A COMPARISON OF ATTITUDES SHOWN BY BOYS AND GIRLS IN KEY STAGE 3 AND 4 TOWARDS PHYSICAL EDUCATION
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Physical inactivity and obesity is a major public health problem and it is vital that strategies are put in place to combat this trend. In order to prevent continuing health problems in children, this study aimed to identify the reasons for low levels of activity that are contributing to worrying levels of obesity. Comparing the attitudes of boys and girls in key stage 3 and 4 towards physical education was paramount in this study to gain an understanding of the factors influencing young people’s activity levels. For this study a single-case study design was adopted using focus groups as its source of data collection. A total of four focus groups were conducted, two in each key stage. The data analysis led to the emergence of three key themes; Perceived competence and ability; Curriculum activities and Gender assumptions. Overall students had moderately positive attitudes toward physical education, however attitudes significantly decline in KS4. Girls were increasing affected by low perceived competence and gender assumptions which had significant influence on year ten girls participation. Boys were overall less affected by perceived competence and gender assumptions, even though enjoyment levels were slightly affected by these, participation remained high. All pupils wanted more variety in the curriculum as findings suggested by the time students reached year ten the repetitive nature of activities caused a lack of interest. Schools and physical educators need to ensure that the main emphasis within the lessons is on enjoyment and participation so that all students can participate within a non-threatening environment.
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