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versión On-line ISSN 1729-8091

EduSol vol.22 no.78 Guantánamo ene.-mar. 2022  Epub 11-Ene-2022



Motor autonomy: An idea contextualized to the therapeutic area of university physical education

0000-0001-6045-4598Arbenis Ruiz Lores1  *  , 0000-0001-6828-0625Francisco Bayeux Guevara1  , 0000-0001-6340-9450José Ezequiel Garcés Carracedo1 

1Universidad de Guantánamo, Cuba.


Motor autonomy and its development in students of the therapeutic area of physical education at the University of Guantánamo is approached as an element that improves their training and didactic dynamics. The method of analysis and synthesis allowed proposing constructs with dialectic character as a basis for its introduction in the referred therapeutic area, which has as a fundamental motive the demands posed by the base document for the elaboration of the E curricula in the formation of the Higher Education professional, which suggests a gnoseological study of the concept.

Key words: Motor autonomy; Therapeutic area; University Physical Education; Development of motor autonomy; Gnoseological study


Currently in Cuban Higher Education, there is an increased number of students with diseases that condition them by medical criteria to perform Physical Education, which as a discipline of the curriculum is mandatory for its contribution to the development of the student's personality. As a consequence, this health condition differentiates their needs, so they receive the referred discipline in the therapeutic area of university physical education. However, the stylized didactics in the teaching-learning process of the aforementioned therapeutic area hinders the results in this context.

Regarding the stylized didactics in the therapeutic area of university physical education, the Basic Document for the elaboration of E curricula, for training in Higher Education establishes among its priorities the development of competences, one of them is related to autonomy and personal initiative, since it creates individuals capable of making informed decisions, according to the context of action and their interests.

For this reason, it is necessary for teachers of the therapeutic area of university physical education to assume or conceive forms of teaching that promote the development of these competencies in university students of the aforementioned therapeutic area.

Consequently, it is considered that the development of motor autonomy is an element that will enhance the formation of university students, from a teaching-learning process in the referred therapeutic area, dynamic, developmental and sustainable in the relationship of the subjects of Physical Education I, II, III, IV. While the student builds his own point of view according to his motor-cognitive and socio-affective needs as an age group (17 and 25 years old) that reaches physical maturity according to his age.

In pedagogy, autonomy reaches great relevance today, as reflected in international studies from Physical Education, focused on relating teaching conceptions that promote student autonomy and autonomy support by teachers, with several variables, among them stand out, Gómez (2012), conceives a teaching intervention strategy in Physical Education to develop autonomy in students, where he refers that specific intervention programs help the teacher to orient his teaching towards the support of student autonomy, and concludes the constant nature of the development of this category.

Aguado, Díaz, Hernández and López (2016), propose a conception on motivation from the teacher's discourse, as a support to student autonomy, in it a developmental didactics is shown, from the orientation. Everything previously discussed in the conceptions provided by the aforementioned authors, demonstrates the importance of autonomy to enhance the formation and personality of the university student of the therapeutic area of university physical education, and the dynamics that this contributes to the referred teaching-learning process.

In the literature reviewed at the national and territorial level, several authors stand out, those who present theoretical arguments on relevant aspects regarding the incidence of the didactic activity, in the student's motor-cognitive and socio-affective activity, which lead to an autonomous action in Physical Education and the conservation of the state of health by physical-motor exercise.

However, there is a theoretical gap related to the development of motor autonomy, which is based on the didactic action of the teacher in Higher Education. Therefore, from the need to know about the development of motor autonomy in the university context, the systematization of the theoretical references on the development of motor autonomy in Physical Education is proposed as an objective.

The research justifies the use of theoretical research methods such as the analytical-synthetic, to determine the problemical level through the study and critical reflection of the specialized bibliography. It also allowed synthesizing the theoretical references on the development of motor autonomy in the teaching-learning process of university Physical Education.


1.2. Systematization of the theoretical foundations on motor autonomy in the teaching-learning process of Physical Education.

Autonomy in general, from the diversity of its use in different contexts, is considered a generalized concept that is central to modern practical philosophy. It also provides a normative foundation for the constitutional state through ideas in different areas such as: political, economic and personal from of law and human dignity. Therefore, from the theory the idea of autonomy is fragmented, and in this research it is approached from the meanings that make up the idea of motor autonomy.

The Dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy states that: "autonomy is understood as the condition of being dependent on no one in certain concepts". This definition is not very broad; however, it allows us to approach a first idea of what will later be understood as motor autonomy. It is valid to point out that there are other related concepts such as: self-government, self-management, self-realization, autarchy, self-determination and independence, which applied to the sphere of learning refer to developmental teaching styles, with the intention of highlighting the active role of the student.

