Although teachers’ knowledge of student emotion is not typically integrated into studies of teachers’ pedagogical content knowledge, this study uses the philosophy of emotion, recent teacher knowledge research, and a case study of one middle-school physical education teacher to illustrate the point that how teachers understand student emotion is inextricably linked to their thinking and decisions about educational content, curriculum, and pedagogy. Data were collected during 4 months of observations and interviews and were analyzed using constant comparison. Three themes are used to show how this teacher’s interpretations of student emotion influenced her selecting, ordering, and formulating of curriculum units, her pedagogical maneuvering during lessons to facilitate learning, and her interactions with individual students and groups of students. The discussion centers on the need to expand current conceptions of teachers’ pedagogical content knowledge, and the importance of emotional understanding in teaching. Future directions for research into emotion and teaching are suggested.
Nate McCaughtry and Inez Rovegno
This study used developmental theory to examine changes in four preservice physical education teachers’ pedagogical content knowledge during a 20- lesson middle school volleyball unit. Participant observation methodology was used including interviews, field observations, and document analysis. Data were analyzed using constant comparison. Three main shifts in their knowledge were identified. First, the teachers moved from poorly predicting students’ skillfulness and blaming students when those predictions caused problems, to valuing the matching of tasks to students’ skill levels. Second, they understood motor development differently as their inability to recognize skill development caused problems in helping students learn, and they were then mentored by experienced teachers to better see and facilitate learning. Third, the preservice teachers grew to respect and emphasize student emotion in teaching, realizing that overlooking emotion led to problems in teaching. The discussion focuses on common pitfalls in teacher development and the need for attention to emotion in the research on teacher knowledge.
Matthew Ferry and Nate McCaughtry
Despite the expansion and diversification of contemporary physical activity culture, curricula of many secondary physical education programs remain narrowly comprised of sport content. Given the personal and contextual nature of teaching and the immense amount of control teachers exercise over their programs, we examined how a group of 15 secondary physical educators selected content. Using Interpretive methodology we spent two school years working with the teachers. The main finding of this study revealed that the deeply embodied biographically based emotional connections these teachers had with sports played a powerful role in how they selected content. In particular, we found that the teachers’ discussion of their emotional bonds with sports were very akin to how one might explain a love affair. Sternberg’s (1986) Triangular Theory of Love and other literature are used to explain what this love affair may mean for all stakeholders concerned with curricula in secondary physical education.
Amy Tischler and Nate McCaughtry
The purpose of this study was to examine boys’ perceptions of masculinity hierarchies in adventure physical education in relation to past experiences in sport-based physical education and their evolving views about physical activity in their lives. Theoretical principles of masculinity guided this study. Data were collected with 55 male high school students through 84 formal interviews, 200 e-mail interviews, and 135 ninety-minute class observations over 15 weeks. Data were analyzed using constant comparison with frequent member checks to facilitate trustworthiness. Three main findings emerged. First, boys described masculinity hierarchies in many past sport-based physical education classes as static and well-pronounced, which for many negatively impacted their perceptions of and engagement with physical activity. Second, boys described masculinity hierarchies in adventure physical education at Apex High School as shifting and narrowing, which stood in stark contrast to the inequitable status differentials in many sport-based physical education classes. Third, shifting and narrowing masculinity hierarchies resulted in significant positive outcomes for boys, most notably enhancing their orientations toward physical activity. Findings from this study suggest that physical education settings that produce shifting and narrowing masculinity hierarchies can enhance boys’ perceptions of and engagement with physical activity both in and out of school.
Matthew Ferry and Nate McCaughtry
Throughout history there have been debates as to what content knowledge (CK) is of most value for physical education (PE). Much recent conversation has circulated around the hope that time spent in PE supports students’ regular participation in physical activity (PA). Researchers’ use of the term PA, however, often stresses the similarities while ignoring important differences. Utilizing teacher knowledge theory, feminist poststructural scholarship, and interpretive methodologies we attempted to better understand how teachers selected curricular content by examining their CK. We found that the teachers’ PA biographies led them to develop deeply embodied and gendered knowledge and competencies, or ±comfort,“ when it came to teaching particular PAs, and this was a major factor in how they selected curricular content. Implications of the study highlight the socially constructed nature of teacher CK and issues associated with secondary PE curricula and wider physical activity culture(s).
