(5) Physical Educators’ and Other Majors’ Experiences in a College of Education and Their Attitudes Toward Interacting Across Gender and Race

Peg Nugent
National-Louis University

Nell Faucette
University of South Florida

Jeffrey Kromrey
University of South Florida

Abstract: This study compared the demographics of male and female preservice educators college-wide and PE majors and Non-PE majors by gender in a large urban southeast college of education. In addition, female and male PE and Non-PE majors’ experiences in the college as well as their attitudes toward interacting with students different from themselves in terms of gender or race were explored. Late spring, early fall 1993, 491 undergraduates across the college completed a 150 item survey. For this analysis, data were collected through 62 items involving demographics, “problems students may be encountering,” and students’ willingness to interact with other students different from themselves by gender and/or race at varying levels of social closeness. According to the results, females in the college continue to congregate in stereotypical domains such as elementary and special education while males continue to dominate specializations such as physical education and secondary education – domains that can serve as feeder systems to administrative and higher paying positions. PE majors were younger and less heterogeneous in age than other majors in the college. They also had lower high school GPAs than Non-PE majors. However, at the university, PE majors’ GP As were similar to Non-majors. Both groups were predominantly Caucasian. Overall, problems identified were scored relatively low with those related to educational expenses, financial assistance, and advising emerging among the highest for both PE and Non-PE majors although PE majors reported fewer problems. In addition, unlike the male pre service educators in both groups, females identified school-related stress as somewhat problematic for them. Regarding social distance, both male and female students were quite willing to interact closely with others different from themselves both in terms of gender or racial/ethnic origin. Overall, the male PE majors were the least willing to socialize with others different from themselves.

Citation: Nugent, P., Faucette, N., & Kromrey, J. (1998). Physical educators’ and other majors’ experiences in a college of education and their attitudes toward interacting across gender and race. Florida Journal of Educational Research, 38(1), 49-64.

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