33 SES 02 C JS, Gender in Physical Education and Sport
Joint Paper Session NW18 and NW 33
Introduction and conceptual framework:
This paper seeks to understand how physical education (PE) knowledge and know-how evolve dynamically toward more equity within a participatory intervention research conducted according to an ‘activist approach’ (Oliver & Kirk, 2016) in a French preschool (3-6 years old). It considers the need to help children to recognize and deconstruct any forms of sex-stereotyping as a powerful knowledge that needs to be taught through pedagogical efforts to combat gendered inequalities.
The synthesis of research on gender in education highlights shared conclusions about the inequalities among girls and boys at school. Moreover, research in school subjects has recognized that pedagogical practices reproduce gendered aspects of the cultural heritage of societies (Duru-Bellat, 2017). Several authors have shown that differences in behaviour, values, attitudes, activities, work, leisure and social roles between men and women are the result of a gendered socialization, transmitted by parents, peers, the media and all educational institutions from an early age. According to Cromer, Dauphin and Naudier (2010), the childhood could be considered a laboratory of its kind where all gendered learning begins. Davies’ works (1989) concludes that gendered interactions and discourse in preschool and primary school reinforce a clear, relational dichotomy of male/female duality. With the purpose of deconstructing and even more challenging the dominant gender norms that pervade ways of acquiring PE knowledge and know-how of body movements in at early ages, the aim of this study is to describe how an experimental design, co-constructed with preschool teachers during a participatory intervention research, helps at deconstructing the dominant PE sex-stereotypes. Here, ‘knowledge’ is understood as having a potential power to move towards emancipation (Sensevy, 2007). Speaking of deconstruction emphasizes the purpose of an activist approach that challenges the ways students integrate gender norms within interactions at French preschool.
In this paper, the concept of gender should be understood as a fluid, multiple and shifting category. Gender is performed depending on the context and within social interactions. It cannot be reduced to the traditional male and female binary.
School as other cultural institutions participate in the social reproduction of sex stereotypes, which are constructed in interactions with learning environments. This leads us to consider that 'the recognition of sex-stereotypes” is an emancipatory knowledge that needs to be taught. For example, when children are specifically asked about if “girls and boys can do the same thing” they commonly answer that ‘everyone can do everything’. Nevertheless in practice, their young children’ reactions may include forms of rejection of activities traditionally connoted as feminine or as masculine. From an early age the body is a mark of social positions and the locus of masculine domination embodiment (Bourdieu, 1998; Duru-Bellat, 2017). That is why, during this three years long participatory intervention research in a French preschool (for a presentation see Verscheure, in this conference NtW 27) both researchers and schoolteachers decided to focus on body movements as a place of memory and of learning culturally constructed habits.
The research concerns children’ emancipation from dominant sex-norms of behaviour as socially and traditionally expected in PE. Its purpose is to investigate the effects of a didactical design dedicated to the recognition and deconstruction of sex-stereotyping related to basic motor skills within specific teaching contents. In France, little research has focused on classroom practices through qualitative and empirical approaches in relation to the gendered contents taught and how these practices impact student learning. Verscheure and Vinson (2018) pointed out that within verbal or non-verbal interactions between teachers and students, a dynamic process emerges which, over didactic time, has an effect in terms of students’ body knowledge constructions and their gendered learning trajectories.
The research is based on a case study and a qualitative approach. Within the project of participatory intervention research, all schoolteachers from a preschool participate on educational and didactic workshops, which aimed at raising children awareness on gender issues. They co-constructed with the researcher a broad experimental design (in diverse school subjects including PE) about changing pedagogies to move forward more gender sensitive classroom practices. This presentation focuses on the effect on student learning of a specific didactical design during a lesson conducted by one of the schoolteachers of the preschool. With the purpose of a fine-grained description of students’ actions and discourses the research design is based on video recordings of lessons. Observational data are analysed against the background of ‘joint action in didactics’ (JAD) conceptual framework (Sensevy, 2007). It permits studying teacher and students’ discourses, actions and interactions in a given situation to depict student learning experiences and the meanings constructed through these experiences. Using the JAD framework key concepts the analysis describes in details the gendered dynamics of student learning in the specific didactical design called “how to… run/jump/throw/(etc.)... like”, during PE practices. The paper focuses particularly on two girls and two boys within the didactical design “how to run like …”: The schoolteacher asks girls and boys to mimic ‘run like does a girl’, then, ‘run like does a boy’, and finally ‘run like in everyday life’. At the end of the PE lesson, the schoolteacher set up a debate which aims to identify and recognize sex-stereotypes. The purpose of the debate was to highlight how the taken-for-granted features of social sex-stereotypes about body actions influenced students’ running actions. Girls and boys’ ways of running and their discourses were analysed from a gendered semiotic lens with the purpose to identify how knowledge related to the recognition of sex-stereotyping ways of running evolves over didactical transactions.
