Student perceptions of gender equity in high school coeducational and single-sex physical education classes
Contributor(s)Downey, Margaret (advisor)
KeywordsPhysical education and training -- Study and teaching (Secondary) -- Québec (Province)
Sex discrimination -- Québec (Province)
Coeducation -- Québec (Province)
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AbstractThe purpose of this study was to enrich our understanding of gender equity issues in coeducational and single-sex physical education classes. Student and teacher perceptions were examined through interviews, written descriptions of critical incidents, field observations and document analysis. The participants included 65 students in coeducational grade eight classes, 84 students in single-sex grade nine classes, and the physical education teacher from a suburban high school. Through inductive analysis and constant comparison, themes emerged regarding the teacher's equity strategies, advantages and disadvantages of coeducational and single-sex classes, and students' roles in perpetuating and rejecting gender stereotypes. Aware of gender issues, the teacher generally maintained an equitable atmosphere, but he also played a role in perpetuating gender stereotypes. Students identified peer interaction, increased competition, and challenge as positive aspects of coeducational classes. Girls often favored the atmosphere of girls' classes, and high ability boys preferred the competition in boys' classes. Classes were seen as based on a male norm, and boys often dominated. Student beliefs and behaviors indicated that they both rejected and perpetuated gender stereotypes. Ability levels appeared to play an important role in student perceptions. This research illustrates the need for a continued emphasis on gender sensitive physical education programs to enhance both girls' and boys' experiences.
TypeElectronic Thesis or Dissertation