Also, it is contacted that autonomy is a category identified within emotional intelligence, which in pedagogy is a meter of the student's behavior regarding learning, referring to the possibilities of training from reason, responsibility when making decisions and creative power independently.

According to Carrillo (2017, p. 41):

Motor autonomy is the capacity, aptitude, ability and awareness to understand the body in a given time and space, and it is also the free, spontaneous, independent, creative and emancipated way of responding to society through the body, under criteria that express the personality of the subject in an authentic and genuine sense.

Definition in which the author highlights the potential of autonomy in the formation of the personality as a capacity, aptitude, ability, and also refers slightly to motor skills seen only in their motor aspect when referring to corporeality and the understanding of the body in a given time and space. However, motor skills involve other complex aspects from the intention, which dynamize its expression.

Likewise, Figule (2013, p. 2), states that "Motor autonomy is understood as the condition of a person to accomplish a task, task or action; solve a problem or take advantage of free time based on their interests, expectations and possibilities".

The position of the authors of the article recognizes the value of the scientific criterion issued by the authors in the historical context in which it is framed. However, the idea of motor autonomy is made up of two complex categories. Therefore, it is necessary to analyze the relationship between the categories of autonomy and motor skills from a dialectical approach in pedagogy.

The conceptual assessment of autonomy leads to the work of the German Kant, I. (1797), in his considerations the behavior is perceived from the moral character in the performance of a subject, based on laws that emanate from the personality itself. Since then, several authors have developed conceptions on autonomy; these theoretical assumptions enrich new ideas in which motor autonomy, which is the basis of this research, is included. The research results of these authors allow identifying some definitions as a result of historical and social experience, which gradually approach a transforming position regarding the idea of motor autonomy of the university student of the therapeutic area under study.

Meanwhile, Ruiz (2002), assumed by Ruiz (2021, p. 9). Position shared by the authors of this article, considers that:

Autonomy in learning Physical Education is based on the acquisition of knowledge, which is self-realized in a continuous, relational and questioning process through which strategies are applied to independently understand any type of phenomenon or information, self-regulate to plan learning actions and solve problems with knowledge on the basis of an integral development of the personality that facilitates the individual to respond and face the demands of personal and social life correctly.

The author distinguishes in autonomy a fundamental basis (knowledge), which is the basis for questioning, formulating reflections and reasoning. Therefore, the teacher of the therapeutic area in question, from the didactic activity, should promote a good link between the motor-cognitive and socio-affective activity that gives security and self-confidence to the student. Therefore, the motor-cognitive and instrumental and socio-affective activity has a great impact on motor autonomy, which leads to levels in the development of this mode of action.

The scientific criterion of Gómez (2012, p. 63), is that: "The path to autonomy is a long process, which does not end, and moreover, a person is autonomous when he/she is able to use what he/she has learned outside the influence of the teacher". In this case the author refers to autonomy as competence, since he speaks of contextual transfer. Therefore, it is considered that the path to motor autonomy is a long process, which allows us to acquire the complex knowledge that makes us competent in the environment in which we live, and is a function of personal characteristics and teaching styles applied to a developmental didactics, also responsible for the motor-cognitive and instrumental and socio-affective activity.

In this regard, Sanchez and Casal (2016, p. 179), assume the scientific criterion of Holec (1981), who states, "Autonomy is defined as the ability to take charge of one's own learning, and add that this ability is not innate but must be acquired, either by natural means, or through formal education". This scientific criterion demonstrates the need for a figure that mediates between knowledge or culture and the development of motor autonomy in university students.

Therefore, first, it is about giving the student the leading role so that, through personalized self-learning, he/she contributes to physical-motor self-preparation and the ability to self-direct at a more advanced level in the classroom and outside it; and second, it is about developing democratic values in personalization since there is a cultural diversity, where the development of individual motor autonomy should also benefit the group.

According to Rué (2016, p. 87):

Autonomy is the capacity to provide oneself with the rules, the norms for learning, according to one's various levels of demand, without shirking the responsibility of being accountable for one's processes and results.

This scientific criterion demonstrates the moral character of autonomy, which requires making an effort to be consistent with one's own achievements.

Also, it is interesting, the approaches about autonomy in learning in university Physical Education provided by this author, among them are:

  • The technical approach: based on the fact that the student must select the spaces, certain routes and the order of materials, in accordance with the teacher's guidance.

