The Relationship between the Sex Composition of Physical Education Classes and Teacher/Pupil Verbal Interaction

in Journal of Teaching in Physical Education

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Doune MacdonaldUniversity of Queensland

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This study examined the relationship between the sex composition of physical education classes and teacher/pupil interactions. Eighteen Grade 9 or 10 hockey lessons were videotaped and verbal interactions were coded using a modified interactional analysis observation system. All teacher/pupil interactions were classified into one of six categories and the relative frequency of each interactional type was compared as a function of the class composition and the sex of the teacher using nonparametric analyses of contingency. To account for variations in lesson duration, interaction rates were also computed and compared between groups using analysis of variance. The results showed that female teachers gave proportionally more skill based interactions than did male teachers in mixed-sex and in all-girls classes. In mixed-sex classes, boys had a greater proportion of verbal interactions as well as more positive interactions with the teacher than girls did. To gauge the perceptions and attitudes of teachers and students toward stereotyping in physical education, interviews were conducted with the teachers and all pupils completed a standardized 35-item questionnaire. Most girls (90%) did not perceive boys as being favored, but 43% felt that teachers expected boys to perform skills better than girls. A greater percentage of boys (63%) than girls (48.5%) agreed that physical education in schools should be made more important.

Doune Macdonald is in the Department of Human Movement Studies at The University of Queensland, St. Lucia, Qld. 4067 Australia.

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