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Scholarly Behaviors of Physical Education Methods Teacher Educators in Ohio

Murray F. Mitchell

This study focused on the behavior of a proportional, stratified random sample of 40 physical education methods teacher educators (PEMTEs) in the state of Ohio, or more specifically, on the professional implications of their scholarly behaviors. The focal questions addressed were (a) how do PEMTEs meet their responsibility to stay current in their professional areas, and (b) what are the professional implications of these efforts? Four specific behaviors were examined as evidence of scholarly behaviors: (a) reading professional journals, (b) writing for publication, (c) attendance at professional conferences, and (d) active involvement in research. Findings were then contrasted to findings from previous studies of physical educators, education professors, and university professors. PEMTEs in Ohio tend to read the professional literature related to physical education without attending to the literature in the broader realm of education. Few of the PEMTEs in Ohio write for publication or are actively involved with research—behaviors shared with other physical educators, education professors, and many university professors. PEMTEs appear to attend more state and national meetings than do other physical educators or other university professors. The extent of involvement at such conferences, however, is unknown. Implications of the behaviors described are discussed, and conclusions are drawn on the basis of the reported data.

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A Descriptive Analysis and Academic Genealogy of Major Contributors to JTPE in the 1980s

Murray F. Mitchell

Information about whose knowledge is accepted as important is valuable in understanding how a profession evolves. The term elders describes the individuals who control invisible networks of prestige and who determine what information is accepted for publication in professional journals. These published works stand as the foundation for the knowledge base of a discipline. The purpose of this article was to identify the elders in physical education teacher education (PETE) and to trace their academic genealogy. Elders were defined as major contributors to the Journal of Teaching in Physical Education from 1981 through 1989. The articles published by these subjects were generally, but not exclusively, research-related. Hence, aspects related to faculty research performance were selected as descriptors that may facilitate comparisons of PETE professors to other groups of professors and to future PETE professors. Subjects’ gender, prestige of doctoral program, mentoring, and prestige of current institution of employment were studied as these indicators represent major correlates with research productivity.

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Productive Physical Education Pedagogy Scholars: Why They Do It and How

Murray F. Mitchell

The purpose of this study was to determine why and how a sample of physical education teacher education (PETE) scholars manage to be productive publishers. Authors or coauthors of four or more articles in the Journal of Teaching in Physical Education (JTPE) through the 1980s (N = 24) responded to a mail questionnaire on why they write, why they choose to write for JTPE, what they believe to be true about themselves or their approach to writing, and any situational factors that have led to their publication success. Authors described personal motives such as publishing to meet a curiosity drive, for the enjoyment of the process, to facilitate learning, and to lead toward promotion and raises. Facilitators of the process included having access to colleagues and mentors and having a personal commitment to pursue publication. These findings are discussed with regard to insights available for administrators and novice faculty members.

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Linking Teacher Educators, Knowledge, and the Quality of Practice in Schools

Murray F. Mitchell

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Chapter 5: Physical Education Teacher Education Faculty: A Focus on Social Justice

Murray F. Mitchell, Sue Sutherland, and Jennifer Walton-Fisette

Neglecting to adapt physical education programs, or resisting and worse ignoring the changing needs of students has created an environment where the reproduction of inequities prevails. An examination of the role physical education teacher education faculty in the physical education system begins with consideration of eight key factors that influence their performance: (a) society, (b) higher education institutions, (c) PK–12 schools, (d) PK–12 and preservice student teachers (PST) students, (e) the purpose of physical education, (f) kinesiology, (g) professional associations, and (h) personal life circumstances. The authors draw attention to lessons learned and future directions tied to these eight influences. A critical reflection on social identity and how it influences practice is provided with suggestions on how to begin this work. Undertaking a program equity audit is discussed as a tool to highlight areas within physical education teacher education programs that influence socially just and equitable practice. Engaging in self-study (either individually, collaboratively, or programmatically) is suggested as a means to explore pedagogical practices or programmatic decisions that promote socially just and equitable physical education teacher education and physical education. Attention to policy engagement at the local, state, and national levels is noted as a potentially powerful contribution to change.

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Chapter 6: Perspectives on the Future of Doctoral Programs

Murray F. Mitchell, Hal A. Lawson, Hans van der Mars, and Phillip Ward

What does the future hold for Doctoral Programs for Physical Education Teacher Education (D-PETE) programs, faculty, and doctoral students? What can D-PETE faculty prioritize and do to create a more desirable future for D-PETE, PETE, and school physical education programs? What are the main facilitators, constraints, and barriers? Framed by these three questions, this chapter offers an action-oriented analysis of doctoral programs. Alongside physical education-specific program priorities influential factors in the external environment merit attention, including regional and state accreditation, neoliberal forces for accountability, the regulatory environment, program standards and national rankings, and declining enrollments. Mindful of alternative perspectives and university- and program-specific action plans, a dual priority appears to be crosscutting. Every D-PETE program needs to reflect theoretically sound and evidence-based practices, and D-PETE graduates need to be prepared to advance these practices after graduation. Toward these ends, it is timely to work toward consensus on a core knowledge base, explore how best to share resources across university boundaries, and join forces to solidify and safeguard appropriate practices. Today’s choices have short- and long-term consequences for each program and the profession overall, recommending that national priorities gain prominence alongside local program traditions and D-PETE faculty practices.

