A qualitative exploration of adolescent girls’ experiences with relatedness-supportive teaching strategies in physical education




Hartrick, Teresa

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School-based physical education (PE) has been identified as an effective avenue for addressing issues of inactivity among adolescent girls. However, often times PE courses fail to meet the needs of young women and instead lead to disaffection; ultimately resulting in the majority of adolescent girls dropping out of PE once it is no longer mandatory. Self-Determination Theory (SDT) has proven to be a useful framework for understanding PE motivation among this population. In particular, supporting the need for relatedness among female PE students appears significant for enhancing PE motivation and engagement. Therefore, providing relatedness-supportive learning environments may be an effective way for teachers to encourage continued PE and PA participation among their female students. The purpose of this research study was to gain insight into the experiences of grade 9 and 10 girls participating in a girls-only PE course that employed relatedness-supportive teaching strategies. The goal was to use a case study approach with semi-structured (teacher) and focus group interviews (students) to explore the role of relatedness-supportive learning environments in enhancing PE motivation and enjoyment among adolescent girls, as well as their overall feelings of social relatedness. Findings highlighted the importance of (a) meeting students where they are at, (b) creating open, respectful and active environments, (c) providing opportunities for organic connection-making, and (c) the role of resource and curriculum constraints.



Physical Education, Girls, Self-Determination Theory, Relatedness, Relatedness-Support, Adolescents, Teaching Strategy, Qualitative