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Matthew D. Curtner-Smith

Much research on physical education preservice teachers’ (PTs) perceptions of effective teaching during early field experiences (EFEs) or student teaching has indicated a concern for keeping pupils well-behaved, busy, and happy (e.g., Placek, 1983). The purpose of this study was to determine the impact of an EFE, combined with a methods course developed from the knowledge base on effective teaching, on PT conceptions of the teaching-learning process. Data were collected using the critical incident technique (Flanagan, 1954) and a reflective questionnaire (O’Sullivan & Tsangaridou, 1992). PT responses were analyzed by employing Goetz and LeCompte’s (1984) analytic induction method. PTs were concerned with pupil learning or elements of teaching related to pupil learning, focused primarily on teaching technique, and believed that knowledge of sports and games was a vital component of teacher effectiveness, frequently mentioning that they were lacking in this area.

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Matthew D. Curtner-Smith

Studies of the influence of conventional methods courses on preservice classroom teachers (PCTs) have provided mixed results. The purpose of the study described in this paper was to break new ground and examine the effects of a critically oriented 6-week methods course and a 9-week early field experience on one class of 24 PCTs. Data were collected during and immediately after the early field experience by asking PCTs to complete critical incident reflective sheets, success/nonsuccess critical incident reflective sheets, and an anonymous reflective questionnaire. Analytic induction was used to analyze them. Results indicated that PCTs were able to reflect at a technical and practical level and achieved many of the goals at which conventional methods courses are aimed. Conversely, there were few examples of critical reflection. Personal, cultural, and programmatic factors explaining this finding are discussed.

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Richard F. Jowers and Matthew D. Curtner-Smith

Purpose: To construct the life history of an exemplary veteran African American physical education teacher education faculty member. Method: The participant was Dr. Andrew Lewis, a retired professor from the College of Charleston. Data were collected through formal semistructured interviews, informal interviews, and documents and artifacts. They were analyzed using analytic induction and constant comparison. Findings: Key findings were that Lewis experienced a significant amount of marginalization throughout his life and career. In addition, he was subjected to different forms of microaggression and stereotype threat. Lewis dealt with these forms of racism by emulating several of his teachers and professors, working hard, and performing to a high level. In addition, he altered the pedagogy he employed. Conclusion: Lewis’s counter-story has the potential to influence other African American physical education teacher education faculty members, administrators, and those who perpetuate stereotypes of African Americans or deal in microaggressions.

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Meredith George and Matthew D. Curtner-Smith

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine the influence of acculturation on parents’ readings of and expectations for physical education. Method: Participants were 39 parents of pupils enrolled at one public middle school. Data were collected with an open-ended questionnaire and follow-up formal interviews. They were analyzed using constant comparison and analytic induction. Findings: Key findings were that the parents perceived physical education to be concerned with playing sports and participating in physical activities, health-related fitness, and personal and social development. These perceptions were shaped by parents’ relatives and peers, experiences of physical education, participation in organized and informal sport and physical activity, and the media. Conclusion: Collectively, while these factors led to many of the parents viewing physical education positively and being supportive of it, they also served to limit the ways in which they envisaged the subject might influence their children for the better.

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Jamie Jacob Brunsdon and Matthew D. Curtner-Smith

The purpose of this study was to describe the influence of secondary organizational socialization on seven early career faculty members’ (FMs’) implementation of physical education teacher education (PETE). Data were collected with four qualitative techniques and analyzed with standard interpretive methods. FMs delivered PETE that was either a hybrid of the traditional/craft and behavioristic orientations to teacher education or of the critical inquiry, traditional/craft, and behavioristic orientations. Cultural elements and conditions that helped or hindered FMs’ in PETE were identified. FMs coped with negative and unfavorable elements of their cultures and conditions by fully complying with, strategically complying with, and strategically redefining their situations, or finding a new position. The stories of these FMs should inspire administrators, senior colleagues, and those training doctoral students to reflect on the degree to which they help or hinder neophyte FMs, as well as aid doctoral students preparing to make the transition into faculty positions.

