This article describes comparative case studies of 2 of 12 veteran middle school physical education teachers participating in the Assessment Initiative for Middle School Physical Education (AIMS-PE), a reform-based teacher development project. The goals of the project were to help teachers examine and reframe their assessment practices and to design and implement curricular programs that encourage active teaching and learning. The following research questions guided this study: (a) What are the ways in which teachers changed their practices and/or beliefs concerning physical education teaching and assessment of student learning? and (b) what factors, both personal and institutional, influenced the level of changes (i.e., materials, teaching approaches, beliefs) experienced by each teacher? Three patterns of change were prominent in the teachers’ experiences: (1) increased planning and more efficient organization and management, (2) improved alignment of instruction processes and assessments, and (3) a shift in teacher roles characterized by the use of more indirect pedagogies to facilitate student-oriented small-sided games and student peer assessment. Even though these teachers made substantial changes, major shifts in assessment and instructional practices were not accomplished overnight. Changes required time, opportunity, and ongoing support.
Kevin Patton and Linda L. Griffin
Kevin Patton, Melissa Parker and Erica Pratt
The purpose of this study was to examine the pedagogy of facilitation within physical education professional development (PD). Specific research questions were: 1) What were the self-identified pedagogical strategies employed by facilitators in PD?, and 2) From the perspective of the participants, what strategies contributed to their growth as learners? Participants included fifteen PD facilitators and 88 teachers from eight selected professional learning communities in the U.S. and Europe. Data sources included interviews, artifacts, and field notes. Three participant-centered pedagogical strategies reflected facilitators’ methods and teachers’ perceptions: (a) learning as doing: providing structure without dictating, (b) learning as trying: creating and testing new ideas, and (c) learning as sharing: public presentation of work. By teaching without telling, purposeful facilitator actions contributed to the development of an environment that encouraged teachers to become active participants in the creation of knowledge and development of professional capital.
Melissa Parker, Kevin Patton, Matthew Madden and Christina Sinclair
Despite the benefits associated with teacher development through participation in communities of practice, many questions about these groups remain unanswered. The purpose of this qualitative study was to examine a group of elementary physical education teachers as a community of practice whose objective was to develop and disseminate district-wide elementary curriculum. Participants included four teachers, the district curriculum coordinator, and project facilitators. Results identify the importance of a catalyst, a vision for students and the project, the importance of support, the significance of personal and professional relationships, and the realization of empowerment as critical. Ultimately, the development of curriculum was a meaningful, purposeful, and authentic task that allowed the transformation of this group. Adhering to the assumption that learning takes place within social practice, these data provide valuable insight as to the contexts that underlie the ability to mediate change, the relationships between individuals, and their ability to transform individual and group identity.