Middle School Physical Education Teachers’ Perspectives on Overweight Students

in Journal of Teaching in Physical Education
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Using the Social Ecological Constraints model, a qualitative multiple case study design was used to explore experienced and committed middle school physical education teachers’ perspectives on overweight and obese students (OWS), and how and why they acted to include OWS in physical education and physical activity opportunities in their school environments. Three themes emerged. 1) OWS are “the same, but different.” Teachers attempted to treat all students the same, but perceived variations among OWS’ participation in PE and related individual constraints. 2) Teachers’ concerns lead to individual goals and specific actions. Teachers identified specific goals and approaches to help individual OWS who needed extra attention. 3) OWS are a responsibility and challenge. Many of these teachers felt a responsibility to devote extra time and effort to help struggling OWS to succeed. These teachers avoided obesity bias, and exhibited beliefs and actions similar to a caring perspective.

Doolittle, Rukavina, and Manson are with the Department of Exercise Science, Health Studies, Physical Education, and Sport Management, Adelphi University, Garden City, NY. Li is with the College of Education and Human Ecology, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH. Beale is with Temple University, Philadelphia PA.

Address author correspondence to Sarah Doolittle at Doolittle@adelphi.edu.