Here Is What Interests Us! Students’ Reconceived Physical Education Activity Offerings in an Inner-City Middle School


  • David Kahan San Diego State University


Urban middle school physical education teachers undertook action research to understand activity preferences of their sixth and seventh graders (n = 701) as they sought to modify curriculum for enhancing student engagement. Students completed an anonymous survey of basic demographic characteristics and interest in participating in 24 physical education activities. Responses were analyzed by vector analysis where the magnitude and direction of preference was taken into account to generate standardized T-scores Difference scores were used to compare preferences by gender, ethnicity, and grade, with |Tdifference| greater than 16.4 considered significant (p < .05). For gender, males more preferred football and females more preferred volleyball, yoga, and jump rope than the opposite gender. For ethnicity, Hispanics more preferred soccer than Asians; and Hispanics, Blacks, and Asians more preferred their own ethnonymic games and dance activities than their counterparts. Preference differences were not found between grades. Urban physical educators—and possibly others—should consider gender- and ethnic-based preferences when making curricular content and pedagogical decisions.

Author Biography

David Kahan, San Diego State University

David Kahan is a professor in the School of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences.