Social skills are of vital importance in successful living. Acquisition and performance of social skills in education may rely on several factors. The main aim of this study was to identify the possible influence of age and gender on Greek Cypriot students' social skills ('acquaintance', 'responsibility', 'reward', 'help', 'goals') and total social skills score, in physical education. A secondary aim was to examine whether ethnicity differentiates students' perceptions of their social skills. Four hundred and fifty one students (N = 451) from eight randomly selected schools in Nicosia participated. Four hundred and thirty one of them (n=431) were Greek Cypriot students, from upper elementary (n = 202, Mage = 11.24, SDage = 0.41) and high school (n = 229, Mage = 13.1, SDage = 0.45) while the remaining twenty (n=20) were their foreign classmates. Students completed the Student's Behaviours' Self-Evaluation Scale (Vernadakis, Kellis, Albanidis, Derri, & Kourtesses, 2010). With regard to the first purpose of the study, Manova 2 (age group) X 2 (gender) revealed significant differences between high school Greek Cypriot boys and girls in 'acquaintance', 'reward', 'goals', and in total social skills score as well, in favor of girls. Also, older boys exhibited significantly lower perceptions of 'reward' and 'goals', and lower total social skills score than younger boys, while older girls outperformed the younger in 'acquaintance'. On average, female students displayed higher scores on 'help' and 'responsibility' than their male peers. The comparison between foreign and Greek Cypriot students (a similar group, randomly selected of the corresponding sample), showed that the former outperformed the latter only in 'acquaintance'. The results suggest that students' perceptions vary according to age, gender, and ethnicity. Understanding the effect of these factors is considered imperative to designing and implementing the physical education lesson to address social skills enhancement and facilitate student development.
- Physical education
- Social behaviour