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Chantal Amade-Escot

Content in physical education has been the subject of research for some years, with most studies being carried out under two scientific programs. One, in North America, concerned primarily with pedagogical content knowledge; the other, in France, studying the didactics of physical education. The purpose of this paper is to describe the theoretical framework, methodology, and principal results of these programs. It examines their similarities, differences, and the contribution of each to the teaching and learning of content in physical education. Researchers in both fields state that pedagogical content in physical education (a) is highly domain-specific to the activity being taught. (b) falls within an analysis of the situated-action, (c) undergoes long-term evolution in relation to professional competence, and (d) depends on constraints inherent in the system. Beyond the specifics of each program, there are some similarities that open up possibilities for fruitful collaboration between researchers in the two communities.

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Chantal Amade-Escot

This article examines the critical didactic incidents (CDIs) method used by European researchers in didactics. Originally designed by Flanagan (1954) in psychology, the CDIs method is based on qualitative accounts and analysis of critical moments in the teaching process when content is brought into play. The article reviews the use of critical incidents in educational research and then focuses on the epistemological aspect of its recasting in didactics. Criteria and guidelines for using the method are described, as well as some tenets for interpretation. The description emphasizes the fact that the CDIs method is anchored in a concern for developing depth of understanding of a particular phenomenon: the dynamics of the implicit negotiations between teacher and students regarding content issues and the co-construction of meanings that undergirds classroom interactions.

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Dean Barker, Tristan Wallhead, Sheri Brock, Victoria Goodyear and Chantal Amade-Escot

Student group work is a central feature of many contemporary pedagogical approaches to teaching physical education. Despite this proliferation, our understanding of the teaching-learning dynamics inherent in group work remains limited and has tended to be under-theorized. The purpose of this paper was to examine different theoretical approaches to group work to identify similarities and differences and consequently provide insights and recommendations into ways of using group work as a pedagogical strategy. Four theoretical approaches to group work models were described in detail with brief empirical examples used to illustrate aspects to which each approach draws attention. The examination demonstrates conceptual overlap, elaboration and distinctions between the theoretical approaches related to: (i) content knowledge; (ii) engaging learners; (iii) the teacher’s role; and (iv) group composition. Meta-theoretical discussions of teaching strategies such as group work generate important discourse on the potential for the development of effective pedagogical practice.