Research and Practical Implications of Integrating Autobiographical Essays Into Physical Education Teacher Education

in Journal of Teaching in Physical Education
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  • 1 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • 2 The University of New Mexico
  • 3 The University of Utah
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The purpose of this research note is to introduce and overview both the teaching and research applications of autobiographical essay writing. Grounded in occupational socialization theory and teacher reflection, the authors propose that autobiography can be a powerful tool in helping preservice and in-service teachers more deeply reflect on their prior socialization experiences, which may help them to better understand and be willing to critique their personal belief structures. The authors provide an overview of how autobiographical essays have been used and include recommendations for teacher education practice. From a research perspective, the authors argue that autobiographical essays provide a targeted strategy for collecting reflective data on individuals’ background socialization experiences. Such data are critical for socialization scholars who are interested in understanding how teachers’ biographies influence their current teaching beliefs and practices. Applications for physical education-adjacent spaces, including doctoral education, adapted physical education, and elementary education, are also discussed.

Richards is with the Department of Kinesiology and Community Health, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL, USA. Gaudreault is with the Department of Health, Exercise, and Sports Science, The University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM, USA. Wilson is with the Department of Special Education, The University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, USA.

Richards (karichar@illinois.edu) is corresponding author.
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