  • The cognitive approach: based on the student assuming a greater degree of responsibility for his or her own learning and defining the topics or activities and the ways to achieve them.

  • The political approach: it is based on involving the student to a total degree of responsibility and freedom in the whole learning process, from the definition of the area to work on, the subject, its objectives, contents, achievements, as well as the basic criteria that define them; the latter is a higher level of autonomy.

According to the experience of Aguado, et. al (2016, p. 186).

"In the benefits of autonomy support, count the positive influence on increased autonomous self-regulation, perceived competence, and interest in class, good academic performance, higher conceptual understanding, and a decrease in learning anxiety".

These arguments, allow understanding that the authors make pedagogical proposals around a series of purposes and methods that allow configuring a general idea about autonomy, useful in didactic practice, as the notion of making consistent decisions and praxis, also as a civic innovation, understanding innovation as the ability to detect and carry out changes in the teaching-learning process of the therapeutic area in question.

Due to the above, this article assumes the scientific criterion of Gómez (2012, p. 63), who defines: "Autonomy in Physical Education is the competence to make decisions of individual or group character in a reflexive, critical and responsible way, and which materializes at a motor, cognitive and emotional level". This definition is assumed in this article since the author declares autonomy as a competence, also because of the incidence of the didactic activity declared by the author, which integrates the motor-cognitive and socio-affective activity. However, as a competence it must be developed, which implies that each personological component of the teaching-learning process plays a determined role according to its interests.

Meanwhile, the category motricity, understood as the visible aspect that allows measuring the idea of motor autonomy, the scientific criteria of researchers such as: Sérgio, M. (1996), Kolinyac, C. (2005), Trigo et al. (2000), have points of contact that motricity as a human dimension, is the product of a process that exceeds the spatio-temporal, because it is situated in a process of complexity that involves other dimensions: socio-cultural, affective-volitional, and motor-cognitive, which reflects the motor act.

Also, Da Silva (2015, p. 8), state that the term Human Motricity is proposed by Sérgio (1991) and is understood as "the energy (intentionality) for human action in the world, that is, it is the intentionality that is embodied in action". In this scientific criterion, in the understanding of the authors of the article, motricity leads to sensorial action schemes transformed into physical-motor behaviors. Therefore, when we adopt this idea of motor autonomy as a gnoseological perspective in the therapeutic area of university physical education, it is intended to link two terms that have a strong emotional component, modeled on the vision of the teacher, who uses Physical Education as a medium.

In this sense, Simón and Ruiz (2013), state that: "The study and practical application of psychomotor skills favor the development of motor, expressive and creative possibilities from the body, which leads him to focus his activity and interest in the movement".

This gives a contextual character not only to the motor action but also to the intention that emanates from personal motivation. Therefore, context and intention also condition motor skills.

According to Kolyniak (2003, p. 15):

...motricity is an adaptive, evolutionary and creative process characterized by intentionality and meaning, the fruit of an evolutionary process whose specificity lies in the semiotic processes of consciousness, which, in turn, derive from the reciprocal relationships between instrumental and cultural cognition, and therefore between biological and socio-historical inheritances.

All of the above allows us to affirm that the amplitude of the idea of motricity will depend on the context of action, and that in the therapeutic area of university physical education it reflects the sensation of the human being who acts consciously, representing in his movements an intentional meaning that projects the actuality in three dimensions: socio-cultural, affective-volitional, and motor-cognitive, which condition it as well as autonomy.

Therefore, motor skills are understood in this article as a process in constant training and development, as well as autonomy, whose nature involves the construction of intentional movement based on reflex, mediated by the immediacy of planned actions as a spatio-temporal motor response to contextual needs.

The analysis carried out allows affirming that in the therapeutic area under study, motor autonomy is contemplated in two aspects:

The first as a method to achieve the teaching objective, according to the characteristics of the teaching-learning process in Higher Education; raised from the cultural diversity referred to diseases that converge in the act of the class.

The second, as a goal to be achieved in the formation of the university student of the therapeutic area under study according to the requirements of the Basic Document for the formation in Higher Education.

Therefore, motor autonomy is not a contextual idea, but a competence that is developed from the gnoseology of Physical Education, and that in order to achieve it, it is necessary in the formation of the university student that the didactic activity favors the motor-cognitive and instrumental and the socio-affective activity during the referred teaching-learning process, in such a way that it favors the satisfaction of the university student.

Therefore, motor autonomy is understood as the competence acquired by a person, which allows him/her to condition the physical-motor action from the intention, according to his/her will, and involves interests and cognitive and instrumental possibilities.

