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Physical Education Access in U.S. Public Schools: A Multistate, Multiregion Study

Ben D. Kern, Wesley J. Wilson, Chad Killian, Hans van der Mars, Kelly Simonton, David Woo, and Tristan Wallhead

Purpose: Our purpose was to gather and evaluate accurate, up-to-date information on physical education (PE) policy implementation across multiple U.S. states and regions. Methods: A U.S. Physical Education and Physical Activity Policy questionnaire was developed and completed by 4,845 public-school PE teachers from 25 U.S. states. The U.S. Physical Education and Physical Activity Policy assessed PE quantity (days per week and minutes per week), class sizes by grade level, and practices that limit PE access. Descriptive statistics and correlations of PE minutes per week with class size were calculated in aggregate and individually by state. Results: Aggregate PE quantities in elementary, middle school, high school, and for students with disabilities were well below the recommendations (150 min/week elementary and 225 min/week secondary) and varied between states. Average students/class varied by state, and significant positive correlations between weekly PE minutes and students/PE class were observed. Discussion: PE access is limited across the United States, and stronger commitment to PE policy and policy implementation is needed.

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Barriers and Facilitators to Including Students With Down Syndrome in Integrated Physical Education: Chilean Physical Educators’ Perspectives

Luiz Gustavo Teixeira Fabricio dos Santos, Fabián Arroyo-Rojas, Sheyla Martinez Rivera, Luis Felipe Castelli Correia de Campos, Lindsey A. Nowland, Wesley J. Wilson, and Justin A. Haegele

The purpose of this study was to explore Chilean physical educators’ perspectives on barriers and facilitators to students with Down syndrome experiencing inclusion in integrated physical education. Data were collected from a cohort of 91 physical educators, comprising 50 males and 41 females from various regions in Chile, who responded to an online survey between March 2023 to June 2023. A two-step coding protocol was used to analyze responses. Cumulatively, the respondents identified 350 barriers (3.84 per participant) and 393 facilitators (4.32 per participant), which they perceived to influence feelings of inclusion among students with Down syndrome. Predominantly, factors that centered around teachers themselves were emphasized as both facilitators and barriers, as well as the role of a welcoming environment and supportive peers. This study, the first within the Chilean context, demonstrates that teachers believe that inclusiveness predominantly stems from educators’ initiatives, complemented by the surrounding environment and peer interactions.

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Physical Educators’ Attitudes Toward Teaching Students With Disabilities After a Paralympic School Day Professional Development Program

Marie Leake, Martin E. Block, Abby Fines, and Cathy McKay

Purpose: This study aimed to examine physical educators’ attitudes toward teaching students with disabilities in general physical education after participating in a Paralympic School Day professional development program. Methods: Elementary through high school physical education teachers participated in a Paralympic School Day professional development program. Data from focus groups and written reflections were analyzed deductively and inductively using a three-step approach. Results: The analysis revealed five interrelated themes: (a) “you’re trying to accommodate everyone, and so it’s hard”; (b) “putting yourself in other people’s shoes”; (c) “I definitely want to use these ideas”; (d) “It made me think about all of my students”; and (e) “not talking is the hurtful action.” Discussion: Following the Paralympic School Day professional development program, physical educators described a shift in attitudes characterized by a desire to implement inclusive teaching practices and an enhanced focus on promoting conversations with individuals with disabilities.

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Teachers’ Beliefs and Dispositions Toward Change in a Social and Emotional Skills Development Program

Shannon A. Pennington, Kim C. Graber, Karen Lux Gaudreault, and Kevin Andrew Richards

Noncore subject teachers often experience marginalization due to perceptions that their work is undervalued. Social and emotional skill-focused continuous professional development can help teachers address the stress associated with marginalization. Purpose: Grounded in the integrative model for teacher change, this study examined the ways in which elementary-level noncore subject teachers’ dispositions toward change influenced their experiences with a social and emotional skills development intervention. Method: This study included two iterations of the program with a total of 21 elementary-level noncore subject teachers (e.g., physical education, art, and music) from three districts in the Midwestern United States. Data included a survey, semistructured interviews, document analysis, discussion board posts, observations, and field notes. Collaborative qualitative analysis was used to analyze multiple data sources line by line. Results: Marginalization and low perceived mattering were prevalent among participants. A positive disposition toward change enhanced the influence of the professional learning, and participants found the experience validating. Conclusions: Teachers of marginalized subjects need to feel seen and heard. A positive disposition toward change drew teachers to participate, and the camaraderie formed was a motivator for teachers who felt undervalued.

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Teaching Physical Education Post-COVID-19: Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment

Xiaoping Fan, Sheri M. Treadwell, Taemin Ha, and Catherine Cardina

Purpose: While numerous studies have explored the challenges of teaching physical education during COVID-19, there is a gap in research on physical education post-COVID-19. Therefore, this study aimed to examine physical education practices post-COVID-19, focusing on the changes in curriculum, instruction, and assessment. Method: A mixed method with a concurrent triangulation design was utilized in this study. The participants included 94 physical education teachers. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze quantitative data, while open and axial coding techniques were employed for qualitative data analysis. Results: The results underscore the shifts in the emphasis on the three learning domains in curriculum, instruction, and assessment across various time periods, with a focus on the affective learning domain in postpandemic physical education. Discussion/Conclusions: This study provides insights into teaching physical education post-COVID-19, including adaptation to physical education practice, enhancement of student affective learning, continuity in physical activity promotion, and integration of technology.

