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Melissa Parker

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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.

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Melissa Parker, Sue Sutherland, Christina Sinclair and Phillip Ward

The purpose of this qualitative study was to initiate a discussion and explore reactions to PETE doctoral education in the United States. A purposeful sample of 27 representatives from doctoral and non doctoral granting programs in the U.S. was interviewed. Analysis resulted in four themes: (a) Is the dog wagging its tail or the tail wagging the dog? (b) Frame of reference = Self, (c) There is a core, but different roads lead to Rome, and (d) Regulating deregulation. It was concluded that a shared view of expectations for the PETE doctorate is existent, but inconsistent; future faculty may not be well-prepared; most of what faculty would like to change is tied to political and economic demands; and PETE faculty believe that we should hold ourselves accountable for introducing, but not institutionalizing change. Overall this study suggests PETE-D education in the United States may be at a critical crossroad.

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Phillip Ward, Melissa Parker, Sue Sutherland and Christina Sinclair

Concerns have been raised in the Physical Education Teacher Education (PETE) doctoral education literature regarding: (a) the narrowness of research preparation, (b) the emphasis on disciplinary silos, (c) the lack of competitiveness and innovation within and beyond academia, and (d) the role of graduate assistants. These concerns mirror those in the professoriate at large regarding doctoral education. There is, however, little research that has examined these issues in our field. In this paper we report on the content studied in the core curriculum of doctoral programs, admission requirements, number of full and part time students, number of faculty serving these students, funding supporting students, and type and scope of research classes. Data were collected from websites as well as other public domain sources and open-ended interviews with faculty members in each program. We discuss the findings and implications for PETE.

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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.

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G. Linda Rikard, B. Ann Boyce, Phillip Ward, Melissa Parker, Grace Goc Karp, Christina Sinclair and Sue Sutherland

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Phillip Ward, Sue Sutherland, Marianne L. Woods, B. Ann Boyce, Grace Goc Karp, Michael Judd, Melissa Parker, G. Linda Rikard and Christina Sinclair

In this paper, we situate the findings from the studies in this thematic issue within the current policy environment that influences the status, rankings, and funding contexts for doctoral programs in Physical Education Teacher Education within and across institutions. We identify common challenges that these doctoral programs are confronted with including the recruitment of doctoral students, the lack of diversity of faculty and students, the purpose of the doctoral degree, and core content knowledge for the degree. Throughout the discussion we provide questions and recommendations for the field to consider.