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This qualitative study explored how students adapt to marginalization in a seventh-grade middle school physical education class in the Pacific North-west. The study’s focus included how marginalized students were excluded within the class and how students, identified as marginalized, adapted to exclusion or temporary acceptance. Marginalized students were those who were unable to be accepted into or remain in a group for a period of time (approximately one week). Data were collected through 60 field observations, over a 14-week time period. Informal and formal interviews were conducted with teachers and students. Three boys and 2 girls were identified as marginalized within the physical education class. Formation of groups and strategies used to exclude marginalized students were found to greatly influence how students became initially marginalized. Once marginalized, students rarely changed their status, although a few were able to use strategies that reduced their status temporarily.
Barbara Tyree Smith is with the Department of Physical Education at Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, IN 46383. Grace Goc Karp is with the Division of HPERD at the University of Idaho, Mosow, ID 83844-2401.