This study examined the operations of a student social system within an elective physical education dance class. Its methodology is based on the findings of Allen (1986), who determined that students have two main agendas in classes, namely, to give teachers what they want while having fun and socializing with classmates. Consistent with previous findings, many students in this study were particularly adept at finding ways to minimize work and have fun while still doing enough to pass the course. These findings are explained in conjunction with the task structure and accountability systems put in place by the teacher. That is, the teacher seemed to be content to trade off lower levels of participation in the instructional task system for at least nondisruptive behavior, thereby allowing a relatively unimpeded achievement of the students’ social objectives.
Peter A. Hastie is with the Department of Health and Human Performance at Auburn University, 2050 Beard Eaves Memorial Coliseum, Auburn University, AL 36849-5323. Andrew Pickwell is with Ipswich Grammar School, Ipswich 4301, Australia.