Developing the pedagogical practice of physical education pre-service teachers in gymnastics: exploring gendered embodiment

Joanne McVeigh, Michael Waring

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

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This paper reports on the gendered embodiment of physical education (PE) pre-service teachers, as they learnt to teach gymnastics using mobile website technology.

Framed within an interpretivist paradigm and informed by a constructivist grounded theory, qualitative data from module observations, focus groups and semi-structured interviews were analysed as part of an iterative process. The participants included PSTs from two secondary physical education teacher education (PETE) cohorts and a teacher educator (TE, female) in a single higher education institution. Author one designed the mobile website and at times took on the role of TE within the study. Bourdieu’s central tenets of habitus, field and capital were employed as part of the conceptualisation of the following categories: (1) The gendered body in gymnastics (2) The dominance of masculine characteristics; and (3) Gender and competition.

Analysis of data revealed that male and female PSTs’ pedagogical engagement with the mobile website in gymnastics reflects stereotypical notions of gender. The dominance of masculinity worked to privilege those bodies that possessed the necessary attributes and often emancipated males in what historically has been considered a female activity.

This study recognised the role of the gendered habitus in constructing normalised bodily movements for both male and female PSTs in a PETE gymnastics context. However, it is recommended that PETE teaching pedagogies be explicitly deconstructed to offer more nuanced gendered practices that challenge the gender order, offering equity for the more marginalised PE bodies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalPhysical Education and Sport Pedagogy
Early online date15 Oct 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 15 Oct 2021


  • PETE
  • gender
  • pedagogy
  • gymnastics
  • mobile website technology


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