Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Education


School of Education


Faculty of Education

First Advisor

Dr Jennifer Browne


This study examined whether gender role dependent and independent teacher behaviours could be influenced by the provision of peer observation and nonjudgemental feedback. Sixteen Year 4/5 classroom teachers, eight males and eight females were selected and divided into two groups of eight, a control group and an intervention group. The teachers were provided with standardized physical education programmes. A total of 64 physical education lessons were observed. For each group of teachers two lessons were recorded as baseline data to show established behaviour patterns. For the rest of the study, the control group continued to be recorded with no feedback being provided. The intervention group was provided with the results of analysis of their intervention, and nonjudgemental feedback following their first and second lessons (with a collapsed set of data). An adaption of the clinical supervision system was utilized to enable teachers to analyse their own interaction patterns and identify areas of behaviour that required adjustment. In the third lesson, they were again analysed and conferencing provided feedback. The fourth lesson provided a measurement of a reinforced feedback system. Gender stereotypic patterns of teacher behaviour were analysed and the extent to which equity of participation and verbal interactions in primary school physical education classes were examined. The findings showed that sex integration in physical education lessons does not eliminate gender inequity. The teacher-student interaction patterns disproportionately favoured boys and disadvantaged girls, possibly contributing to their lower skill levels and a negative attitude towards physical education. The study also found that teachers were able to effect change in their verbal interaction patterns after they had received intervention by means of nonjudgemental feedback and consequently became more equitable in their interactions. Significant differences in observed teacher interactions with individual students and groups established the continuance of sex inequitable patterns of teacher-student behaviour. The interaction categories in which these occurred were in control/discipline, the use of student names and the giving of instructions to students. Other categories relating to management and the criticism of unsuccessful students were also shown to be inequitable, but to a lesser extent. The results of intervention, however, suggested that with feedback gender biased interaction patterns could be suspended or reduced. Some teachers in the intervention group, after their second conference, were able to balance their patterns of behaviour to such an extent that there was no evidence of biased interactions. Others significantly lowered their biased interactions. All teachers however, expressed a positive view towards conferencing and felt it was a beneficial process. They generally felt that it was important as educators to give all students an equitable share of their attention.

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