Cognitive Disequilibrium and Service-Learning in Physical Education Teacher Education: Perceptions of Pre-Service Teachers in a Study Abroad Experience

in Journal of Teaching in Physical Education
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  • 1 Central Washington University
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The purpose of this study was to explore preservice teachers’ experiences of cognitive disequilibrium (CD) theory during a service-learning project in a study abroad experience.


A case study with 8 participants was used. Data sources consisted of: Formal interviews, videos of planning, videos of teaching, videos of reflection sessions, and informal interviews. Data were analyzed utilizing open and axial coding (Corbin & Strauss, 2008). Trustworthiness strategies included: prolonged engagement, multiple data source triangulation, and member checks.


Results indicated four themes: “We made it our own thing”, “Summer camp for teachers”, “Struggle and disequilibrium”, and “By the end it was a transformation”.


CD was ultimately positive for these students. The positive resolution of CD catalyzed a transformative effect on their perceptions of their teaching. This was supported by positive peer interaction.

The authors are with the Department of Physical Education, School Health and Movement Studies, Central Washington University, Ellensburg, WA.

Address author correspondence to Stefan Ward at
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