Self-esteem and self-motivation: the impact on pupils of transition within and between schools in england

Por: Julia Lawrence.

Athens 2004: Pre-olympic Congress

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Transition within education is a natural occurrence for children in English schools, as they move from class to class and school to school. Research suggests that during these transitions pupils may experience changes in self-esteem and self-motivation. Whilst much of the research conducted in England has focused around the curriculum subjects of mathematics, science and English, and has identified a tendency for levels of self-esteem and motivation to decline, research looking at physical education is more limited. The aim of the research was therefore to identify what changes, if any, occurred within physical education as pupils moved within and between schools.


Data was collected as part of a cross-sectional study focusing on the transition of pupils from year 6 to year 7, (when a change in school occurred) and year 7 to year 8 (where a change in school year was experienced). Pupils from a total of 8 primary and 3 secondary schools completed the Physical Education Specific Self-Esteem Questionnaire (Reeves and Cooper, 1994) and the Self-Motivation Inventory Modified for Children (Biddle, Akande, Armstrong, Ashcroft, Brooke and Goudas, 1996). Questionnaires were completed during four data collection points, over a 20month period.


Data was analysed using a repeated measures ANOVA. Results indicated significant increases in levels of both self-esteem and self-motivation overtime. Further analysis revealed variations in levels of self-esteem and self-motivation in respect of gender however these were not found to be significant.
From the results obtained it can be concluded that during transitions within and between schools pupils experience increases of self-esteem and self-motivation in respect of physical education, supporting the current body of research relevant to this area. However, such findings contradict research evidence in respect of other curriculum subjects. Whilst the extent of this study prevents generalizations being made, it may be suggested that the changes experienced may reflect changes to teaching style and curriculum content as pupils’ progress through their education.


[1]. Biddle, S et al (1996). International Journal of Sports Psychology, 27, 237-250.
[2]. Reeves, C. and Cooper, M. (1994). British Journal of Physical Education Research Supplement, 15, 19-23.





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