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Symbolism of Clothing: The Relationship between Teacher Clothing and Children’s Perceptions in Elementary School Physical Education Open Access


Other title
elementary school physical education
symbolism of teacher clothing
perception formation
children's perceptions of teachers
teacher clothing
role modeling
effective teaching
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Bradford, Brent D
Supervisor and department
Dr. Jose da Costa (Educational Policy Studies)
Dr. Carla Peck (Elementary Education)
Dr. Clive Hickson (Elementary Education) - Supervisor
Examining committee member and department
Dr. George Buck (Educational Psychology)
Dr. Jessica van Vliet (Educational Psychology)
Department of Elementary Education

Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
Teachers of physical education have the responsibility to develop and teach programs that physically educate elementary school children (Hickson & Fishburne, 2005). Therefore, what teachers do to achieve this aim is a critical consideration. Issues such as planning, lesson delivery (Bradford & Hickson, 2014; Mawer, 1995; Rink, 2006; Siedentop, 1991), and the evaluation of learning (Metzler, 2005; Pangrazi & Beighle, 2010) are constant themes of consideration and thought. However, other areas of preparedness such as presentation (i.e., clothing) have not been investigated to the same degree (Hickson & Bradford, 2012). Therefore, the purpose of this explanatory mixed-methods study was to determine whether an elementary school teacher’s choice of clothing in physical education affects children’s perceptions toward that teacher and the physical education lesson. Elementary school-aged children from six northern Alberta schools participated in the study. Quantitative data was collected through the use of a Mannequin Clothing Assessment Questionnaire (MCAQ); whilst focus group interviews were employed to collect qualitative data. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze the quantitative data. In regards to qualitative data, key words and themes emerging from the focus group interviews were analyzed and compared to identify common themes related to the children’s perceptions. Both quantitative and qualitative data illustrated that clothing is perceived as important when teachers are teaching physical education lessons. This information may prove to be beneficial to literature on effective teaching, teacher as a role model, symbolism of teacher clothing and those involved in educational fields.
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