Students' perceptions and construction of physical education teacher credibility
Ramos, Nilo César
MetadataShow full item record
Source Credibility Theory (Hovland, Janis, & Kelley, 1953) posits that teachers’ power of persuasion, and consequently, effectiveness is amplified when students view them as credible. Remarkably, the literature on PE teacher effectiveness is bereft of studies on PE teacher credibility. This is especially surprising given that PE teachers are allegedly instrumental in helping children to learn how to lead active and healthy lifestyles (Pate et al., 2006). The purpose of this study was to investigate students’ perceptions and construction of PE teacher credibility. Eight high- and low-skilled students from grades 3 and 5 were selected from a school employing an exceptional PE teacher holding a National Board Certification with over 20 years of experience. Data were collected over a period of three months in the school setting utilizing: (a) observations, (b) field notes, (c) open-ended questionnaire, (d) student drawings, (e) a photo elicitation exercise, and (g) group and individual interviews. Data were analyzed inductively using Miles and Huberman’s (1994) four-stage analysis procedure to identify commonalities and themes. In the eyes of the students, a credible PE teacher: (a) “Looks Like One,” (b) “Practices What She Preaches,” and (c) “Is an ‘Awesome’ Pedagogue.” Findings indicated students had a confined construction of credibility as the PE teacher was by far the most influential source informing students. If quality PE teachers are important in children’s development of a positive disposition toward physical activity (Graham, Holt/Hale, & Parker, 2010), knowing what children believe to be characteristic of credible teachers appears essential. Students’ valuable insight about teacher credibility have implications for both current PE teachers and PETE programs concerned with teacher effectiveness, and hence, student learning.