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Phillip Ward, Emi Tsuda, Fatih Dervent and Erhan Devrilmez

Purpose: Little is known about how teachers acquire specialized content knowledge (SCK). We examine the hypothesis that SCK is not acquired from K-12 physical education and from extracurricular activities characterized by playing; instead, SCK must be explicitly taught to teachers. Method: Students were enrolled in either basic physical activity instruction classes (n = 119), where the focus of instruction was on learning to play (common content knowledge), or physical education teacher education movement classes (n = 72), where the focus of instruction was on learning to teach (SCK). Content maps were used to assess the SCK of the study participants prior to and after receiving instruction in badminton, tennis, basketball, and volleyball. Results: Non-parametric statistics showed significant differences in pretest scores. However, these differences were determined to be not meaningful. Pre-post gains were significant for both groups but, meaningfully different only for the teaching group. Discussion: Findings demonstrate that (a) SCK is not acquired in any depth from engagement in K-12 physical education and extracurricular experiences, and (b) can be explicitly taught to teachers.

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Fatih Dervent, Phillip Ward, Erhan Devrilmez and Emi Tsuda

Purpose: Instructional tasks are a form of content knowledge that can be defined as specialized content knowledge (SCK). We examined the changes in the use of instructional tasks and SCK index scores of preservice teachers from methods to final practicum. Method: Five preservice teachers were observed through the methods practicum where they taught a small group consisting of six to eight students and then through final practicum where they taught whole intact classes. A modified version of content development categories and formula to measure the depth of content development was used. SCK index scores of the preservice teachers created by the formula were used to compare the changes from methods with final practicum. Results: The results showed an increase in the mean SCK index scores of the preservice teachers from methods practicum to final practicum. The use of informing and extending-applying tasks decreased in the final practicum, while an increase occurred in the use of refining and applying tasks. Discussion/Conclusion: Increase in the mean SCK index scores seemed to reflect the strong SCK emphasis of the physical education teacher education program. It can be concluded that SCK can and should be taught to preservice teachers.

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Phillip Ward, Fatih Dervent, Yun Soo Lee, Bomna Ko, Insook Kim and Wang Tao


This study reports on our efforts toward extending the conceptual understanding of content development in physical education by validating content maps as a measurement tool, examining new categories of instructional tasks to describe content development and validating formulae that can be used to evaluate depth of content development.


The reliability, content, and concurrent validity of content maps and formulae were evaluated together with an application of the content maps and formulae. Descriptive statistics were used to report the data.


The reliability and validity of content maps was established. The new categories allowed for a finer analysis of content development. All formulae differentiated among different content expertise.


If depth of content knowledge is evidenced by tasks designed to refine, extend and apply student performance, then the content map, categories and formulae reported in this study provide tools that have utility for teachers, teacher educators and researchers.