Gender and elementary school physical education: attitudes and perceptions of girls and boys

Baker, Katherine (2007) Gender and elementary school physical education: attitudes and perceptions of girls and boys. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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This thesis is an exploration of student perceptions and attitudes towards physical education at one elementary school in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador. The experiences of female students are explored in particular. Increased attention has been placed on school physical education programs as a result of concern in society over health and fitness issues. Fewer females than males enroll in high school physical education, and females are less physically active than males. Providing girls with the opportunity to express their attitudes and opinions towards physical education at the elementary school level will contribute to on-going efforts to make physical activity more appealing to females and ultimately increase participation levels. This research was a case study of one school. Male and female students in grades three through six were asked to draw a picture of themselves in physical education, and subsequently a number of female students participated in a focus group interview, where they were asked questions related to their physical education experiences. The physical education teacher was also interviewed. Overall, students displayed very positive attitudes towards physical education. The physical education teacher based her program on Don Hellison's model of Humanistic Physical Education, and students demonstrated an internalization of many of the values that are emphasized through this model. The girls in this study indicated a strong liking for physical education. Despite their enthusiasm, however, girls in this study also expressed feelings of frustration towards the behavior of the boys in their classes. They talked of boys cheating, hogging equipment, acting out of control, and acting superior towards the girls. Finally, the girls in this study expressed a significant amount of knowledge about gender role stereotypes, both within and outside of a sporting context, although they rarely indicated being personally influenced by them.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Item ID: 10123
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (leaves 130-136).
Department(s): Human Kinetics and Recreation, School of
Date: 2007
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Gender identity in education--Newfoundland and Labrador--St. John's; Physical education and training--Study and teaching (Elementary) --Newfoundland and Labrador--St. John's; School children--Newfoundland and Labrador--St. John's--Attitudes.

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