Jesse Tanner Beam




School of Education


Doctor of Education (EdD)


Judy Sandlin


Childhood Obesity, Motivation, Physical Education, Positive Reinforcement


Education | Elementary Education and Teaching | Health and Physical Education


The purpose of this qualitative collective case study was to increase understanding of the influential motivating factors of elementary-aged students in physical education (PE) that foster positive reinforcement to manage student engagement. The study was conducted at three different elementary schools in a school district in the southeastern United States. To determine the factors that influence the students' motivation in PE and leisurely physical activity, a set of data collection sources was used. Student interviews, caregiver surveys, and teacher journal entries were utilized to collect purposeful data that identified the specific factors associated with participation. Data was then transcribed and coded to identify reoccurring themes across the cases. The study found multiple factors associated with PE engagement and leisurely physical activity involvement, which are: (a) incentives play a role in motivation; (b) organized and leisurely physical activity foster positive relationships among peers; (c) bullying negatively affects students' motivation; (d) leisurely family activities foster higher engagement levels in children; (e) access to parks, recreational facilities, and youth sports leagues play a role in leisurely physical activity levels; (f) caregivers' involvement in their child's education allows communication between teacher and caregiver to strengthen the PE program; (g) the effectiveness of the classroom management of the teacher ensures all students are provided with an education that is safe and fair; (h) the teacher's ability to use incentives appropriately increases the likelihood of the most desirable behaviors; and (i) consistent school-wide application of the PBIS model reinforces positive student outcomes.