27 SES 07 A JS, Gender and Subject Didactics: What do we gain in addressing gender issues at the micro-level of didactical Interactions? Part 1
Joint Symposium NW 27 and NW 33 to be continued in 27 SES 08 A JS
The overall interest in this paper is student perspectives of intergenerational touch in physical education (PE), more specifically (1) if and how the students talk about physical contact in relation to heteronormativity in PE, and (2) the consequences of the students talk, for teachers, students and subject content. The study’s motive is based on previous research, revealing that PE teachers have become more anxious and cautious in their approaches to students in terms of touching. Many teachers avoid physical contact with students since it can be regarded as suspicious (Fletcher, 2013; Öhman, 2016; Piper, Garratt, & Taylor, 2013). In addition, previous research has shown that people are, in general, heavily invested in heterosexually inflected gendered identities, in society as a whole (Butler, 1990; Cockburn & Clarke, 2002; Paechter, 2017). As yet, very little is known about students’ perspective on intergenerational touch in PE in relation to heteronormativity, making research in this area important. The study draws on interview data collected from 6 focus group interviews with 18 students and takes its starting point in a discourse-analytical tradition using a Foucauldian framework (Foucault, 1978/1991). Further on, a didactical framework, specifically the didactic triangle (Gundem, 2011), is used to discuss the consequences of the students’ talk. The results show that the students for the most part support physical contact as a pedagogical tool. However, their talk is often heteronormative, which is shown in three themes. Firstly, the students agree that there is a growing tension between male teachers and female students, when girls go from being children to becoming women. Secondly, the students express the need to be wary of men, in general, and thirdly, foremost female students feel sympathy for male teachers, for their exposed situation of being potentially suspected of improper behavior. The consequences of the students’ talk is mainly that male teachers and female students are under more pressure than others in terms of physical contact in PE. In the prevailing moral discourse, physical contact is often seen in (hetero) sexual terms. Educational environments that have become sexualized in this way hamper teachers’ pedagogical work and are not conducive to students’ learning or development. When physical touch is sexualized, teachers risk being accused of molestation, at the same time students may also become fearful of being molested. A heterosexual perspective prevails in the students’ talk of intergenerational touch, putting pressure on foremost male PE teachers and female students.
Butler, J. (1990). Gender Trouble. Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. Routledge Cockburn, C. & Clarke, G. (2002). “Everybody’s looking at you!”: Girls negotiating the “Femininity deficit” they incur in physical education. Women’s Studies International Forum, 25:6, 651-665. Fletcher, S. (2013). Touching practice and physical education: deconstruction of a contemporary moral panic. Sport Education and Society, 18:5, 694-709. Foucault, M. (1978/1991). Governmentality. In G. Burchell, C. Gordon. & P. Miller (Eds.), Governmentality, The Foucault effect. Studies in Governmentality (pp. 87-104). Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. Gundem, B.B. (2011). Europeisk didaktikk, tenkning og viten. Oslo: Universitetsforlage Öhman, M. (2016). Losing touch – Teachers’ self-regulation in physical education. European Physical Education Review, 1-14 Paechter, C. (2017). Young children, gender and the heterosexual matrix. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 38:2, 277-291. Piper, H. Garrat, D. & Taylor, B. (2013) Child abuse, child protection and defensive ’touch’ in PE teaching and sports coaching. Sport, Education and Society, 5, 583-598.
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