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The Impact of a Critically Oriented Physical Education Teacher Education Course on Preservice Classroom Teachers

Matthew D. Curtner-Smith

Studies of the influence of conventional methods courses on preservice classroom teachers (PCTs) have provided mixed results. The purpose of the study described in this paper was to break new ground and examine the effects of a critically oriented 6-week methods course and a 9-week early field experience on one class of 24 PCTs. Data were collected during and immediately after the early field experience by asking PCTs to complete critical incident reflective sheets, success/nonsuccess critical incident reflective sheets, and an anonymous reflective questionnaire. Analytic induction was used to analyze them. Results indicated that PCTs were able to reflect at a technical and practical level and achieved many of the goals at which conventional methods courses are aimed. Conversely, there were few examples of critical reflection. Personal, cultural, and programmatic factors explaining this finding are discussed.

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The Impact of an Early Field Experience on Preservice Physical Education Teachers’ Conceptions of Teaching

Matthew D. Curtner-Smith

Much research on physical education preservice teachers’ (PTs) perceptions of effective teaching during early field experiences (EFEs) or student teaching has indicated a concern for keeping pupils well-behaved, busy, and happy (e.g., Placek, 1983). The purpose of this study was to determine the impact of an EFE, combined with a methods course developed from the knowledge base on effective teaching, on PT conceptions of the teaching-learning process. Data were collected using the critical incident technique (Flanagan, 1954) and a reflective questionnaire (O’Sullivan & Tsangaridou, 1992). PT responses were analyzed by employing Goetz and LeCompte’s (1984) analytic induction method. PTs were concerned with pupil learning or elements of teaching related to pupil learning, focused primarily on teaching technique, and believed that knowledge of sports and games was a vital component of teacher effectiveness, frequently mentioning that they were lacking in this area.

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“The Education System is Broken:” The Influence of a Sociocultural Foundations Class on the Perspectives and Practices of Physical Education Preservice Teachers

Shrehan Lynch and Matthew D. Curtner-Smith

The purpose of this study was to determine the influence of one sociocultural foundations class taught by Florence, a teacher educator, on the perspectives and practices of two physical education preservice teachers (PTs), Michael and Bob. Within a narrative inquiry approach, data sources were nonparticipant observation, intraviews, conversations, exit slips, digital interactions, responses to three fictional physical education teaching scenarios, a fictional curriculum outline, three stimulated recall interviews, documents, and various forms of visual data. Theoretical thematic analysis was employed to work with and make sense of the data. Findings indicated that both PTs faced frustration and discomfort during class. Nevertheless, the class resonated and raised the PTs’ critical awareness of sociocultural issues related to physical education. Key reasons for the apparent success of the class were the deinstitutionalizing pedagogical methods employed by Florence and Florence’s “problem-posing” education which prompted the PTs to question their perspectives and assumptions about society and culture.

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“We Know What We Like to Do:” Effects of Purposefully Negotiating the Curriculum on the Girls in One Middle School Class and Their Teacher

Tasha Guadalupe and Matthew D. Curtner-Smith

Purpose: In this paper, we describe the study of one teacher as she attempted to purposefully negotiate the curriculum (e.g., goals, content, tasks, and evaluation) with one of her middle school classes. We used key concepts, constructs, and ideas from hegemonic masculinity and feminist theory to guide us in this endeavor. Method: We used seven qualitative techniques to gather data during an 18-lesson unit taught by the teacher Joanne to 37 girls. We employed standard interpretive methods during the analysis. Findings and Conclusions: Both high-skilled and low-skilled passive girls became more motivated to take part in physical education, although low-skilled girls generally had less voice in the negotiation process than their high-skilled peers. Key reasons for Joanne’s success were her skill, the support provided by the school’s leadership team, and the fact that the unit took place within a single-sex class. Conversely, the unit was constrained by Joanne’s and the girls’ socialization and Joanne’s focus on state and local standards.

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Robin’s Story: Life History of an Exemplary American Female Physical Education Teacher

Gunars Cazers and Matthew D. Curtner-Smith


The purpose was to construct the life history of Robin, an exemplary female physical educator, to hear her voice, and to explore ways in which she experienced marginalization. Few life histories of exemplary physical educators have been recounted.


Robin’s life history was investigated in light of the theory of occupational socialization (Lawson, 1983 a, b). Three semistructured interviews were conducted, and data were analyzed deductively according to categories in the occupational socialization literature.


The study found that Robin experienced marginalization based on gender, lack of support, and being unaccepted. Occupational socialization explained how Robin’s induction into teaching helped her both teach as she had been trained and to be innovative.


The study suggests ways in which Robin persevered in her career and gives suggestions based upon her story. The sharing of this story may serve to empower other teachers not just to survive, but to challenge the status quo in their professional life.

