Social constructivists posit that learning involves social interactions among individuals in a given place and time. Since teachers play a significant role in how social interactions are developed and determined in the school classroom, it is important to learn how teachers make decisions about their teaching behaviors and interactions with their students. Because extreme ego orientations have been shown to have a mediating effect on performance behavior in achievement settings, the purpose of this study was to investigate the potential mediating effect of an extreme ego orientation on preservice teachers’ perspectives on teaching physical education. Data collection consisted of two formal interviews, several informal interviews, and observations of the participants’ teaching. Five themes reflecting the teaching perspectives held by the participants emerged from the data: (a) teachers must maintain control and manage their classes, (b) the best students should be singled out, (c) physical education is an isolated subject area, (c) physical education and athletics are inherently linked, and (d) because only the best can do physical education well, teachers must grade on effort. Findings demonstrate how extreme ego orientations were actualized in preservice teachers’ perspectives of teaching.
The author is with the Department of Health, Leisure, and Exercise Science, University of West Florida, Pensacola, FL.