Teacher perceptions of school athletics and the academic experience: A case study of a rural Kansas high school
Powelson, Royce R.
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This study investigated perceptions of how a rural school in Kansas maintained a balance in athletic and academic success. Student engagement was the theoretical framework used to examine what and who influenced students to become involved in a balanced curriculum at school. The three specifics areas of investigation were (a) teachers in rural schools view of the role of academics and athletics in a school's overall curriculum, (b) the teacher's description of their beliefs about the importance of academics and athletics, (c) the teachers description of administrator, school, and community member priorities in balancing the athletic and academic experience of students. The data was collected from interviews with 18 research participants in a rural high school unusually successful in academic and athletic programs. The data revealed four themes that impacted from their perspective a student's willingness to engage in the curriculum at school: (1) work ethic taught and modeled from family, staff, and community, (2) strong relationships existed between students and their community because school activities was central to the cultural life in the community, (3) faith and the nuclear families allowed the students and their families to serve others in the community, (4) coaches taught secular values, ethics and morals, they stayed in this rural school district because they were supported by parents and community members. From the findings I concluded that the school culture for this rural school district was rare. A powerful trio existed in this rural Kansas school that seemed to bind everything and everyone together in the school and community that being: sports, family, and faith. Families of faith were believed to support teamwork more than individual success of their child. The collective success of the schools athletics programs gave the community its identity as one big deep-rooted family. Students engaged in school activities because they did not want to be left out of successful things happening in the school.
Thesis (Ed.D.)-- Wichita State University, College of Education, Dept. of Counseling, Educational Leadership, Educational and School Psychology