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Gender(ed) patterns in Swedísh school physical education and health: a problem of equity: PE teacher’s talk about girls and boys in Physical Education and Health in a Swedish context
Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences, GIH, Department of Sport and Health Sciences, Forskningsgruppen för pedagogik, idrott och fritidskultur.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6629-613x
Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences, GIH, Department of Sport and Health Sciences, Forskningsgruppen för pedagogik, idrott och fritidskultur.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0638-7176
Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences, GIH, Department of Sport and Health Sciences, Forskningsgruppen för pedagogik, idrott och fritidskultur.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9965-0123
Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences, GIH, Department of Sport and Health Sciences, Forskningsgruppen för pedagogik, idrott och fritidskultur.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-1298-8186
2010 (English)In: Making a difference / [ed] Jan Wright, 2010Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

PE teacher’s talk about girls and boys in Physical Education and Health in a Swedish context

Jane Meckbach, Håkan Larsson, Suzanne Lundvall & Karin Redelius, The Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences, Stockholm 

Statistics from the Swedish National Agency of Education (SNAE) reveal that Physical Education and Health (PEH) is the only subject where boys receive higher grades than girls. Previous research indicate that the subject “in practice” is constituted in a sports discourse (in contrast to the health discourse that constitutes the national curriculum for PEH) and that teaching in PEH is conducted on boys’ terms. According to the latest national evaluation of the subject, teaching in PEH is dominated by ball games and fitness training, activities that most boys and some of the girls favour. The overall aim of the symposium is to study girls' and boys' conditions in Swedish PEH. The purpose of this particular presentation is to look upon factors related to PEH teachers´ ways of reasoning about aims, teaching and assessment in the subject, and their view of equity issues.

17 PEH teachers from schools in the region of Stockholm and Lake Mälaren were selected for interviews. The selection was based on statistics from SNAE presented in the symposium overview. There were four selection criteria: that the school had: 

-   a high share of students (boys or girls) acquiring Passed with special distinction (the highest grade) in PEH,

-  a high share of students that did Not pass in PEH,

-  an equal share of girls and boys acquiring Passed with special distinction in PEH,

-  an unequal share of boys and girls acquiring Passed with special distinction in PEH (boys or girls acquiring the highest grade).

Our analytical framework is inspired by Pierre Bourdieu. Through the interviews we want to highlight the logic of PEH in the eyes of PEH teachers and what they assign value in the subject, and how they reason about girls and boys – and girls’ and boys’ conditions – in relation to how they describe their subject.

The results from the interviews suggest that teachers from schools with a high share of students acquiring Passed with special distinction in PEH seem to focus a lot on learning processes and their students’ reflections about what they learn. These teachers depicted their students as ‘sporty types’. They also seem well aware about gender issues in PEH.

Teachers from schools with a high share of students that did Not pass in PEH report that many students are frequently absent and that a lot of those who fail to pass cannot swim. Gender issues seem not to be of primary concern to these teachers, and the teachers seem to focus on keeping the students active (they are activity oriented).

Teachers from schools with an equal share of girls and boys acquiring Passed with special distinction in PEH seem to reason about the subject and girls’ and boys’ conditions in the subject in the same way as the teachers in the first category. They seem to be aware of gender issues in the subject, they are task oriented (rather than activity oriented) and they include activities that are often left out by other teachers (e.g. creative movements).

Teachers from schools with an unequal share of boys and girls acquiring Passed with special distinction in PEH depict their students as ‘sporty types’. They seem, however, not to reflect upon equity issues to the same extent as the teachers in the previous category.

It must be emphasised that these findings also mirror the general social conditions of the schools in question. In effect, PEH teachers working in schools with a lot of the students having a privileged social background seem to emphasise learning processes and equity issues more than those working in schools with a lot of students with a less privileged background. In effect, gender equity issues can, paradoxically, be described as something of the icing of the cake in PEH.

References

Bourdieu, P. (1984) Distinction. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Bourdieu, P. (1990) The logic of practise. Cambridge: Polity Press

Lundvall, S. & Meckbach, J. (2008). Mind the Gap – Physical Education and Health and the Frame Factor Theory as a Tool for Analysing Educational Settings, Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, 2008:4, pp. 345– 364.

Redelius, K., Fagrell, B. & Larsson, H. Symbolic capital in physical education and health: To be, to do or to know? That is the gendered question, Sport, Education and Society, 2009:2, pp. 245-260.

SNAE http://www.skolverket.se/sb/d/193/url/

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010.
Keyword [en]
gender, physical education, equity
National Category
Sport and Fitness Sciences
Research subject
Social Sciences/Humanities
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:gih:diva-1709OAI: oai:DiVA.org:gih-1709DiVA: diva2:384279
Conference
AARE Australian Assiciation for Research in Education
Available from: 2011-01-08 Created: 2011-01-08 Last updated: 2016-02-25Bibliographically approved

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Meckbach, JaneLarsson, HåkanRedelius, KarinLundvall, Suzanne

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