary steps for implementation of the type of programme which is the basis of this study. All participants agreed that the formal, examination –assessed subject, Physical Education and Sport, introduced into Trinidad and Tobago’s secondary schools in 2003, had not enhanced the amount of student engagement in physical activity, even for those reading that subject. The participants were almost unanimous in their views that there was reason to be concerned about childhood and adolescent obesity in schools and that more physical activity was needed.

daily structured physical activity Physical Education and Sport Focus Group semi-structured interviews thematic analysis consensus matrix

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