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Patricia S. Griffin

The purpose of the study was to identify girls’ participation patterns in a middle school team sport unit. Through class observations, formal interviews, and informal discussions with the physical education teachers, six styles of participation were identified. These were (a) athlete, (b) JV player, (c) cheerleader, (d) femme fatale, (e) lost soul, (f) system beater. A description of behavior, characteristic of the majority of the girls observed, outlined four kinds of nonassertive behavior: (a) giving up, (b) giving away, (c) hanging back, and (d) acquiescing. Several contextual factors were identified as potentially contributing to the participation patterns identified. These were: availability of out-of-school team sport programs, community racial and socioeconomic status, the age group studied, and interactions with teachers and other students in the class.

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Patricia S. Griffin

The purpose of this study was to identify boys’ participation styles in a middle-school physical education team sports unit. Through the use of class observations, formal interviews, and informal discussions with the teachers, five styles of participation were identified: (a) machos, (b) junior machos, (c) nice guys, (d) invisible players, and (e) wimps. Several contextual factors are discussed as potential contributors to these participation styles. They are the availability of out-of-school team sport leagues, the racial and socioeconomic characteristics of the community, the age of the students observed, the interactions with teachers and other students in the classes, and the instructional strategies that teachers chose. The importance of identifying the variety of participation styles within each gender group, as well as identifying differences between girls and boys in physical education, is discussed.