The ability to observe and interpret events during instruction is thought to be an important dimension of effective teachers. The purpose of this study was to compare the ability to observe and interpret teaching physical education at different stages of expertise. Ten freshman preservice students, 7 experienced junior students, and 2 teacher educators served as subjects. Each subject viewed a 15-minute videotaped lesson on basketball dribbling taught to approximately 20 third-grade students. Subjects were instructed to observe the lesson, take notes, and write a description or evaluation of what they observed during the lesson. Experienced students wrote substantially more evaluative interpretations than novice preservice students. The interpretations of the experienced preservice students were similar to the teacher educators in the focus of observation and the use of a technical language. However, teacher educators’ interpretations were more organized and were focused more on lesson occurrences that influenced students’ motor-skill performance.
Kathy C. Graham and Karen E. French are with the Department of Physical Education at the University of South Carolina, Blatt Physical Education Center, Columbia, SC 29208. Amelia M. Woods is with the Physical Education Department at Columbia College, Columbia, SC 29203.