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Chapter 9: Pathways Toward Desirable Futures

Murray F. Mitchell, Hal A. Lawson, Hans van der Mars, and Phillip Ward

This special issue was designed to facilitate futures-oriented planning, focused on identical, similar, and unique practice and policy priorities. Formal planning aimed at desirable futures is a practical necessity for every helping profession because rapid, sometimes dramatic, societal change continues nonstop. Like all futures-oriented analyses, ours is unavoidably selective. Selectivity, once recognized, is a strength because readers are not asked to view the main claims and recommendations as a final authority. Selective research and scholarship focused on the creation and safeguarding of desirable futures has generative propensities that can provide the impetus for subsequent proposals aimed at the common good. In this chapter, the authors offer an integrative summary of the work in this special issue. Our summary invites readers’ special attention to distinctive features in their respective home contexts. This perspective stands in stark contrast to 20th Century models often described as “one best system” and “one ideal physical education model.” Justifiable variability—where “justifiable” means evidence-based and harmonized values—is the new norm for the 21st Century. The authors conclude that the physical education profession will benefit to the extent that it adopts the theme offered in this special issue. Unity founded on diversity—an idea whose time has come in a field known for fierce competition over curricula and programs.

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Chapter 1: 21st Century Physical Education in the United States: Introduction to the Special Issue

Phillip Ward, Hal A. Lawson, Hans van der Mars, and Murray F. Mitchell

In this chapter, we examine the system of physical education with a Janus-like perspective. We focus on examining and learning from the past as we anticipate what society, school systems, and the physical education system might look like in the future. Drawing on futuristic scenarios developed for this special journal issue, we ask a timely, pivotal question. What does all of this mean for the future of the field of physical education, including its school programs, teacher education programs, doctoral programs, and salient public policies? The several chapters in this special issue can be viewed as a response to this question—and with a delimited focus on the unique context of the United States. This chapter is structured to provide an overall context for these other contributions. It includes a discussion of relevant theories provided in this special issue and a representative summary of the other articles. Selectivity is apparent and unavoidable in every article, and it can be viewed variously as a strength or limitation.

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Chapter 3: PK–12 School Physical Education: Conditions, Lessons Learned, and Future Directions

Phillip Ward, Hans van der Mars, Murray F. Mitchell, and Hal A. Lawson

Manifest challenges to physical education teachers merit identification, analysis, and strategic action. New designs for schools, threats to the well-being of a growing number of children and families, and financial problems confronting school systems are among the external challenges. Meanwhile, too many physical education teachers confront marginalization, isolation, and morale issues. Contributing causes include suboptimal policy; disagreements regarding subject matter, curriculum models, and purposes; working conditions that prevent teachers from implementing evidence-based practices; and two disconnects: (a) between physical education and health and (b) between school programs and community-based programs. Reflecting and fueling these challenges, the field lacks a common purpose and shared direction. This chapter addresses future alternatives for PK–12 physical education. Key recommendations include (a) integrating physical education and health, treating them both instructionally and as integrated content in the curriculum; (b) changing our focus on our instruction from a deficiency-based model to a salutogenic model of health, including stronger connections with the community in which schools exist; and (c) connecting to the community to leverage resources to support students, teachers, and schools. These alternatives derive from a grand claim: we cannot continue to do “business as usual,” producing the same results, because past–present results consistently have been suboptimal.

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Chapter 4: Physical Education Teacher Education Initial Certification: Meeting the Challenges

Phillip Ward, Murray F. Mitchell, Hal A. Lawson, and Hans van der Mars

The physical education teacher education (PETE) faculty charged with oversight and delivery of initial teacher licensure programs confront several challenges. Some necessitate responses to revised and new standards, while others can be reframed as timely opportunities for improvement and innovation, whether in response to or in anticipation of rapid, dramatic societal change. Six examples of challenges as opportunities are discussed in this chapter: (a) the need to determine the skills, essential knowledge, values, and sensitivities for work practices in the schools of the future; (b) the dual priority for evidence-based practices in PETE and in school programs; (c) PETE faculty members’ obligations to adapt their pedagogical practices and revise preservice programs in concert with expert, veteran teachers from schools with exemplary programs; (d) manifest needs to make choices among competing, evidence-supported physical education program models; (e) needs and opportunities to redesign PETE programs, especially those located in kinesiology departments; and (f) emergent policy imperatives to demonstrate the value-added effects, both short- and long-term, on tomorrow’s teachers.