'One of the boys?' : an ethnographic study of gender relations, co-education, and initial teacher education in physical education

Anne Flintoff
This research aimed to investigate the ways in which teacher education institutions constructed, confirmed or contested gender identities in secondary Physical Education (PE). The study centred on an indepth ethnographic study of two case study institutions, chosen to reflect the male and female history of PE initial teacher education (ITE) in Britain. Data was collected from a term's observation in each of the two case study institutions, together with semi-structured interviews with those
more » ... iews with those members of staff who had major control over decision making and policy implementation, as well as through document analysis. Analysis of the ITE courses in both institutions showed that gender issues formed only a small part of the formal curriculum, particularly in the PGCE courses. The attitudes of PB staff revealed either apathy or hostility to the raising of gender issues in their work, although there was evidence of some staff working hard to raise such issues with students. Despite gender forming such a small part in the formal curriculum, it was a major influence on timetabling of physical activities within the PE Subject studies. The rationales for the timetabling revealed strong gender ideologies about the nature of physical ability and performance for men and women. Gender relations were also reproduced through classroom interaction, which was dominated by masculine identity work, by both male students as well as some of the male staff. This involved sexual innuendo and gender joking which was used to put one another down, and to undermine the confidence and skills of women students and staff. As a result, for many of the women, negotiating a gender identity in PE was a difficult and contradictory experience.
doi:10.21954/ou.ro.0000e03f fatcat:ne4l5bxucnhkngfqkrrxz6h3w4