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Title:Gender equity in physical education: an examination of gender-biased communication and teacher behaviors
Author(s):Valley, Julia
Director of Research:Graber, Kim C.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Graber, Kim C.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Woods, Amelia M.; Littlefield, Melissa M.; Knapp, Bobbi A.
Department / Program:Kinesiology & Community Health
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Gender Equity
Physical Education
Abstract:Physical education remains a male-dominated terrain where gender biases are reproduced and typically unchallenged (Colwell, 1999; Klomsten, Marsh, & Skaalvik, 2005; Messner, 1988, 1990; Scranton, 1990). Under the lens of critical feminist theory, this investigation examined the language and behaviors physical education teachers employ related to gender equity. The specific purpose of the investigation was (a) to determine what teachers know about gender equitable practices and the potential influence of these practices on students, (b) what types of gender bias are demonstrated in the instructional environment through teacher behaviors and verbal and non-verbal communication between teachers and their students, and (c) how teachers are influenced to adopt gender equitable behaviors in the physical education context, and why some teachers elect not to adopt these behaviors. In order to gain a rich understanding of teachers’ language and behaviors in the physical education setting, a multiple-case study was conducted with four physical education teachers in four separate Midwestern school districts. The investigator conducted persistent observations with each of the teachers for a two-week period. Teachers participated in informal interviews throughout the observation period as well as formal interviews at the beginning and conclusion of the observations. Interview transcriptions, observation logs and class documents were analyzed inductively to establish themes, followed by a deductive analysis using critical feminist theory to reaffirm the inductive reasoning (Patton, 2002). Themes emerged within and across cases revealing the use of gender-biased language and instructional practices that included gender segregation and gender-based expectations. Teachers acknowledged they had received minimal training related to gender equitable teaching and were only amendable to future training to varying degrees. Further investigations into gender equitable teaching is merited with regard to teacher training at both pre-service and in-service levels.
Issue Date:2013-05-24
Rights Information:Copyright 2013 Julia Valley
Date Available in IDEALS:2013-05-24
Date Deposited:2013-05

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