Hiding behind the camera: social learning within the cooperative learning model to engage girls in physical education

Victoria A Goodyear, Ashley Casey, David Kirk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

83 Citations (Scopus)
162 Downloads (Pure)


Research suggests that girls are disengaged in physical education due to the ‘traditional’ way that it is taught, i.e. teacher-centred approaches with a primary focus on motor performance. In contrast, Cooperative Learning, a student-centred pedagogy focusing on learning in multiple domains, has had success in engaging girls in physical education. Furthermore, when cooperative group work has been combined with technology, student engagement with learning is heightened. This article discusses the use of Cooperative Learning and video cameras to bring about a positive change to the learning environment for girls who were identified as being disengaged in physical education. Two classes of adolescent girls were taught an eight-lesson unit of Basketball using Cooperative Learning. Students worked in learning teams, participating in different roles, such as a coach or a camerawoman, to help each other learn and to film video clips of their learning. Data collection included a teacher's reflective journal, post-lesson teacher analysis tool, student interviews and the analysis of learning teams' movies. Inductive analysis and constant comparison was used for data analyses. Findings suggest that the role of the coach and the camerawoman was pivotal to girls' engagement. Some girls only ‘fully’ participated in lessons when learning was within the social and cognitive domains, since they could ‘hide behind the camera’ and were not required to participate physically. We controversially suggest that, in order to engage girls in physical education, we may have to temporarily remove the physical domain of learning (at least for some girls) in order to positively affect their longer term engagement in the subject.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)712-734
Number of pages23
JournalSport, Education and Society
Issue number6
Early online date18 Jul 2012
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • information and communication technology
  • engagement
  • participation
  • girls


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