The image of the Physical Education female teacher increases its presence in the Primary textbooks

  • April 4th, 2017

The representation of the Physical Education teaching staff in the Primary Education textbooks is changing because women are increasingly present in the manuals. However, the stereotypes related to the youth, the ‘white race’ and the absence of functional diversity are kept. These are some of the conclusions of an article in which the researchers Irene Moya and Concepción Ros have analysed the PE teacher model in different Spanish publishers.

The fact that the representation of the woman in the PE textbooks has been increased ‘is a further step when it comes to coeducation and equal opportunities to both genders in some publishers’, Irene Moya, professor of the Department of Musical, Visual and Corporal Expression (Universitat de València) and Conception Ros (Catholic University of Valencia) have highlighted.

The majority of those enrolled in Spanish universities in the specialities of Physical Activity and Sports are men. In this context, the researchers explain that publishers are adapting the contents to the regulations in the framework of the equality principles of the Education Organic Law (LOE) and the Organic Law 3/2007 for the equality between men and women. Nevertheless, ‘there are still physical characteristics and expressions in the female images in which the PE female teacher appears characterised with the painted lips and always smiling in contrast to the image of male teacher who appears with a serious and imposing attitude.’

Moreover, the article ‘The image of the Physical Education teacher in the textbooks’ explains that, in the male sex, it prevails the middle-aged thin man (35 to 65 years) whereas in the female sex it prevails the young thin woman (19 to 35 years).

Irene Moya and Concepción Ros claim that when it comes to the age, skin colour and the functional diversity no change is taking place in the stereotypes due to the predominance of the youth, the ‘white race’ and the total absence of any kind of functional diversity in the image of the PE teacher in the textbooks.

The attire of the male and female teachers have also been analysed. In the 100% of the representations, they appear with whistle, chronometer and, in some cases, with a notebook to write down the results. Moya and Ros affirm that these representations ‘create an stereotype of a traditional subject based on the results obtained through some physical condition tests which is far from the current Physical Education’.

In the research, these parameters have been compared with a previous study about the television series. Within this comparison, the professors affirm that the rest of the characteristics match with the ones in the textbooks, except from the gender issue. At this point, they have observed a more masculine presence in teaching and a more female presence in the images of the textbooks. According to experts, this invisibility of certain characteristics in the educational contexts, as well as in the media, do not benefit the integration of any type of person neither in the society nor in the school.

In order to do this paper, it has been analysed 45 images of Primary Education PE textbooks used in Spain and published by Anaya, Edelvives, Santillana, Serbal and Teide.

Research in Physical Education

Irene Moya is adjunct professor in the Faculty of Teacher Training of the Universitat de València, in the Department of Teaching of Musical, Visual and Corporal Expression and PE teacher in the CEIP El Almassil in Mislata. She is doctoral student with line of research in the analysis of images of PE textbooks in the Primary period. Conception Ros is doctor in Pedagogy by the Universitat de València and professor in the Universidad Católica de Valencia San Vicente Mártir. She is a member of the Research Group in Education for a Healthy Physical Activity (GIEPAFS) and she takes part in research projects with the Universidad Federal de Paraná (Brasil) and the Universidad Nacional de Tres de Febrero (Argentina).


Moya-Mata, I., & Ros, C. (2015). 'La imagen del docente de Educación Física en los libros de texto'. Revista Opción, 5, 625-641. (ISSN 1012-1587).



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