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  • Author: Catherine D. Ennis x
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Catherine D. Ennis

For this study, curriculum was defined as a holistic set of perspectives that interact to create the educational environment. The Goodlad et al. (1979) domain concept was used as the theoretical structure for the examination of content in three elementary physical education programs. Two of the programs used a movement education curriculum (Logsdon et al., 1984) while the third was structured based on a traditional activity or sport and games approach. Data collection consisted of an examination of documents (ideological and formal domains), interviews with teachers and students (perceived and experiential domains), and observation (operational domain). Data were analyzed using constant comparison. The ideological domain was found to be the most influential curriculum perspective in these programs. Major differences were detected in the use of shared decision-making and in the students’ cognitive involvement with the content.

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Catherine D. Ennis

This research was conducted to investigate the role of value orientations in effective elementary physical educators’ curricular decision making. Educational value orientations served as the theoretical base for the research. Three research questions were examined: (a) what were the learning goals and expectations for student performance in each program, (b) why did teachers value these goals, and (c) how well did students understand the goals and expectations of the program? Data were collected through class observations, teacher and student interviews, and the Value Orientation Inventory. Data were analyzed using constant comparison. Results described students’ learning goals and academic and social performance expectations within each teacher’s value profile. Dynamical systems theory was used to elaborate the influence of value orientations in the curriculum decision-making process.

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Catherine D. Ennis

This research examined content and task decisions of 11 urban secondary physical educators who placed a high priority on social curriculum goals. Transcript data from a stimulated-recall protocol were analyzed using constant comparison to determine the extent to which content and task decisions represented social justice and reform goals of social reconstruction or of citizenship and positive interaction more consistent with social responsibility. Results suggested that teachers’ content decisions were consistent with the goals of cooperation, teamwork, and involvement within the social responsibility value orientation. Task structures for middle school programs involved large group activities, while high school tasks focused on individual activities performed as a member of a small group.

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Denis Pasco and Catherine D. Ennis

Students’ prior knowledge has been identified to play an important role in the learning process through conceptual change. In physical education, positive changes in students’ lifestyles may come from changes in their conceptual understanding. In this study 45 third grade students (mean age = 8.54 years) were interviewed during their regular physical education class to examine their mental models and naïve theories of blood circulation related to exercise. Results revealed one initial mental model (when you exercise, your blood goes everywhere in your body) and three synthetic mental models. These mental models were generated under the constraint of a naïve framework theory. Results are discussed in relation to: (a) the nature of gradual growth of students’ mental models through enrichment, (b) children’s prior experience of the physical world and their subsequent explanations of physiological changes related to exercise, and (c) physical education as a domain-specific knowledge.

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Ang Chen and Catherine D. Ennis

Research on physical educators’ value orientations has identified five orientations: disciplinary mastery, learning process, self-actualization, social responsibility, and ecological integration. An interpretive research design was used to compare the extent to which 2 physical education teachers’ content differed because of their value orientations. Findings revealed that the 2 teachers established curriculum goals and emphasized aspects of the physical education content that were associated with their individual value orientations. Dan, a learning-process-oriented teacher, stressed teaching students learning skills by breaking down movement skills into simple elements. John, a social-responsibility-oriented teacher, emphasized teaching social responsibility through physical activities. Both teachers viewed learning physical activities as a means to develop students’ analytic or social skills. However, philosophical differences were found in how curricular goals and content were determined. The findings suggest that clarifying teachers’ value orientations should be considered an appropriate initial step in curriculum innovation and change.

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Donetta J. Cothran and Catherine D. Ennis

Teachers’ educational values appear to influence their decision-making, but they are not the only decision-makers in the classroom. Students are also actively deciding on courses of action, yet educators know very little about students’ values or the interaction of teacher and student values. The purpose of this study was to examine levels of congruence between students’ and teachers’ values, and between their values and the curriculum. A multiphase research design involving observations, interviews, and Q methodology examined the educational values of 4 urban high school teachers and their students. Observation and interview data were analyzed via constant comparison. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze the Q-sort data. Results indicated that teachers and students held potentially conflicting values about the educational and noneducational aspects of physical education, the role and value of social aspects, and the role of fun. Additionally, there was incongruence between participants’ values and the curricular model.

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Donetta J. Cothran and Catherine D. Ennis

Student engagement is a critical issue in education. A key component of engagement is the student’s sense of membership. When students believe in and feel a part of the purposes of school and physical education, they are more likely to engage in activities and conform to norms. The purpose of this study was to investigate students’ perspectives on school membership and its relationship to physical education. Three teachers and 16 students from a large, urban high school were observed and interviewed. The data were analyzed via constant comparison. The results indicated that school and departmental practices interacted to influence students’ sense of membership. In particular, students failed to believe in the relevance and value of their experiences, and felt few social attachments. As a result, students frequently lacked the willingness and ability to engage in physical education.

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Catherine D. Ennis and Jepkorir R. Chepyator-Thomson

The purpose of this research was the examination of the field-dependent/independent cognitive style as it related to learning within a Logsdon-based movement curriculum. Subjects consisted of 104 children scoring in the 1st- (field independent) and 4th-quartile (field dependent) on the Children’s Embedded Figures Test. Observation and interview data were collected by the two researchers over a 4-month period. Data were analyzed using constant comparison. Field-independent students’ performance was consistent with teacher expectations during the majority of the classes observed. Field-dependent students experienced difficulty focusing on lesson discussion, following directions, and working independently. The discussion focused on the role of structure and the influence of social relationships on learning behaviors of field-dependent children.