The impact of teacher education on beginning physical education teachers' practices
Connolly, Graeme John
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The purpose of this study was to determine the perceptions beginning teachers’ hold regarding the impact of their undergraduate physical education teacher education (PETE) experience, on their current practice. Specifically, this study assessed the transfer of teacher education knowledge, skills, and dispositions as embodied by the National Standards for Initial PETE (NASPE, 2009) to the practice of teaching public school physical education. Six beginning physical education teachers were purposely selected based upon criteria established by the researcher and supported by Woods and Lynn (2001). Data collection consisted of interviews (two individual and one focus group), observations, and artifact analysis. The qualitative data were analyzed using techniques for data management and reduction described by Huberman and Miles (1994). Trustworthiness was addressed through data triangulation, member checks, and an audit trail. The findings revealed a total of 18 themes addressing each of the six standards that constitute the National Standards for Initial PETE (NASPE, 2009): (1) Scientific and Theoretical Knowledge, (a) knowing the basics, (b) retention difficulties, (c) value and utility of knowledge in practice, and (d) teaching motor skills; (2) Skill-based and Fitness-based Competence, (e) variety of fundamental movements and physical activities, and (f) limited accountability for and knowledge of fitness; (3) Planning and Implementation, (g) lesson plan template with inconsistencies in practice, (h) student exceptionalities: assistance, understanding, and accommodations, and (i) instructional technology: computer programs and lack of resources; (4) Instructional Delivery and Management, (j) field experiences and student teaching, (k) methodology classes and peer teaching, (l) management: routines, and (m) instruction: feedback and cues; (5) Impact on Student Learning, (n) knowledge of basic assessment techniques, (o) nature of physical education and grading, and (p) reflection: what, how, in practice; (6) Professionalism, (q) defining a professional physical educator, and (r) being a professional educator. Through examination and final analysis of the interviews, observations, and artifacts several new recommendations were made for undergraduate PETE experiences: bridge the gap between theory and practice, increase knowledge of health-related fitness concepts, expand diversity education, include more hands-on teaching experiences, examine coverage of assessment techniques and reflective practices, and address professional behaviors and dispositions.