Physical Education as an Element to Improve Social and Citizen Competency. Action Research on the Application of a Programme Based on Conflict-prevention and Conflictresolution from the Area of Physical Education
This dissertation elaborates on the results of an action research project geared at improving students’ social competence and thus fostering the prevention and peaceful resolution of conflicts. To achieve this transformation towards peaceful coexistence, an intervention programme from the field of physical education and the corresponding tutorial sessions were designed and applied, and their effectiveness was scientifically evaluated. The study is justified by three factors: the role of the school in training fair citizens who are capable of creatively dealing with conflicts, the prevention of problems of coexistence at schools, and the contribution of new knowledge on the theme of the basic competences. To attain the objective, PE was prioritised as an engine of social learning because it is an area from which first-hand experiences emanate, while it also requires social interaction for its contents to be developed. From this methodological positioning, the social-critical paradigm enabled us to understand and capture the educational essence and behaviours stemming from the actions. Likewise, the qualitative methodology made it possible to adapt the research process to the complexity of the situations that arise in the classroom and to adopt the simultaneous roles of teacher and researcher. Specifically, the participative action research method was chosen because its reflective structure facilitated getting a group of collaborating teachers involved, resolving the problems that arose, guaranteeing the quality of the scientific knowledge obtained and noting advances in the climate of peaceful coexistence in the PE sessions. Given that the goal was to go beyond the researcher’s perspective, several data- collection instruments were used with the informed consent of the different agents involved: teacher-researcher, students and teachers. Even though the study is particularly based on participant observation and document analysis, which provided qualitative evidence, it was deemed worthwhile to back them with other quantitative data obtained from a questionnaire targeted at students, non-participant observation and a sociometric ranking. Finally, the results triangulated the perspectives of the three agents and were associated with three axes: the causes and resolutions of conflicts in PE, the prosocial behaviours shown by the students during the PE sessions, and the benefits of connecting the PE sessions and tutorials. The main results include the fact that the most frequent causes of conflicts were competitiveness and discrimination based on differences in skill; the teaching intervention led to the majority of conflicts being resolved positively through dialogue and to prosocial behaviours increasing 50%, most notably help among classmates, while at the same time the interdisciplinary nature of the intervention fostered the transfer of social learning.