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Title: A comparative analysis of secondary and high school physical education policy and practice for girls in the United Kingdom and the United States of America
Author: Stidder, Gary
Awarding Body: University of Brighton
Current Institution: University of Brighton
Date of Award: 2009
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In terms of taking part in physical activity and sport, the adolescent years are particularly challenging times for many girls as physical and emotional changes occur much earlier than boys causing greater self-consciousness and higher drop-out rates. Equally, it is at this stage of compulsory schooling that physical education becomes a specialist subject in its own right taught by highly trained subject specialists who are extremely influential on the activity patterns of girls both within and outside formal secondary and high school settings. Through a comparative analysis this study identifies the most significant changes in education policy and examines the impact upon the teaching of physical education to adolescent girls in the United Kingdom (UK) and United States of America (USA). Using both quantitative and qualitative methods in four case study schools, policy and practice are examined in selected schools in Sussex, England (n=2) and in California, USA (n=2). The study identifies and draws attention to a range of complexities that exist at a time when lifestyle choices, activity preferences and exercise habits amongst girls and young women continue to change. The rhetoric of public policy and the reality of localised practice in schools are considered highlighting the ways and means through which physical education is provided to girls and how teachers are central players in either perpetuating or challenging sex discrimination and inequality. In addition, the actual physical education experiences of young women and girls are assessed, offering voices both to those who excel in a physical activity and those who have become disaffected, disinterested and disillusioned with school physical education. The study concludes that for a significant number of girls on both sides of the Atlantic, whilst there are important nuanced differences, in general a range of personal barriers to physical education exist which are often compounded by teachers' interpretations of school policy. This plays a significant part in their own perceptions of body image, self-confidence and levels of enjoyment.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available