The above constitutes an operative theoretical construct, which delimits the object of study. Consequently, competency is understood according to the Alpha Tuning Project (2019), which recognizes competencies in two large groups, transversal or generic, and specific or professional.

The former are mentioned because they are of interest to the research. These generic competences have a transversal character and should be present in university graduates and are developed in relation to three criteria, the first, that they should contribute to obtain high personal and social results; the second, that they are applicable to practically any context, and the third, that they should be important to be successful in facing the demands of life.

Hence the need for certain mediating instruments from the didactic activity, which condition the physiological and psychological processes in the teaching-learning process of the therapeutic area of university physical education. In this way, development as a superior category must be revealed in consequence with the theory assumed on motor autonomy as a gnoseological reality of Physical Education in the practice of the aforementioned therapeutic area, which marks the intention of what it is desired to achieve, and which is concretized in pedagogy from the concept of Zone of Proximal Development (1979), associated to the continuous and uninterrupted changes in the referred teaching-learning process, seen from the materialistic-dialectical conception of the relationship between education and personality development.

Likewise, development is contemplated from the physiological, psychological, motor-cognitive, and socio-affective aspects; this is due to the practical nature of the activity in the therapeutic area under study, expressed as a cultural and instrumental perspective of the student when knowing the relationship between energy levels and the physiological mechanisms of action of the physical-motor exercise while conceiving his self-learning from the classroom.

Likewise, in the teaching-learning process of the aforementioned therapeutic area, the teacher is responsible for ensuring the correct recognition and familiarity between the categories instruction-development-education in a hierarchical way in the aforementioned process.

Consequently, from these essential relationships come the resulting qualities that are synthesized to form an interrelated system. Therefore, the development of motor autonomy is considered as a system of influences used by the teacher to continuously mediate between the teaching content and the student's way of acting in the therapeutic area of university physical education, using didactic-methodological resources relevant to the context of action.


The systematization of the theoretical references carried out, shows the different dialectical positions historically assumed about autonomy in Physical Education seen from different dimensions, always highlighting the importance of this in the development of the student's personality.

The scientific criteria issued by the systematized theoretical referents enrich the gnoseology of the referred discipline about motor autonomy and its development in the students of the therapeutic area of university physical education, allowing a better theoretical preparation to face the need to elaborate a didactic conception that satisfies the existing deficiencies in this sense.

Referencias bibliográficas

Aguado, R.; Díaz, M.; Hernández, J.; y López, A. (2016). Supporting Autonomyin Physical Education. Revista Internacional de Medicina y Ciencias de la Actividad Física y el Deporte, 16(62), 183-202. ]

Carrillo, R. (2017). La Educación Física constructora de autonomía y subjetividad, un camino hacia la autonomía motriz. Tesis por el título de Licenciado en Educación Física. ]

Da Silva, P. (2015). Motricidad escolar: Reflexiones y acciones en una experiencia situada en la educación básica. Estudios Pedagógicos, vol. XLI, pp. 51-65. ISSN: 0716-050X. Universidad Austral de Chile. [ Links ]

Figule, V. (2013). Autonomía motriz y comprensión del movimiento, (379 palabras). ]

Gómez, A. (2012). Estrategias de intervención docente en educación física para el desarrollo de la autonomía en el alumnado de educación primaria. Tesis doctoral. Universidad de La Laguna. ]

Kolyniak, C. (2003). Propuesta para un glosario inicial para la ciencia de la motricidad humana. Revista Consentido, (1). ]

Rué, J. (2016). Enseñar en la Universidad. El EEES como reto para la Educación Superior. Narcea, S A. de ediciones. Madrid. https://www.narceaediciones.esLinks ]

Ruiz, A. (2021). La independencia cognoscitiva como condicionante de autonomía en la Educación Física. Revista Cultura Física y Deportes de Guantánamo. 11(20) ISSN: 2519-9455. RNPS: 2286. ]

Sánchez, I. y Casal, S.(2016). El desarrollo de la autonomía mediante las técnicas de aprendizaje cooperativo en el aula de l2. Linguarum. ISSN: 1697-7467. ]

Simón, Y. y Ruiz, A. (2013). Juegos en la estimulación a la psicomotricidad en niños y niñas con necesidades educativas especiales. EduSol, 13(45) pp.93-101. ISSN: 1729-8091. Links ]

Received: April 12, 2021; Accepted: September 08, 2021

*Autor para la correspondencia:

The authors declare that there are no conflicts of interest

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