Gender construction in New Zealand physical education.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Teaching and Learning
This study investigates how teacher beliefs, programmes and practices contribute to gender construction, within co-educational secondary schools, in New Zealand. It explores how physical education teaching practices support and reinforce socially desirable forms of masculinity and femininity. The research utilises interviews with teachers and students in co-educational secondary schools in the Canterbury region. Students and teachers offer narratives surrounding the gendered beliefs and practices that are inherent in physical education classes. The evidence presented represents the collaborative ideas of four teachers and twenty students. The discussion investigates the nature of teacher beliefs surrounding the development of gender, and examines the hidden curriculum that supports the replication and legitimisation of socially desirable forms of masculinity and femininity. In particular, it examines teachers' understandings of masculinity and femininity, the hierarchies and different expectations of achievement and behaviour that exist in physical education classes. It examines how changes in physical education programmes, have challenged explicit issues relating to gender, while hidden messages have not been addressed. Lastly the discussion reflects on the reasons why gender constructions go unchallenged, and provides insight into possible avenues to instigate change. This research indicates how gender continues to be constructed due to the hidden curriculum that is operationalised by teachers and students in physical education classes. It suggests strategies that would assist in changing and challenging the gender construction in physical education. Finally, the study concludes that in order for gender construction to be reduced within from the physical education classroom the physical education sector must strive to challenge existing ideologies and develop practices that allow and provide for a diverse range of masculinities and femininities.