Academic journal article Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport

From the Mouths of Babes: Student Voice in an Urban Elementary School

Academic journal article Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport

From the Mouths of Babes: Student Voice in an Urban Elementary School

Article excerpt

Student engagement in urban physical education programs is often problematic for teachers. One reason for a lack of engagement appears to be that many students do not find a great deal of meaning in the content of their physical education class. Students' lack of engagement in physical education is, as well, influenced by contextual variables such as the students' and teachers' personal characteristics (e.g., the manner by which they demonstrate respect for other people and handle conflict) and the values manifested in their community. The aforementioned contextual variables along with questionable content suggest that urban physical education teachers should employ different curricular programs and instructional methods than have been traditionally used in order to make programs meaningful to students. While the perceptions urban high school students hold about physical education has been examined, the perceptions of elementary urban students with regard to the meaningfulness of physical education have not (Cothran & Ennis, 1999; Ennis et al., 1997). The purpose of the current study was to examine students' perceptions of events that occur frequently in urban physical education at the elementary level. Participants were an intact class of 15 sixth-grade students and their teacher. Data were collected in three ways: (a) videotaped records of lessons, (b) field notes and (c) formal interviews with 10 students using a semistructured interview guide. …

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