The purpose of this research note is to introduce and overview both the teaching and research applications of autobiographical essay writing. Grounded in occupational socialization theory and teacher reflection, the authors propose that autobiography can be a powerful tool in helping preservice and in-service teachers more deeply reflect on their prior socialization experiences, which may help them to better understand and be willing to critique their personal belief structures. The authors provide an overview of how autobiographical essays have been used and include recommendations for teacher education practice. From a research perspective, the authors argue that autobiographical essays provide a targeted strategy for collecting reflective data on individuals’ background socialization experiences. Such data are critical for socialization scholars who are interested in understanding how teachers’ biographies influence their current teaching beliefs and practices. Applications for physical education-adjacent spaces, including doctoral education, adapted physical education, and elementary education, are also discussed.
K. Andrew R. Richards, Karen Lux Gaudreault, and Wesley J. Wilson
K. Andrew R. Richards, Karen Lux Gaudreault, and Amelia Mays Woods
Purpose: This study sought to develop a quantitative understanding of factors that reduce perceived isolation and marginalization among physical educators. A conceptual model for the relationships among study variables was developed. Method: Data were collected through an online survey completed by 419 inservice physical educators (210 females, 209 males, 93.60% Caucasian). Variables included perceived mattering, resilience, personal accomplishment, as well as isolation and marginalization. Primary data analyses included structural equation modeling to test the hypothesized relationships in the conceptual model. Results: The structural equation model fit was good, χ2(315) = 669.38, p < .001, RMSEA = .05 (90% CI = [.05, .06], p = .285), SRMR = .05, NNFI = .93, CFI = .94. After removing non-significant regression pathways, the structural model generally confirmed the study hypotheses. Discussion/Conclusion: Enhancing personal accomplishment and resilience helps to foster perceptions of mattering, which reduces physical educators’ perceived isolation and marginalization.
K. Andrew R. Richards, Karen Lux Gaudreault, Kelly L. Simonton, and Angela Simonton
Researchers have begun using occupational socialization theory to understand the experiences of physical education teacher education doctoral students and faculty members. Comparatively little work has been done with graduate students pursuing research-focused masters’ degrees. These programs can serve as pipelines into PhD programs and have implications for the process of becoming a faculty member. Using a qualitative methodology grounded in existential phenomenology, this 2-year longitudinal study sought to understand the perspectives of Angela and Kelly as they navigated the master’s degree program. Data were collected through interviews, an online discussion forum, and text message conversations. Data analysis resulted in the construction of three themes and associated subthemes to describe the data. The primary themes included: (a) adjusting to graduate student life, (b) the importance of relationships, and (c) preparing for life after graduate school. Results are discussed using occupational socialization theory, and implications for research and practice are suggested.
K. Andrew R. Richards, Gabriella M. McLoughlin, Victoria Nicole Ivy, and Karen Lux Gaudreault
Despite an abundance of research on doctoral student socialization in higher education, little attention has been paid to physical education doctoral students. This study sought to understand physical education doctoral students’ perceptions of their socialization as preparation for faculty roles.
Participants included 32 physical education doctoral students (16 female, 16 male) from US institutions of higher education. Data were collected in three phases using focus group interviews, an open-ended survey, and individual interviews.
Three first-order themes described: (a) indirect, but common pathways to pursuing a doctoral degree, (b) relationships are essential to the doctoral program experience, and (c) becoming a faculty member is a complex and ongoing process.
Relationships, particularly with faculty members, are integral to doctoral education. Training for the role of doctoral advisor could be beneficial, as could connecting cohort members and promoting opportunities to learn the role of teacher educator and publish research.
Karen Lux Gaudreault, K. Andrew R. Richards, Kelly Simonton, and Angela Simonton
Purpose: Building on research surrounding the occupational socialization of physical educators, scholars have begun asking questions about how physical educators are socialized within graduate programs both at the master’s and doctoral levels. As a part of a larger longitudinal investigation, the purpose of this study was to understand how participation in a research-focused masters’ program influenced the socialization of one in-service practitioner and one doctoral student over the 2-year period following degree completion. Method: Data sources included telephone focus group interviews, text message communication, and e-mail discussions. Data were analyzed inductively. Results: The data analysis resulted in the construction of the following themes: (a) developing independence, (b) enhanced theoretical knowledge, and (c) frustration and disenchantment with the profession. Discussion/Conclusion: The results of this study highlight the importance of leadership opportunities for doctoral candidates and beginning teachers, and the significance of relationship building for professional development.
Collin A. Webster, Judith E. Rink, Russell L. Carson, Jongho Moon, and Karen Lux Gaudreault
Birthed over a decade ago and built on a solid foundation of conceptual and empirical work in public health, the comprehensive school physical activity program (CSPAP) model set the stage for a new and exciting chapter of physical activity promotion through schools. On the academic front, there has been much enthusiasm around the potential of CSPAPs to positively affect youth physical activity behaviors and trajectories. However, program uptake in schools has yet to take hold. This article examines the CSPAP model and proposes an illustrative supplement to enhance communication about its application. The authors begin by charting the model’s challenging contextual landscape and then highlight the model’s early successes in spite of such challenges. Subsequently, they turn their attention to limitations in the way the model is presented, which appear to undermine CSPAP advocacy, and focus on improving the messaging about CSPAPs as an immediate step toward increased implementation.