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Bridging the Policy Gap: Examining Physical Education in Colorado

Xiaoping Fan, Jaimie M. McMullen, Brian Dauenhauer, and Jennifer M. Krause

Purpose: Using the social ecological model as a guiding framework, the purpose of this study was to examine the status of physical education in Colorado. Method: A sequential explanatory mixed-method approach was employed to acquire a snapshot of the status of physical education. Participants completed an initial survey followed by semistructured interviews. The quantitative survey data were analyzed with descriptive statistics, and the qualitative data were analyzed using open and axial coding. Results: The results of this study are presented in two parts: an overview of the status of physical education, followed by a detailed analysis of each component of physical education. Discussion/Conclusion: This study demonstrates a comprehensive approach to examining physical education, providing a holistic view of physical education, and serving as a valuable resource for policymakers and stakeholders.

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It’s Complicated: Examining Connections Between Emotions and Career Stages Among Physical Educators

Karen Lux Gaudreault, Denis Schulz, Kelly Simonton, Kevin Andrew Richards, and Kevin Mercier

Background: Physical education (PE) is a marginalized profession that is socially and emotionally demanding. PE teachers are prone to early career attrition, isolation, and burnout as a result of negative emotional experiences. While these outcomes are customary, little is known about how teachers’ emotions change across their careers. The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between PE Teacher Career Stages and their emotional experiences. Methods: Participants included 31 in-service PE teachers (M age = 44.70 years, SD = 9.48; M = 15.87 years of teaching) from the United States. Inductive and deductive analyses were used to evaluate the interview data. Results: Themes included: (a) teachers identify within multiple stages/emotions, (b) stakeholder agendas cultivate negative emotions, and (c) the aftermath of the pandemic as a catalyst for frustration. Conclusion: Teachers’ emotions are complex and multidimensional. Exploring teachers’ emotions within different career stages may help prevent early career attrition and increase job satisfaction.

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Utilizing a Community of Practice for Teaching Personal and Social Responsibility: A Case Study

Victoria Shiver, Kelly L. Simonton, Angela Simonton, and Ali Alshuraymi

The purpose was to understand two teachers’ experiences of implementing the teaching personal and social responsibility model over the span of one academic year due to their development and participation within a community of practice. A case study approach was utilized to gather and analyze qualitative data; three themes were developed. The teachers were marginalized by school personnel and received little recognition for their efforts. Student success was reported, but students were not ready to learn components of the model. Model implementation improved over time. Support from their community of practice allowed for reassurance, overcoming frustration, routine development, and value of the model. Without the community of practice, teachers indicated high potential for burnout of model use due to exhaustion associated with marginalization. The teaching personal and social responsibility model is well suited for a community of practice based on its call for continuous reflection and gradual empowerment.

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The Effect of Content Knowledge on Content Development, Task Adaptations, and Children’s Task Performance in Elementary School

Peter Iserbyt, Anke Mous, Charlotte Vandenlindenloof, and Kian Vanluyten

Purpose: We investigated the effect of a content knowledge workshop on a teacher’s content development in terms of selected task types, task adaptations, and in turn children’s task performance during a six-lesson crawl swimming unit in elementary school. Methods: One physical education teacher taught two 6-lesson units of the front crawl before (comparison) and after (experimental) the workshop to different children (n = 88). Task types, task adaptations, and task performance were collected live by trained observers. Results: The number of tasks taught increased from 48 to 61 after the workshop. Informing tasks decreased 28% (p = .005) and applying tasks increased 11% (p = .039). Task adaptations increased from 123 to 211 (p = .021). A significantly higher proportion of tasks was correctly performed by more children in the experimental group. Discussion/Conclusion: The content knowledge workshop caused a substantial shift in the teacher’s content development, which resulted in more children correctly performing the tasks.

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Uncovering What’s Really Important: Using Drawings to Enhance the Dialogue With Students About Physical Education Experiences

Peter A. Hastie, Antonio Calderón, Sheri J. Brock, Claire Mowling, and Ann MacPhail

Purpose: To present a case for using drawings as a valuable way of incorporating student voice in research on physical education. Presented in the form of a “primer,” the paper examines theoretical and practical aspects of drawing research. Sections: The paper is presented in three parts. The first introduces drawings as a valuable participatory visual method, explaining what they are and why study them. Second, a brief history is provided of the use of drawings in classroom and physical education research. The third section provides key points to consider when administering a drawing project and analyzing drawings. Key Messages: Drawings have the potential to make the invisible visible. That is, what is missing in a drawing may be as impactful as other objects that are present. In addition, to maximize the value of drawings, students should be asked to describe their drawings (either through an accompanying interview, or draw, and write), as possible elements might emerge that were not visible, or to assist with clarification of all elements of the drawing.