Does competition within Physical Education lessons discourage female participation, making inclusion more difficult to achieve?
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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The purpose of this study was to determine whether competition within Physical Education lessons discourages female participation, limiting whole class inclusion. Also, looking at how competition varies with age and ability, examining reasons for exclusion. Semistructured interviews were split into higher (n=3) and lower (n=3) ability students between year seven and nine, lasting between 21 and 51 minutes. Questions consisted of the topics: the National Curriculum, competition, participation and motivation. Results were displayed in tables based upon topics from the literature review, with sub-topics ranked on importance depending on frequency of appearance during focus groups. Results demonstrated that competition does not affect females of different abilities in the same way. Findings indicated that on-pitch sports competition generally acts as a motivator for students, demonstrated in higher ability groups. However, competition that extends outside of lessons but is brought into Physical Education environments tends to negatively impact motivation to participate. Lower ability students are seen to be less driven by lifelong participation, as a result of social exclusion from peers that is exacerbated throughout Key Stage three. Further research needs to look into modifications for Physical Education lessons, with particular attention to class ability and how all students can benefit physically and psychologically as a result of positive experiences of competition within Physical Education.
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