Equality of the Genders in Physical Education: The Studends' Perceptions

By Zaravigka, Katerina; Pantazis, Vassilis | Journal of Physical Education and Sport, September 2012 | Go to article overview

Equality of the Genders in Physical Education: The Studends' Perceptions


Zaravigka, Katerina, Pantazis, Vassilis, Journal of Physical Education and Sport


Introduction

Gender in Education is a topic which, especially the last two decades, has occupied the academic and research community both internationally and in Greece. Scientific thinking has developed aimed at keeping record of the current situation; and presenting research findings. These findings related to the main factors of the educational process particular to the distinction and the relationship of equality and, finally, by providing useful conclusions and recommendations.

In Greece, investigations on students' attitudes to gender were limited or, even, non-existent for educational items such as Physical Education (Sidiropoulou-Dimakakos, 1996; Vitsilaki-Soroniati, 1997; Deliyanni-Kouimtzi & Sakka, 1998; Deliyanni, Sakka, Psalti, Frosi, Arkoumani, Stogiannidou & Sygkollitou, 2000; and Frosi 2008). We were prompted by the research gap to investigate the students' perceptions in relation to gender in Physical Education.

Physical Education in Nowadays School- Objectives

Physical Education is part of the school's structure and the Greek educational system «is a basic mission for the State and has the objective to train Greeks in moral, spiritual, vocational and physical training education» (Constitution of Greece, Article 16, paragraph 2). This concept is not identical to physical activity because it contains a broader view and focuses on the whole child, including cognitive, affective and psychomotor aspects.

Curriculum Physical Education

Physical activity is the content, product and result of the Physical Education Curriculum which is consistent with the Interdisciplinary Unified Framework for the Greek Studies Programme, DEPPS (curriculum integration or thematic teaching). It is constructed from a single approach to either grade education or the training programme. This common approach includes learning objectives; teaching methods; and educational assessment etc.

Some of Physical Education's main objectives are to enhance the student's health; to learn kinetic skills; and, above all, to acquire positive attitudes to physical pursuit after finishing school (lifelong exercise). In addition to investing in the students' lives, an implicitly obvious key objective is the inclusion and integration of the child through respect for the rules of Physical Education activities.

The purpose of Physical Education, in education, is «to contribute primarily to the physical development of pupils and also help mental and spiritual cultivation and the harmonious integration into society» (Government Gazette, No. B. No.304/13-03-03: sex, Annex, Volume II, p. 4281). As stated in the Curriculum, the priority is to develop students' motor skills and through them to cultivate their natural abilities and enhance their health. Largely, however, the reproduction, through the school system, of the society's values and beliefs are being transferred through the so-called para-programma or hidden curriculum which acts, in parallel, to the official curriculum.

Teachers' Expectations and Perceptions relating to Sex

Many researchers supported the view that schools were institutions which bred social inequalities (Bernstein 1977; Delamont 1980; Gogou-Critikou 1994; Giagkoumidis 1997). The disparities are not only economic but, also, class or racial aspects of social structure. In contrast, it concerns both sexes since school plays the traditional division of roles which leads to a relationship of power exercised by men towards women. The family environment is the one which, from the moment of birth, teaches and forms the gender roles. However, it is the school environment which gives them the roles of social content and stereotypes of male or female roles are becoming more stringent (Romao 1985; Kantartzis 1996).

Equality is one of the issues which are being investigated in education since, in school subjects, students' performance determines, usually, their education and, then, their professional choices. …

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