A Narrative Exploration of Girls' Experiences in Elective Physical Education: Why do they Continue?




Gruno, Jennifer B.

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Physical inactivity is a serious public health concern in Canada, especially among the country’s youth. Adolescent girls, in particular, suffer many life-long consequences due to inactivity. Physical Education (PE) can offer a solution. However, the vast majority of girls discontinue enrollment in PE as soon as the mandatory credits are met. Tailored PE courses designed to meet the needs and interests of girls may motivate girls to continue participating in PE. This narrative inquiry explored three girls’ stories of their past experiences in elementary, middle, and high school PE, as well as their current experiences in a tailored elective PE course entitled Girls Actively Living (GAL). The goals of this study were to explore how the girls’ experiences with the course content, learning environment, and assessment in GAL affected their perceptions of physical education. Additionally, it was of interest how their experiences outside of PE influenced their desire to continue in elective PE and how their experiences in GAL affected their perceptions of physical activity. Findings emphasized the importance of (a) variety and cooperation within PE course content, (b) a fun and welcoming PE learning environment, (c) fair and private assessment, and (d) feelings of confidence, social safety, and competence for girls in PE.



Physical Education, Girls, Narrative Inquiry, PE, Experiences, Elective