Jeffrey J. Martin and Nate McCaughtry
Researchers using social cognitive theory and employing built environment constructs to predict physical activity (PA) in inner-city African American children is quite limited. Thus, the purpose of our investigation was to evaluate the ability of important social cognitive variables (e.g., self-efficacy) and built environment constructs (e.g., neighborhood hazards) to predict African American children’s PA. Children (N = 331, ages 10–14) completed questionnaires assessing social cognitive theory constructs and PA. Using multiple regression analyses we were able to account for 19% of the variance in PA. Based on standardized beta weights, the best predictors of PA were time spent outside and social support derived from friends. These findings illuminate the valuable role of PA support from peers, as well as the simple act of going outside for inner-city African American children.
Sara B. Flory and Nate McCaughtry
The purpose of this study was to examine how three PE teachers’ personal biographies before their formal teacher education programs influenced their early careers in urban schools. Using occupational socialization theory and cultural relevance theory, we conducted in-depth interviews and observed early career physical education teachers who did not grow up in urban communities for approximately six weeks each. Data were analyzed using constant comparison. Two major themes emerged as influential in the teachers’ successes and struggles in urban schools, including their exposure to diversity, and family views of culture. These findings suggest that the pre-professional socialization experiences of teachers also include the development of cultural templates, biases, and values, and that many teachers may not accurately or critically reflect on their teaching practices. Further research should examine how PETE programs prepare middle-class teacher candidates for diverse schools.
Jeffrey J. Martin, Kimberly Oliver and Nate McCaughtry
Theoretically grounded research on the determinants of Mexican American children’s physical activity and related psychosocial variables is scarce. Thus, the purpose of our investigation was to evaluate the ability of the theory of planned behavior (TPB) to predict Mexican American children’s self-reported moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA). Children (N = 475, ages 9-12) completed questionnaires assessing the TPB constructs and MVPA. Multiple regression analyses provided moderate support for the ability of the TPB variables to predict MVPA as we accounted for between 8-9% of the variance in MVPA. Attitude, subjective norm, and perceived behavioral control accounted for 45% of the variance in intention. Descriptive results were encouraging because mean values indicated that most children had positive attitudes, moderately strong intentions, felt in control, and perceived support from significant others (i.e., physical education teachers) for their physical activity engagement.
Kimberly L. Oliver, Manal Hamzeh and Nate McCaughtry
Drawing on feminist, poststructural, and critical theories, the purpose of this research was to understand 5th-grade girls’ self-identified barriers to physical activity and work with them to find ways of negotiating those barriers in order to increase their physical activity opportunities. We worked with 11 girls in two elementary schools in southwestern United States. Data were collected over the 2005–2006 school year. Data sources included (a) 23 transcribed audio recordings, (b) field notes, (c) planning notes, (d) task sheets, (e) artifacts created by the girls and the principal investigator, and (f) photos the girls took. Our interpretations are presented in two sections. First, the girls explained that being a “girly girl” hindered their activity participation because a “girly girl” does not want to “sweat,” “mess up her hair and nails,” “mess up her nice clothes,” and sometimes wears “flip-flops.” Second, we discuss how we and the girls created a curriculum of possibilities that culminated in developing a book of physical activities that girly girls would enjoy.
Matthew Ferry, Nate McCaughtry and Pamela Hodges Kulinna
The purpose of this study was to examine teachers’ social and emotional knowledge of students and how it functioned within the wider context of their daily work lives. Five elementary school physical education teachers participated in six rounds of observations with formal and informal interviews over one school year. Data were analyzed through constant comparison and inductive analysis. We identified four key junctures where social and emotional knowledge of students played a critical role in teachers’ work. The results of this study and previous literature point to the complex interconnections between teachers’ social and emotional knowledge of their students and teaching practices.