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Zachary Wahl-Alexander and Matthew D. Curtner-Smith

Purpose: To examine the influence of negotiations between students and graduate teaching assistants (GTAs) on GTAs’ instruction within university physical activity classes. Method: Participants were 10 GTAs working in one university. Data collection and analysis were guided by constructs from the classroom ecology paradigm. Data collection techniques employed were non-participant observation, informal and formal interviews, and document analysis. Data were analyzed using analytic induction and constant comparison. Results: The type, focus, and extent of negotiations in GTAs’ activity classes varied considerably depending on whether or not they had received prior pedagogical training, gained experience of teaching physical education in schools, and were familiar with the content. Conclusion: Our findings suggest two courses of action be taken if quality activity courses are to be delivered. First, such classes should be taught by GTAs with pedagogical training and teaching experience. Alternatively, previously untrained and inexperienced GTAs should be given extensive preparation.

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Chan Woong Park and Matthew D. Curtner-Smith

The purpose of this study was to describe and examine the occupational socialization of nine adapted physical educators (APEs). The questions we attempted to answer were (a) What were the perspectives and practices of the APEs? and (b) What factors influenced these perspectives and practices? Data were collected through six qualitative techniques and analyzed by using analytic induction and constant comparison. At the time the study was conducted, the APEs possessed traditional or progressive teaching orientations. They had been attracted to a career as an APE through their participation in sport and physical activity and interactions with persons with disabilities. The quality of adapted physical education teacher education the APEs received varied, but high-quality adapted physical education teacher education appeared to exert a powerful influence on their values and pedagogies. The school cultures and conditions in which the APEs worked on entry into the workforce either served to support or negate their programs. We conclude the paper by providing several hypotheses regarding the influences of occupational socialization on in-service APEs’ teaching.

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Shrehan Lynch and Matthew D. Curtner-Smith

The purpose of this study was to determine the influence of one sociocultural foundations class taught by Florence, a teacher educator, on the perspectives and practices of two physical education preservice teachers (PTs), Michael and Bob. Within a narrative inquiry approach, data sources were nonparticipant observation, intraviews, conversations, exit slips, digital interactions, responses to three fictional physical education teaching scenarios, a fictional curriculum outline, three stimulated recall interviews, documents, and various forms of visual data. Theoretical thematic analysis was employed to work with and make sense of the data. Findings indicated that both PTs faced frustration and discomfort during class. Nevertheless, the class resonated and raised the PTs’ critical awareness of sociocultural issues related to physical education. Key reasons for the apparent success of the class were the deinstitutionalizing pedagogical methods employed by Florence and Florence’s “problem-posing” education which prompted the PTs to question their perspectives and assumptions about society and culture.

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Tasha Guadalupe and Matthew D. Curtner-Smith

Purpose: In this paper, we describe the study of one teacher as she attempted to purposefully negotiate the curriculum (e.g., goals, content, tasks, and evaluation) with one of her middle school classes. We used key concepts, constructs, and ideas from hegemonic masculinity and feminist theory to guide us in this endeavor. Method: We used seven qualitative techniques to gather data during an 18-lesson unit taught by the teacher Joanne to 37 girls. We employed standard interpretive methods during the analysis. Findings and Conclusions: Both high-skilled and low-skilled passive girls became more motivated to take part in physical education, although low-skilled girls generally had less voice in the negotiation process than their high-skilled peers. Key reasons for Joanne’s success were her skill, the support provided by the school’s leadership team, and the fact that the unit took place within a single-sex class. Conversely, the unit was constrained by Joanne’s and the girls’ socialization and Joanne’s focus on state and local standards.

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Gunars Cazers and Matthew D. Curtner-Smith


The purpose was to construct the life history of Robin, an exemplary female physical educator, to hear her voice, and to explore ways in which she experienced marginalization. Few life histories of exemplary physical educators have been recounted.


Robin’s life history was investigated in light of the theory of occupational socialization (Lawson, 1983 a, b). Three semistructured interviews were conducted, and data were analyzed deductively according to categories in the occupational socialization literature.


The study found that Robin experienced marginalization based on gender, lack of support, and being unaccepted. Occupational socialization explained how Robin’s induction into teaching helped her both teach as she had been trained and to be innovative.


The study suggests ways in which Robin persevered in her career and gives suggestions based upon her story. The sharing of this story may serve to empower other teachers not just to survive, but to challenge the status quo in their professional life.