Multi-Teaching Styles Approach and Active Reflection: Effectiveness in Improving Fitness Level, Motor Competence, Enjoyment, Amount of Physical Activity, and Effects on the Perception of Physical Education Lessons in Primary School Children

Physical education (PE) researchers sustain that the teaching styles adopted by PE teachers play a key role in defining children’s positive experiences during lessons and have a relevant impact on their psychophysical health. However, a limited number of studies has examined the effect of teaching styles on these aspects. The aim of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of an integrated approach mainly based on integration of multi-teaching styles and active reflection (MTA) on the fitness level, motor competence, enjoyment, self-perception, amount of physical activity (PA), and children’s perception of PE, in Italian primary school children. Participants were 121 children from three elementary schools. Children were randomly assigned into two groups: (a) an intervention group (IG) that received PE lessons based on MTA provided by specifically trained PE students, and (b) a control group (CG) that received standard PE lessons (S-PE) from primary school classroom teachers. Both groups engaged in two PE lessons per week lasting 1 h each for 12 weeks. The findings revealed an increase in the children’s fitness level, motor competence, enjoyment and amount of PA in the IG compared to those in the CG. Furthermore, the children of the IG spent more time being engaged on a task, reflecting on it, and wasted less time during PE compared to the children of the CG. Finally, the children of the IG reported higher levels of satisfaction with PE lessons and teaching styles compared to children of the CG. Integration of different teaching styles lead by specifically trained educators can be suggested as a valuable strategy to provide learning experiences of children of primary school to have positive effects on their physical literacy development promoting healthy lifestyles.