Does physical education influence eye-hand coordination? The Lifestyles of our Kids intervention study

L. J. Wicks, R. D. Telford, R. B. Cunningham, S. J. Semple, R. D. Telford

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    In Australian government-funded primary schools, the responsibility for physical education (PE) falls mainly on general classroom teachers, many of whom possess limited PE training. This study sought to examine the impact of specialist-taught PE on eye-hand coordination (EHC) development. In this 4-year cluster-randomized intervention, participants were 187 boys and 172 girls initially in grade 2 in 29 primary schools, where no school employed university-trained specialist PE teachers. In 13 (intervention) schools, specialist PE teachers conducted 268 PE classes (two 45-minute sessions/wk) from grade 2 to grade 6. The intervention was based on traditional PE educational objectives, including fundamental motor skills, but did not specifically focus on EHC. The remaining 16 (control) schools continued with common-practice PE taught by general classroom teachers (30-60 min/wk). EHC was measured by a ball throw and wall-rebound catch test and recorded at ages 8, 10, and 12 (SD 0.3) at ends of grades 2, 4, and 6, respectively. There was steady yearly improvement of EHC in both groups, but no evidence of any intervention effect in boys (P=.88) or girls (P=.20). The introduction of specialist-taught PE during 4 years of primary school did not influence EHC development. Considering evidence that classroom teachers make little contribution to PE in this jurisdiction, together with the steady progression of EHC over the 4 years, other influences such as organized sport, after-school activities, natural development, and parental instruction are conceivably more influential factors in EHC development during primary school years.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1824-1832
    Number of pages9
    JournalScandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports
    Issue number12
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017


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