The findings demonstrate how multiple micro-social interactions affect classroom practices in ways that explain how gendered learning may be challenged. The qualitative analysis shows that children’ experiences during this lesson allow them to discover and criticise the gendered stereotypes bodily performed and that their voice during the debate open new ways to question the gendered stereotypical vision of being a girl of a boy in PE.They show also that an activist approach of gender issues in teaching PE may have fruitful influence in helping children to resist and challenge gender binary categorisation.
Cromer, S., Dauphin, S., et Naudier, D. (2010). L'enfance, laboratoire du genre in S. Cromer (coord.). Les objets de l'enfance. Cahiers du genre. 49, 5-14. Bourdieu, P. (1998). La domination masculine. Paris : Editions du Seuil. Davies, B. (1989). Frogs and snails and feminists tales. Preschool children and gender. Sydney: Allen and Unwin. Duru-Bellat, M. (1995). Filles et garçons à l’école, approches sociologiques et psycho-sociales : La construction scolaire des différences entre les sexes. Revue Française de Pédagogie. 110, 75-109. Duru-Bellat, M. (2017). La tyrannie du genre. Paris : Sciences Po Les Presses. Oliver, K.L., & Kirk, D. (2014). Toward an activist approach for research and advocacy for girl and physical education. Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, 16(3), 313-327. Sensevy, G. (2007). Des catégories pour décrire et comprendre l’action didactique. In G. Sensevy, et A. Mercier, (Eds.). Agir ensemble. L’action didactique conjointe du professeur et des élèves (pp. 13-49). Rennes: Presses Universitaires. Verscheure, I. (2018). Overcoming sex stereotyping in various subjects at primary school: learning from a longitudinal research intervention on ‘gender and didactics’ (Symposium on Gender & Didactics, Network 27, this conference) Verscheure, I. & Vinson, M. (2018). Effets de l’action didactique conjointe des professeurs et des élèves sur la construction différentielle des « positions de genre » en badminton. In F. Brière-Guenoun, S. Couchot-Schiex, M-P. Poggi, I. Verscheure. Les inégalités d’accès aux savoirs se construisent aussi en EPS… Analyses didactiques et sociologiques. Besançon : PUFC.
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
Network 2. Vocational Education and Training (VETNET)
Network 3. Curriculum Innovation
Network 4. Inclusive Education
Network 5. Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education
Network 6. Open Learning: Media, Environments and Cultures
Network 7. Social Justice and Intercultural Education
Network 8. Research on Health Education
Network 9. Assessment, Evaluation, Testing and Measurement
Network 10. Teacher Education Research
Network 11. Educational Effectiveness and Quality Assurance
Network 12. LISnet - Library and Information Science Network
Network 13. Philosophy of Education
Network 14. Communities, Families and Schooling in Educational Research
Network 15. Research Partnerships in Education
Network 16. ICT in Education and Training
Network 17. Histories of Education
Network 18. Research in Sport Pedagogy
Network 19. Ethnography
Network 20. Research in Innovative Intercultural Learning Environments
Network 22. Research in Higher Education
Network 23. Policy Studies and Politics of Education
Network 24. Mathematics Education Research
Network 25. Research on Children's Rights in Education
Network 26. Educational Leadership
Network 27. Didactics – Learning and Teaching
The programme is updated regularly (each day in the morning)
- Search for keywords and phrases in "Text Search"
- Restrict in which part of the abstracts to search in "Where to search"
- Search for authors and in the respective field.
- For planning your conference attendance you may want to use the conference app, which will be issued some weeks before the conference
- If you are a session chair, best look up your chairing duties in the conference system (Conftool) or the app.