Recreation and Sport Studies

Studying, Experiencing and Facilitating Kinesiology, Recreation and Sport through Wellness and Physical Activity

Female students in a Physical Education Setting: How Comfortable Are They in the Gym?

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As a graduating undergraduate in RSS, an article I would like recommend reading is:

Couturier, L. E., Chepko, S., & Coughlin, M. (2007). Whose Gym Is It? Gendered Perspectives on Middle and Secondary School Physical Education.Physical Education,64(3), 152-158.

For a majority of RSS students and grads being involved in physical activity is something that we are all generally interested in and enjoy taking part in. Unfortunately this is not the case for all students going through school whether at a middle or high school level. This in particular is even more a problem among young girls in physical education classes. This paper focused on the differences between male and female youth participating in physical education classes in the U.S. They found their results by giving out 7000 copies of a survey they generated through trial studies.

Unlike males, as females get older they tend to become less interested in physical education. They determined that this was due to some physiological, psychological and sociological reasons. Using the survey they determined that the girls in these schools were less likely to want to participate in physical education classes because they were not comfortable changing in front of others in the lockeroom, they didn’t want to get sweaty before their next class, and they didn’t think they were good enough at the sports being offered in class therefore were less likely to have fun or participate.

When asked what they would rather do they suggested things like dancing, or some nontraditional gym class activities like kayaking or hiking. It would be great to be able to incorporate these activities into gym classes but not all school would have this available to them. Schools in smaller towns may have an easier time incorporating these activities into their curriculum. For example the high school I went to was in a small town with lots of green space around it and a hiking trail. Our teacher incorporated activities like hiking, snowshoeing, and geocaching into her curriculum.

Through finding new ways to get girls involved in physical education the hope is that they will find new activities that they like and that they can continue with through the rest of their lives. These activities can of course be fun and target the males in classes as well. Having said this what else do you think physical educators can do to get the students in their classes more involved?


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