Content development decision-making of elementary physical education teachers
Hall, Tina Joyce
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The purpose of the study was to examine the content development decision- making process of three experienced elementary physical education teachers in their natural teaching environment. Each teacher planned for, taught, and reflected on a series of five lessons that focused primarily on one movement skill. The criteria used to select the participants were ten or more years of teaching experience and a primary curriculum focus of motor skill acquisition. The research design was a multiple case study. The data collection techniques included interviews, videotaped observations, stimulated recall interviews, a think-aloud procedure, and document analysis. Each case was analyzed inductively and reported independently as a data story followed by the researcher's interpretations. A final analysis was done across the cases. The individuality of the teachers was a significant theme throughout the data that influenced the many decisions they made. Across the three cases, there were many commonalities. For example, planning was an area all three teachers felt was important to quality teaching and was where most of their content development decisions were made. They all were goal oriented in their plans and had set, yet unique, planning routines. For all three teachers, many planning thoughts occurred sporadically and rarely reached paper. All three presented their plans as a progression formulated primarily from past teaching experiences and included additional knowledge sources as an avenue to strengthen the lesson. All three viewed reflection as an ongoing process that occurred while planning, during teaching, and after teaching. The reflections were generally used to make changes in the present lesson, the next class, or for future planning. Another theme that emerged was the constraints brought on by administrative rulings that influenced decision-making. Through the process of describing, analyzing and interpreting the data, and observations and discussions with the participants, several recommendations are made for teacher educators. These include: (1) A re-examination of how we teach the planning process, (2) Encouraging the use of a variety of knowledge sources early in the preservice teacher's training, and (3) Addressing reflection as not merely occurring after teaching but while planning and during the act of teaching.