Reconceptualizing student motivation in physical education: an examination of what resources are valued by pre-adolescent girls in contemporary society

T. O'Donovan, D. Kirk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Despite receiving an unprecedented level of government funding to ensure young people have two hours of high quality physical education (PE) and sport, physical educators in the UK continue to decry poor motivation levels and disengaged youth in PE. The major purpose of this paper is to achieve a greater understanding of the factors that motivate young girls' engagement in PE. Throughout this paper we foreground the perspectives of 13 white pre-adolescent girls through an ecological analysis of naturally occurring talk and interviews with pupils in year 7 (aged 11 to 12 years) of a suburban town in the UK Midlands. The discussion that follows attempts to provide new vantage points for contemplating what motivates pre-adolescent girls' engagement in PE. This paper examines the ways that this group of girls position themselves around available discourses in a wider physical and popular culture.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-91
Number of pages21
JournalEuropean Physical Education Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2008


  • popular physical culture
  • student agendas
  • physical education

Cite this