This is the abstract from a conference presentation (presented at the British Educational Research Association Annual Meeting, September 2014). This was a follow-up to the published chapter Casey, Hill and Goodyear (2014) “PE doesn’t stand for physical education, it stands for public embarrassment” Voicing Experiences and Proffering Solutions to Girls’ Disengagement in PE, https://rowman.com/ISBN/9781475808308
Joanne Hill, Ashley Casey and Victoria Goodyear
With a concern around the quality and rigour of change knowledge for girls’ (dis)engagement in physical education (Oliver and Kirk, 2013), teachers and researchers are increasingly concerned with listening to young people’s inputs in working towards relevant and enjoyable learning experiences (Thompson, 2008). Youth voice is usually understood through verbal and/or visual methods and with small groups (Azzarito and Kirk, 2012; O’Sullivan and MacPhail, 2010).
The purpose of this study is to explore how Twitter acts as a virtual space to listen to youth voice and understand the construction of identities.
Yet with the rapid emergence and global use of social media (Fullan, 2013), sites such as Twitter may offer an alternative way in which to listen to a broad range of youth voices. Indeed, through tweets and retweets youth (and others) can express their voices publicly and in doing so, construct their identities in a virtual space (Abiala and Hernwall, 2013; Marwick and boyd, 2011). Formats including social media have been identified as fruitful sources in digital sociology (Murthy, 2008), although the extent to which Twitter specifically can be used for accessing and understanding youth voice is less known.
Using the application twitonomy, we harvested tweets from girls containing the phrases “I hate PE” and “I love PE”. Analysis occurred through a triad test (Ryan and Bernard, 2003). Each of three researchers independently read the tweets, coded them, and then shared their codes with each other. Subsequently, we created an imaginary blog by a student, representing a collective voice. This blog enabled the voices to be shared without identifying any specific Twitter user.
The initial interpretations from the data were used to continue discussions around ways to enhance student-centred curricula by listening to what girls have to say about PE. By using tweets as the data source, elements of naturally occurring talk between tweeters and their (imagined) audiences could be accessed. Tweeters’ positioning of themselves as students who love or hate PE, contributes to a cyber identity that may or may not reflect how they actually engage in PE / produce an identity as student. We raise questions around the use of Twitter as a source of an authentic voice and consider the ethical dilemmas in using Twitter as a means to understand identity construction.
This is the abstract from a conference presentation (presented at American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting, April 2014). The work is from our Positive Movement Subcultures project, funded by a seeding grant from SSEHS, Loughborough University.
Joanne Hill and Rachel Sandford
This paper presents data from a qualitative case study into one positive movement subculture, in which we implemented a strengths-based methodological approach drawn from Appreciative Inquiry. We analyse what works to enhance engagement and investigate how practitioners and participants create shared values and gender-sensitive pedagogies within a LGBTQ-friendly and body positive space. Sport and physical education spaces have long been recognised as gendered and gendering, which has not supported positive experiences for all, especially those marginalised within gender-normative spaces.
The research was carried out in a dance school for adults, set up in London in 2012. The school offers beginners and improvers classes in a number of traditional dance styles, predominantly ballet but including also tap, Latin and swing. Twelve semi-structured interviews were carried out with dance practitioners and learners, using positive questions inspired by Appreciative Inquiry. These included, How/Why do you think this dance school is successful in engaging individuals in dance? What are your favourite aspects of the dance class? Discourse and thematic analyses were then undertaken to help construct narratives of the participants’ experiences and highlight elements of practice and culture within the classes that were felt to contribute to a positive environment for movement.
Analysis indicates four major themes contributing to a positive pedagogy: the practitioners committed to gender neutral language; looked where possible for adaptations that encouraged participation; emphasised that it is okay to fail; and worked for an environment in which participants felt safe. The studio space was adapted to assist participants who were uncomfortable watching themselves in the mirror. Emphasis was placed on individual learning progression, rather than perfection. Boundaries of acceptable practice and language were established from the start, not only to ensure welcoming spaces for fellow participants, but for oneself also: this meant committing to supportive comments and no criticism. This afforded a safe environment for LGBTQ participants to express their gender identity without fear. All participants were able to learn traditionally gendered elements of dance, such as en pointe which is typically taught to girls/women only. As a number of participants expressed their enjoyment of the dance school by highlighting the contrast to their negative memories of PE/school sport, there are elements identified in this paper that might encourage other movement spaces looking for positive and gender-sensitive pedagogical practice.