The Implementation of Cooperative Learning in an Elementary Physical Education Program

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Ben Dyson The University of Memphis

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The purpose of this study was to explore (a) a teacher’s perspective of the implementation of cooperative learning in an elementary physical education program, and (b) the students’ responses to the implementation into their own physical education classes. Data collection included interviews with a physical education teacher and students in two mixed third- and fourth-grade classes and two fourth-grade classes, nonparticipant observation, fieldnotes, a teacher journal, and documents. Inductive analysis and constant comparison methods were used to analyze and organize the data throughout the research process. The findings revealed that the teacher and students held similar perceptions of cooperative learning. This was evident from the categories that emerged from the data: goals of the lessons, student roles, accountability, communication skills, working together, and practice time. This study demonstrated that the cooperative learning instructional format holds much promise for physical education, but that its implementation will likely not be smooth or trouble free.

Ben Dyson is with the Dept. of Human Movement Sciences and Education, 106 Elma Neal Roane Fieldhouse, The University of Memphis, Memphis, TN 38152-3480.

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