Readings of and expectations for physical education

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University of Alabama Libraries

The influence of middle school pupils' acculturation on their readings of and expectations for physical education was studied. Utilizing socialization theory, findings indicated that the majority of pupils read the subject positively and in terms of four outcomes: learning and experiencing sports, health and fitness, socializing, and enjoyment and excitement. A minority of pupils, however, was more negative about physical education, viewing the subject as being of little worth. Key socializing agents that appeared to shape the beliefs and views of the pupils were their physical education teachers, peers, parents, coaches, and prevailing culture. The socialization theory was used to examine how acculturation influences parents' readings of and expectations for the subject. Parents were found to be concerned with participating in sports, physical activities, health-related fitness, and personal and social development. These perceptions were shaped by parents' own experiences of physical education; participation in organized and informal sport and physical activity as children and youth; their own relatives and peers; participation in physical activity as adults; and the media. Collectively, while these factors led to many of the parents viewing physical education positively and being supportive of it, they also served to limit the ways in which they envisaged the subject might influence their children for the better. Occupational socialization theory was used to explore what factors influenced principals' readings of and expectations of physical education. Findings indicated that principals had a limited and superficial understanding of the goals of physical education, its curricula, and pedagogies. This was because their beliefs about the subject were largely shaped by their own experiences of physical education and sport as children and youth rather than any formal training received. These findings suggested that training for those intending to become principals needs to include a much stronger physical education component. In summary, key findings across the three studies were that pupils, parents, and principals were all supportive of curriculum focused on sports and games and promoting health and fitness. All groups were strongly influenced by their acculturation. Worryingly, the parents and principals conceptions of physical education were less sophisticated than those of the pupils.

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Physical education