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.
The Impact of an Early Field Experience on Preservice Physical Education Teachers’ Conceptions of Teaching
Matthew D. Curtner-Smith
The Impact of a Critically Oriented Physical Education Teacher Education Course on Preservice Classroom Teachers
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.
“The Education System is Broken:” The Influence of a Sociocultural Foundations Class on the Perspectives and Practices of Physical Education Preservice Teachers
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.
“We Know What We Like to Do:” Effects of Purposefully Negotiating the Curriculum on the Girls in One Middle School Class and Their Teacher
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.
Robin’s Story: Life History of an Exemplary American Female Physical Education Teacher
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.
Influence of Acculturation on Parents’ Readings of and Expectations for Physical Education
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.
Impact of a Physical Education Teacher’s Disability on Elementary Pupils’ Perceptions of Effectiveness and Learning
Lance G. Bryant and Matthew D. Curtner-Smith
The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of a physical education teacher’s disability on elementary school pupils’ learning and perceptions of the teacher’s competence. Participants (N = 113) were randomly assigned to view one of two virtually identical videotaped swimming lessons. In the first lesson, the teacher was able-bodied (ABL) while in the second, she taught from a wheelchair (WCL). Following the viewing of their assigned lesson, pupils completed an examination over lesson content and a perception questionnaire regarding the teacher. Results showed that pupils who viewed the WCL scored significantly higher on the technique portion of the examination than pupils who watched the ABL. There were no significant differences between the perceptions of either group.
Influence of Occupational Socialization on the Perspectives and Practices of Adapted Physical Education Teachers
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.
Influence of Negotiations on Preservice Teachers’ Instruction Within the Skill Themes Approach Unit
Zachary Wahl-Alexander and Matthew D. Curtner-Smith
Purpose: To describe the influence of negotiations on instruction when preservice teachers taught elementary students using a skill theme approach. Methods: Participants were nine preservice teachers from one physical education teacher education program enrolled in a 9-week early field experience. They taught kindergarten, first-, and second-grade students (N = 203). Constructs from the ecology paradigm and previous research on negotiations guided data collection and analysis. Data were collected through nonparticipant observation, informal interviews, critical incident reflections, document analysis, and formal interviews. Deductive and inductive qualitative techniques were employed to code and categorize the data. Findings: A unique and mainly positive pattern of negotiations was revealed as were some new forms of negotiation. Students were also shown to initiate negative negotiations to change content they perceived as gender inappropriate. Conclusion: These findings could be used as the basis for educating preservice teachers to negotiate more effectively when teaching by skill themes.
Impact of Two Preservice Teachers’ Value Orientations on Their Interpretation and Delivery of the Skill Themes Approach
Leah K. May and Matthew D. Curtner-Smith
Purpose: To determine the impact of two preservice teachers’ value orientations on their interpretation and delivery of the skill themes approach. Method: The short form of the value orientations inventory and five qualitative techniques were used to collect data. Participants’ value orientations inventory profiles were illustrated graphically. Interpretive data were analyzed using analytic induction and constant comparison. Findings: Results from the short form of the value orientations inventory indicated that Meagan prioritized social responsibility, learning process, and disciplinary mastery, while Jared favored social responsibility, self-actualization, and ecological integration. Qualitative data largely supported these value orientation profiles and indicated that the preservice teachers’ approaches to teaching skill themes differed and were influenced by their pedagogical beliefs. Moreover, qualitative data illustrated how Meagan’s and Jared’s value orientations and interpretations of the skill themes approach had changed and developed. Conclusions: These findings emphasize the importance of preservice teachers engaging in philosophical reflection on the connections between their beliefs and their interpretations of curriculum models.