Teaching methods and life experiences of urban elementary physical education teachers
Culp, Brian O'Neal
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Demographic changes that are occurring across the country have created a need to examine curriculum outcomes and teaching of diverse learners in urban school environments. Students in physical education programs in particular reflect these cultural and racial changes. Physical education is an appropriate subject for teachers to introduce culturally responsive pedagogy into the learning environment. The purpose of this study was to examine methods of instruction that African American and Caucasian American elementary physical education teachers use in urban schools. A second goal was to add to existing literature regarding the instruction of students from diverse backgrounds in physical education. In this qualitative study, I.M.P.A.C.T. survey instrument (Culp & Chepyator-Thomson, 2004) was used as a guide to gauge urban physical education teachers’ methods of instruction. The sample of teachers who participated in the study came from 52 elementary schools in a large southeastern urban city in the United States. Grounded theory served as the method that guided the examination of themes from the survey. Constant comparison analysis (Glaser & Strauss, 1967) was used to determine themes that emerged from the data. The major findings from the study include the following themes: (a) role modeling, (b) intrinsic and extrinsic satisfaction, (c) promotion of lifelong activities to students, (d) enthusiasm and (e) life experiences. Strategies for teaching centered on the adherence to rules and guidelines, teacher and student modeling and inclusion of students in activities. Teachers reported little multicultural training in their teacher preparation. Lesson and curriculum outcomes did not significantly represent exposure to multicultural concepts. Methods of communication teachers used related primarily to language, not non-verbal or verbal communication. Recommendations for improvement included 1) reconfiguring current multicultural training in schools 2) utilizing physical education teachers’ input in curriculum construction, 3) instituting more multicultural concepts and experiences in PETE programs and 4) creating a more inclusive academic atmosphere for students of racial, cultural and social backgrounds. Research of this nature can be tailored to specific school systems in order to evaluate existing programs and determine if they are worthy of reform.