Question Detail

How do you get girls to fully participate in gym class?

Mar 7, 2018 10:03am

I teach three gym classes and I find myself having the hardest of times getting girls to dress and be active when it come to my gym class. We play games in which they are the main focus and yet they still refuse to be involved

  • Physical Education
  • 9-12
  • Planning
  • Student Collaboration


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    • Mar 14, 2018 11:49am

      Hi Antonio! I'm curious about what grades you teach. When I think back to my own experience with gym class, I remember that it was sometime in middle school when I stopped enjoying this type of activity at school. Unfortunately, there is so much pressure for girls to look nice and be perfect, it can be difficult to truly engage in a rigorous sport --even if only for a short time. It may seem trivial, but your female students may be concerned about their appearance post class, they may have body image concerns around dressing and showering if necessary, or they may not excel in sports and don't want to risk embarrassing themselves in front of their peers. I don't know if any strategy or curriculum would have worked to pull me in from the sidelines, but I know that if gym class was scheduled later in the day, I didn't care as much about messing up my look. Perhaps a focus on strong female athletes in your class and in the gym/locker room or some lessons on empowered female athletes might help. It's important for girls to be active and healthy. Kudos to you for seeking strategies that will help! Best wishes!

      • Apr 20, 2018 5:55am

        What I do in my class is I ask them to dress out for a grade and then they need to participate for at least 20 mins to get their grade for the day. Once they start playing the first day I start the timer and once it over I give them a choice to continue for a higher grade or to stop. The day they get the same speech about needing to give me 20 minutes, but this time I do not start the timer, sometime they noticed but most times they don't. After a bout a week it is not a problem anymore.

        • Apr 20, 2018 2:44pm

          I teach 12 year old boys and girls and I often have girls who are not interested in "performing " in front of the boys, even to just do push-ups or run, so I separate them. I do warm-up conditioning with boys on our stage and girls running on the floor then switch. I had a contest between classes to see how many laps the class could run in 5 minutes with the stage crew doing 30 seconds of plank, 30 seconds of push ups, squats, stretching, etc. before switching and having a turn to "run." Some ran, some walked, but they all wanted to try even if it meant run a lap and walk a lap because the prize was what many of them wanted. they make a mark on a whiteboard each time they pass. very low tech. I add it up and divide by how many students there were. Sometimes, it's candy; other times it's free time in gym. Find out what they want and give them options to get it.
          I've also separated the boys and girls by having them make long lines side by side, but back to back. The boys are lined up down the middle of the gym with the girls behind them facing away. They do a quick interval workout like run forward and back to the middle as fast as they can, touching the floor each they go up or back. It seemed that as long as they were facing away from each other, they were more willing to be active.