18 SES 02 JS, Gender in Physical Education and Sport
Joint Paper Session NW18 and NW33
Within the French “didactique” approach, the purpose of this chapter is to show how teacher and students “didactical joint action” (Verscheure & Amade-Escot, 2007) participates in the production of gendered content in a multi-ethnic and low-socioeconomic middle school located in France. The Joint Action in Didactic (JAD) framework is a descriptive framework of students and teacher actions and interactions, within a pragmatist view of classroom practices. The core of JAD framework is that content knowledge and know-how is co-constructed in action, by teacher and students and/or between students and students who have various agenda, and even more in this type of context. The approach gives a descriptive and situated frame for studying the enacted curriculum in the way it allows to describe students learning experiences and the meaning constructed through these experiences. In this presentation, the focus related to teacher and students “didactical joint action” concerns two dimensions: 1) Teachers’ verbal interactions when supervising students’ learning over the lessons of each unit; and 2) Forms of knowledge distributed to girls and boys over the didactical time.
In physical education (PE) pedagogical practices participate in the social construction of gendered bodies and minds through the curriculum. Girls and boys do not benefit from equal opportunities to participate in physical activities (Flintoff & Scraton, 2006). In the case of multi ethnic schools in low-socioeconomic areas, this statement is even worse as teachers have to maintain discipline and struggle against sexism in ways that allow obtaining peace in the class (Larsson, Fagrell & Redelius, 2009; Öhrn, 2009). Research literature has shown that, in this kind of school, teachers have to deal with the difficulty of maintaining both conceptual learning and engagement. Students’ engagement is often formally obtained using simple and closed tasks, which favours immediate achievement and disciplined behaviours. Such engagement is gained at the expense of the quality of learningbecause this type of tasks is not related to exacting content knowledge (Debars & Amade-Escot, 2006).
In this case study research we revisit this issue in the light of gender and student cultural multi-ethnic backgrounds together considering that gender order in multi-ethnic and underprivileged schools should include intersectional analysis, that is the idea that discriminations are related to various systems of discrimination within multiple groups (Collins, 2009). Within this approach, we look at the frequency and knowledge content of each teacher’s interaction with girls and boys. This leads us to characterize the chronogenesis of the knowledge taught and learned by boys and girls and the related gendered differences.
The research is based on two case-studies in multi-ethnic, low-economic schools in South of France. We observed two PE experienced teachers during a handball unit. The teachers (Pierre and Carole, pseudonyms) are not expert in the subject. The research settings are slightly different although they are both located in a Réseau d’Education Prioritaire which designates a French governmental program to improve education in schools located in underprivileged areas. In Pierre’s middle school, 96% of students belong to Muslim communities, most of them born in France with North Africa migrant backgrounds. The observed class (13-14 years old, 9th grade) is compounded of 27 students: 16 girls and 11 boys. In Carole’s middle school, 50% of students belong to Muslim communities, most of them born in France with North Africa migrant backgrounds; the other 50% of students belongs to other working class communities, a few of them originated in post colonial-war grandparents’ repatriation. The observed class (12-13 years old, 8th grade) is compounded of 25 students: 13 girls and 12 boys. Carole’s middle school has a special program for foreign language learning within a European project, which promotes social and cultural diversity. According to the National French PE curriculum the observed units cover 8 handball lessons, a game considered in PE as a subject that values a conception of masculinity linked to muscularity and strength (Fagrell, Larsson & Redelius. 2012; Griffin, 1985). Data collection is based on the video recordings of all lessons of the unit, and interviews with teacher and students: 1) teacher interviews about general pedagogical values and objectives, 2) teacher’s pre-lesson and post-lesson interviews, and 3) short students’ interviews in class. The purpose of teachers’ interviews is to understand their perspectives on the teaching and learning process (Verscheure & Amade-Escot, 2007; Amade-Escot, Elandoulsi & Verscheure, 2015). To identify the content delivered over the unit and the gendered chronogenesis of the knowledge taught and learned by boys and girls we systematically analyse: 1) the content development of each lessons through types of tasks: a) technical, b) tactical and c) technical and tactical together; 2) the teacher’s verbal interactions addressed to girls and boys. We used Marsenach’s (1987) categories related to: a) (in)discipline verbal’s management (IM), b) group and space organisation (GSO), and c) Knowledge content related to the task (KCT). The coding was done with Transana, a software for the qualitative analysis of video, audio and text data.
The findings present a didactical comparison of classroom practices of the two teachers and how their teaching differs among girls and boys with regard to specific ethnic expectations attributed to them. At the macro-scale of each unit the analysis suggests marginal differences in terms of the intended content offered among girls and boys in both sites. All stated task are the same for boys and girls; and many stated tasks present exacting handball knowledge combining technical and tactical contents. The global verbal interactions addressed by Pierre and Carole to the class students mark also marginal differences but we notice that girls and boys do not work really together. However, when focusing on group supervision, teacher’s interventions related to the knowledge at stake in the task (KCT) are more numerous when addressed to the whole class and to boys groups. Girls group benefit of less frequent interventions in each of the three categories of IM, GSO, KCT and this should be interpreted as a way for teachers to better control boys’ behaviours. For example, in increasing the number of verbal assignments addressed to them. During the on-going teacher and students interactions the exacting handball knowledge embedded in the primitive didactic milieu initially stated by both teachers tend to fade down. Teachers progressively make the task simpler than the one initially stated. Examples of the intersection of gender and ethnicity as described in PE by Azzarito (2009) and Stride (2014) will be provided as illustrations of how didactical interaction are marked by contrasted expectations.
Amade-Escot, C., Elandoulsi, S. & Verscheure, I. (2015). Physical education in Tunisia: teachers' practical epistemology, students' positioning and gender issues, Sport, Education and Society, Doi: 10.1080/13573322.2014.997694. Azzarito, L. (2009) The panopticon of physical education : pretty, active and ideally white, Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, 14(1), 19-39. Collins, P. H (2009). Another Kind of Public Education: Race, the Media, Schools, and Democratic Possibilities. Simmons College: Beacon Press, Race, Education, and Democracy Series Book. Debars, C. et Amade-Escot, C. (2006). Enseigner le badminton à une classe de primo arrivants : l'incidence du contexte ZEP (zone d'éducation prioritaire) sur la pratique d'intervention. Revue eJRIEPS, 9, 35-43, site http://www.fcomte.iufm.fr. Flintoff, A., & Scraton, S. (2006). Girls and physical education. In D. Kirk, M. O'Sullivan, & D. Macdonald (Eds.), Handbook of research in physical education (pp. 767-783). London: SAGE. Griffin, P.S (1985) Boys' participation styles in a middle school physical education team sports unit, Journal of Teaching in Physical Education, 4, 100-110. Larsson, H., Fagrell, B., & Redelius, K. (2009). Queering physical education. Between benevolence towards girls and a tribute to masculinity. Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, 14(1), 1-17, Doi: 10.1080/17408980701345832. Marsenach, J. (1987). L’évaluation formative en Education physique et Sportive dans les collèges. Paris: édition INRP. Öhrn, E. (2009). Challenging Sexism ? Gender and Ethnicity in the Secondary School. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, Vol. 53, No. 6, December 2009, 579-590, Doi: 10.1080/00313830903302091. Stride, A. (2014). Let US tell YOU ! South Asian, Muslim girls tell tales about physical education, Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, 19:4, 398-417, Doi: 10.1080/17408989.2013.780589. Verscheure, I., & Amade-Escot, C. (2007). The gendered construction of physical education content as the result of the differentiated didactic contract. Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, 12(3), 245-272, Doi:10.1080/17408980701610185.
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