Date of Award

1995

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Education Honours

School

School of Education

Faculty

Faculty of Education

First Advisor

Dr Jennifer Browne

Abstract

This study focuses on the issue of girls' participation in physical education. One important aspect of participation is the enjoyment level of students. By identifying why girls enjoy and do not enjoy physical education, appropriate adjustments could be made within physical education to increase the participation level of girls. Fifteen Year 7 students from one class within a metropolitan independent school took part in the study. It was descriptive-analytic in nature and used both qualitative and quantitative research methods. A short questionnaire was used to categorise students into those who enjoyed physical education, those with divided perceptions of enjoyment in physical education, and those who did not enjoy physical education. A cross-section of these Year 7 students was selected for individual interviews. In all, seven interviews were completed. Reasons behind student perceptions of enjoyment and nonenjoyment in physical education were sought through these interviews, taking into account the fact that the selected class had experience of both single sex and coeducational physical education in the primary school. The regular classroom teacher and physical education specialist teacher were also interviewed. Responses from student and teacher interviews were analysed separately, and then compared and contrasted. The major findings of this study reveal why some important aspects of physical education increase or reduce girls' enjoyment of the subject. The research uncovered a number of factors which led to increased enjoyment for girls in physical education. These included the appropriate use of fitness activities; competition; single sex classes; the opportunity for social interaction with other students; and the chance to escape the confinement and concentration required in the classroom. The study also revealed factors which reduced the enjoyment experienced by girls in physical education. These included participating in physical education during weather extremes with no adequate provision for shelter; being forced to participate regardless of student reasoning; and the inappropriate behaviour of other students during physical education. The major findings also make two other comments. Firstly, they describe how a girl's perception of her own skill level impacts on her enjoyment. Secondly, they highlight a mixed reaction amongst students towards the influence of gender specific sports on girls" enjoyment in physical education. From these findings, recommendations have been made regarding the content and execution of physical education in the selected school in order that the participation level of girls in physical education may improve.

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