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Girls perceptions of physical education in the eleven to fourteen age group

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posted on 04.12.2013, 14:51 authored by Julie E. Heathcote
The purpose of the study was to investigate girls attitudes towards physical activity and physical education; to identify their likes and dislikes and to examine the influences affecting girls perceptions of physical education. The data was collected over a period of fourteen months, from 340 girls aged between 11 and 14 years who attended a Leicestershire High School. Previously written literature had shown that there may be a relationship between pupils attitudes towards physical education and a number of contributing factors including, the influence of the physical education programme; teachers; parents, and personal and social experiences. The study showed that there was a need for teachers to carefully examine the criteria by which young people develop their views and opinions with the aim of adapting or modifying the physical education programme accordingly. An important consideration was that parents influence their children at an early age and that this clearly affected young children's attitudes towards physical activity. Later it became evident that the teacher had an important influencing role and as the pupils got older it became clear that personal and social conditions contributed to girls perceptions of physical education. It was evident from the results of the study that the majority of pupils had favourable attitudes towards physical education. In addition, many pupils expressed a desire to continue participating in physical activity in later life. Although the research may not have examined in closer detail the contributing variables which determined the girls attitudes towards physical education, it may be important to consider the factors which affect the pupils self and body esteem in greater depth, as it was to this area that the older girls showed an increasing concern. Many aspects of the study revealed the pupils desire to want to be good at physical education; to succeed at the activities; to contribute and to be accepted within a group setting. Physical skill was no~ always the most important factor in contributing to the pupils liking for physical education as many of the pupils who expressed their liking for the subject described themselves as,"not sure whether or not they were good at physical education". There was an overwhelming indication that most of the pupils, especially the third year pupils wanted more variety and choice in the activities offered to them; more involvement in the planning and organisation of the lessons; fewer restrictions on showering and wearing P. E. kit; fewer teacher directed lessons and more opportunity to participate in indoor activities when the weather was cold outside.The most popular activities expressed by all year groups were, swimming, dance, tennis, netball, rounders, although third year pupils did not seem so keen on dance and netball. Least preferred activities were cross country and hockey, although the third year pupils seemed more favourable towards hockey than the first and second year groups. The new activities the pupils would like to have had the opportunity to participate in were trampolining, volleyball and badminton although the first years also would have liked to participate in squash and the second year pupils soccer>. The study clearly showed that a determination of girls perceptions of physical education should be fundamental to any planning or development of the physical education curriculum, if the programme is to cater realistically for the needs of all pupils.



  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences


© Julie Elizabeth Heathcote

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A Master's Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Master of Philosophy of Loughborough University.



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