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Influence of Acculturation on Parents’ Readings of and Expectations for Physical Education

Meredith George and Matthew D. Curtner-Smith

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine the influence of acculturation on parents’ readings of and expectations for physical education. Method: Participants were 39 parents of pupils enrolled at one public middle school. Data were collected with an open-ended questionnaire and follow-up formal interviews. They were analyzed using constant comparison and analytic induction. Findings: Key findings were that the parents perceived physical education to be concerned with playing sports and participating in physical activities, health-related fitness, and personal and social development. These perceptions were shaped by parents’ relatives and peers, experiences of physical education, participation in organized and informal sport and physical activity, and the media. Conclusion: Collectively, while these factors led to many of the parents viewing physical education positively and being supportive of it, they also served to limit the ways in which they envisaged the subject might influence their children for the better.

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Influence of Negotiations on Preservice Teachers’ Instruction Within the Skill Themes Approach Unit

Zachary Wahl-Alexander and Matthew D. Curtner-Smith

Purpose: To describe the influence of negotiations on instruction when preservice teachers taught elementary students using a skill theme approach. Methods: Participants were nine preservice teachers from one physical education teacher education program enrolled in a 9-week early field experience. They taught kindergarten, first-, and second-grade students (N = 203). Constructs from the ecology paradigm and previous research on negotiations guided data collection and analysis. Data were collected through nonparticipant observation, informal interviews, critical incident reflections, document analysis, and formal interviews. Deductive and inductive qualitative techniques were employed to code and categorize the data. Findings: A unique and mainly positive pattern of negotiations was revealed as were some new forms of negotiation. Students were also shown to initiate negative negotiations to change content they perceived as gender inappropriate. Conclusion: These findings could be used as the basis for educating preservice teachers to negotiate more effectively when teaching by skill themes.

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Impact of Two Preservice Teachers’ Value Orientations on Their Interpretation and Delivery of the Skill Themes Approach

Leah K. May and Matthew D. Curtner-Smith

Purpose: To determine the impact of two preservice teachers’ value orientations on their interpretation and delivery of the skill themes approach. Method: The short form of the value orientations inventory and five qualitative techniques were used to collect data. Participants’ value orientations inventory profiles were illustrated graphically. Interpretive data were analyzed using analytic induction and constant comparison. Findings: Results from the short form of the value orientations inventory indicated that Meagan prioritized social responsibility, learning process, and disciplinary mastery, while Jared favored social responsibility, self-actualization, and ecological integration. Qualitative data largely supported these value orientation profiles and indicated that the preservice teachers’ approaches to teaching skill themes differed and were influenced by their pedagogical beliefs. Moreover, qualitative data illustrated how Meagan’s and Jared’s value orientations and interpretations of the skill themes approach had changed and developed. Conclusions: These findings emphasize the importance of preservice teachers engaging in philosophical reflection on the connections between their beliefs and their interpretations of curriculum models.

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Impact of Occupational Socialization on the Perspectives and Practices of Sport Pedagogy Doctoral Students

Hong-Min Lee and Matthew D. Curtner-Smith

The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of occupational socialization on the perspectives and practices of sport pedagogy doctoral students in terms of physical education (PE) teaching and physical education teacher education (PETE). Participants were 12 students. Data were collected through formal and informal interviews, observations, and self-reflective posters. They were analyzed using analytic induction and constant comparison. Key findings were that doctoral students espoused both conservative and liberal forms of PE and PETE. These views were shaped by the various phases of their socialization. Doctoral students recalled being oriented to teaching and coaching. The longer coaching orientations remained intact, the more likely they were to espouse conservative versions of PE and PETE. The students’ graduate education was shown to be particularly potent and powerful. This appeared to be due to influential faculty, a practitioner focus in master’s degree programs, and engagement in undergraduate PETE.

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Influence of Occupational Socialization on the Perspectives and Practices of Internationally Born Sport Pedagogy Faculty Members Working in American Universities

Chan Woong Park and Matthew D. Curtner-Smith

Purpose: The purpose of the study was to examine the influences of occupational socialization on 11 sport pedagogy internationally born faculty members’ (IFMs) perspectives and practices regarding physical education teaching and physical education teacher education (PETE). Method: Data sources were formal and informal interviews and documents illustrating the IFMs’ practices. They were analyzed using constant comparison and analytic induction. Findings and Conclusions: All of the IFMs’ possessed progressive teaching orientations and were committed to carrying out high-level PETE. There were few differences between the current perspectives and practices of IFMs who originated from different regions of the world. The acculturation, professional socialization, and organizational socialization of a significant proportion of IFMs had been positive and led to them possessing strong traditional teaching orientations early in their careers. IFMs’ secondary professional socialization generally played a crucial role in their development of progressive ideas about physical education and PETE. IFMs’ secondary organizational socialization was also largely supportive of these progressive beliefs.