Boys' masculinities in three adventure physical education classes
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The diminished state of youth health in the United States has been a rising concern over the past few decades (Fahlman, Dake, McCaughtry, & Martin, 2008; Krebs, Baker, & Greer, 2003). Headlines across the nation declare that children in the United States are getting heavier and most point to a lack of physical activity as the cause (Wechsler et al., 2004). Understanding adventure physical education might help to create physical education programs that captivate students so much so that they look forward to participating rather than enacting task avoidance strategies. In fact, physical education might empower students to be physically active outside of the school setting, thus improving youth health. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine boys’ masculinities in adventure physical education. The theoretical framework that guided this study was Connell’s concept of masculinity. One teacher (Andy) and students from three sections of his adventure physical education class were observed and interviewed for fifteen weeks.
The main findings from this study showed how Andy’s program and approach to teaching were driven by a desire and effort to decrease the status differentials among students by building metaphorical bridges. Andy’s adventure physical education class created social status differentials that boys described as flattened which resulted in positive feelings about physical activity in their lives inside and outside of physical education.
Children & youth
0523: Physical education