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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.

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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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Zachary Wahl-Alexander and Craig A. Morehead


To date, studies examining physical activity (PA) levels have largely been dedicated to the school setting, while there is little known about the activity levels of children who participate in traditional or summer day camps.


Participants were 83 11- to 12-year-old campers who partook in either Sport Education or traditional instruction at a large residential summer camp. All lessons were video recorded and coded using the System for Observing Fitness Instruction Time (SOFIT), which categorizes PA levels as well as contextual characteristics.


Results indicated that campers who participated in Sport Education spent a higher percentage of time (61.6%) engaged in moderate to vigorous activity than campers in the traditional activity unit (42.2%). In addition, campers spent less time idly within Sport Education (27.9%), than its counterpart (39.5%).


These findings indicate that utilizing the Sport Education model may provide campers with higher levels of PA within this context.

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Zachary Wahl-Alexander, Matthew D. Curtner-Smith and Oleg A. Sinelnikov

Purpose: Previous research has indicated that preservice teachers (PTs) and students take part in negotiations during the instructional process which can significantly impact the nature and quality of instruction. The purpose of this study was to examine the influence of a training program on the ability of PTs to negotiate while teaching lessons in multi-activity (MA) and sport education (SE) units. Methods: Participants were 13 PTs enrolled in a middle school early field experience (EFE). They taught 13-lesson MA and SE soccer units to 94 students aged 10 to 13 years. The training program included a two-session workshop prior to the EFE and multiple follow-up observations with feedback throughout the EFE. Data were collected by utilizing seven qualitative techniques and analyzed using analytic induction and constant comparison. Results and Conclusions: The key finding was that the training program was effective in that it enhanced PTs’ ability to negotiate with their students. In addition, the study provided more evidence indicating that different patterns of negotiations take place within MA and SE units and that generally negotiating within SE is a more positive experience for teachers and students.