Students of all ages have documented a deficiency in health-related fitness knowledge (HRFK). However, improving students HRFK may require a change in teacher practices and professional development (PD).
This study, framed by Guskey’s Model of Teacher Change (GMTC; Guskey, 2002), sought to assist teachers’ HRFK instruction as part of their physical education curriculum and practices. Initially, researchers examined: (a) teachers’ perceptions of health-related fitness knowledge instruction, followed by, (b) selected teachers’ perceptions of the professional development (PD) methods and the approach to teaching HRFK.
Semistructured interviews were conducted among elementary physical education teachers’ (N = 9) in one suburban school district. A randomly selected smaller group of teachers (n = 5), had PD on Knowledge in Action Lesson Segments (KIALS), an approach to teaching HRFK. Teachers were asked to implement KIALS into their fifth grade physical education classes and interviewed two additional times.
Three themes emerged from the data: (a) HRFK is critical but I can’t get to it; (b) If you show it, they will implement it; and (c) Knowledge in Action gets the job done.
PD procedures in this study and KIALS were seen as favorable. Results paralleled GMTC principles, as researchers confirmed quality PD, and observations of positive student outcomes further reinforced teachers’ beliefs. Teachers also expressed a willingness to continue using KIALS after the completion of this study, concluding achievement of the final fourth principal of the change process. Findings suggested that KIALS, if presented with similar PD will be well-received by teachers supporting their efforts to improve student HRFK outcomes.