This study examined cooperating teacher (CT) experiences in and perceptions of the student teaching practicum, and the impact of the practicum on their beliefs about teaching in physical education and on their perceptions of the practicum. Constructivism, particularly social constructivism, provided the theoretical framework. The participants were 7 elementary physical education teachers serving as CTs. The primary data sources were standardized, open-ended interviews with the CTs and journals kept by the CTs throughout the practicum. The results showed that these CTs saw the practicum as a positive experience that caused them to increase reflection on and revitalize their teaching. Few changes were noted from pre- to postpracticum in the CTs’ beliefs about teaching physical education or their perceptions of the practicum. CTs with positive practicum perspectives have in common certain contextual factors and social interactions that differ from CTs with negative perspectives; these are discussed.
Bonnie L. Tjeerdsma is with the Department of Kinesiology and Health at Georgia State University, University Plaza, Atlanta, GA 30303.