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ERIC Number: EJ1019533
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Feb
Pages: 20
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1356-336X
Ritual Associated with Participation in Physical Education: The Power of Excuse Notes
Lamb, Penny
European Physical Education Review, v20 n1 p120-139 Feb 2014
Physical education (PE) is steeped in history, tradition and ritual. The accepted tradition of excuse notes allowing pupils to self-exempt from lessons is one such ritual associated with the subject in schools. This paper explores the impact of this phenomenon, focusing on participation and engagement levels within PE lessons. Data was collected over a five-year period, through the use of surveys, focus group interviews, field-notes, brief case studies and analysis of documentation including excuse notes. Participants included parents, PE teachers, trainee teachers and pupils from across 10 UK secondary schools (age range 11-18) situated in the east of England. Grounded theory methodology informed an emergent model highlighting that ritual associated with excuse notes served to facilitate non-participation in PE. The notion of power as a theoretical construct emerged as a result of constant comparison between the testimonies of the parents, pupils, teachers and trainee teachers, highlighting the seemingly 'agreed acceptance' of excuse notes by those key stakeholders involved in pupil participation. It is perceived that the policy of excuse notes attributes power to parents and pupils to self-exempt from participating in PE. Parents will provide an excuse note for their child if they do not believe PE holds much value. The condoning of pupil self-exemption by parents is influenced by their values towards PE, embedded by their own school experiences and dispositions. Whilst acknowledging the value of the use of a note to communicate issues associated with health and physical well-being, the paper suggests that one solution is to re-position the perceived authority afforded the excuse note, in order to facilitate positive attitudes towards greater participation in lessons. The adoption of an alternate policy at a micro level, that requires pupils to change into PE kit even if they have a note, can foster an inclusive learning climate in which all pupils will have the opportunity to learn to enjoy being active, whether as a performer, coach or official. A fully inclusive model of participation, supported by parental education on the types of learning opportunities within lessons, may contribute to PE becoming viewed as an inherent part of a child's day at school and not as a subject that a pupil can easily self-exempt from participating in a lesson.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom (England)
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A