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Richard Light

Davis and Sumara (2003) argue that differences between commonsense assumptions about learning and those upon which constructivism rests present a significant challenge for the fostering of constructivist approaches to teaching in schools. Indeed, as Rink (2001) suggests, initiating any change process for teaching method needs to involve some understanding of the theories supporting it. Although there has been considerable discussion about constructivism in the physical education literature over the past decade, there has been less attention paid to the assumptions about learning and knowledge that underpin it. This article makes a contribution toward redressing this oversight in the literature by examining the epistemology and assumptions about learning that constructivist theories of learning rest upon. Drawing on the work of Davis and Sumara (2003), I suggest that the term “complex” learning theories may offer a more useful description of the sometimes confusing range of constructivist approaches. I provide examples of, and suggestions for, the application of constructivism in practice and within which the body forms a prominent theme.

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Kyle Paquette and Pierre Trudel

subtleties of constructivist-informed LC approaches are complex. As such, Light and Wallian ( 2008 , p. 402) aptly pointed out, “as a theory of learning, constructivism cannot be reduced to step-by-step, cookbook instructions for teaching”. Indeed, these LCT recommendations are not intended to be offered as

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Kyle Paquette, Pierre Trudel, Tiago Duarte and Glenn Cundari

learner and learning is an additive process) and the “network” (grounded in constructivism, where learning involves changing conceptions within a vast network of grouped ideas, feelings, and knowledge). This network, referred to by Moon ( 1999 ) as the learner’s cognitive structure , shapes the learner

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Simon Roberts and Paul Potrac

To develop our understanding about how learning theory can help to make sense of and inform the facilitation of player learning, this article presents a fictitious discussion, which takes place following a postgraduate sports coaching lecture on learning theories, pedagogy and practice. Following the lecture, Coach Educator (CE) joins two group members for a coffee to listen to their thoughts, experiences, and coaching practices in relation to pertinent player learning theory. Behaviourist Coach (BC) discusses his approach to coaching and how he has come to coach in this way; and his practices that conform to behaviourist learning theory. When BC has finished sharing his views and practices, CE then invites the other student to contribute to the discussion. Constructivist Coach (CC) recognises that his philosophical beliefs about the facilitation of player learning are vastly different to those of BC. As such, CC decides to share his approach to coaching, which aligns itself with constructivist learning theory. It is hoped that this dialogue will not only further theorise the facilitation of player learning, but do so in a way that helps coaching practitioners make the connection between learning theory and coaching practice.

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Ben Dyson

The purpose of this study was to explore (a) a teacher’s perspective of the implementation of cooperative learning in an elementary physical education program, and (b) the students’ responses to the implementation into their own physical education classes. Data collection included interviews with a physical education teacher and students in two mixed third- and fourth-grade classes and two fourth-grade classes, nonparticipant observation, fieldnotes, a teacher journal, and documents. Inductive analysis and constant comparison methods were used to analyze and organize the data throughout the research process. The findings revealed that the teacher and students held similar perceptions of cooperative learning. This was evident from the categories that emerged from the data: goals of the lessons, student roles, accountability, communication skills, working together, and practice time. This study demonstrated that the cooperative learning instructional format holds much promise for physical education, but that its implementation will likely not be smooth or trouble free.

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Steve Stork and Stephen W. Sanders

A major emphasis in teacher preparation is class management. Management strategies focus primarily on student compliance with teacher directives. Therefore, discrepant student responses are often interpreted as being off-task or misbehavior. This study investigated alternative explanations for “incorrect” responses. One 2nd-grade class, one 4th-grade class, and their teacher were observed for 6 weeks. Students and the teacher were interviewed. Qualitative analysis uncovered three major themes related to student responses to teacher directives during physical education instruction: (a) Children participated in the instructional setting at their own developmental level of understanding and physical competency. (b) Comprehension did not necessarily reflect understanding. (c) Shared meaning existed primarily for management. The results suggest that future research examine the influence of different types of management emphases on the development of skills.

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Kyle J. Paquette, Aman Hussain, Pierre Trudel and Martin Camiré

Building on Hussain et al.’s (2012) analysis of Triathlon Canada’s constructivist-informed coach education program from the perspective of the program designer, this case study explored the structure and initial implementation of the program, as well as coaches’ perspectives of their journey to certification. Through a series of document analyses and interviews with the inaugural group of coach participants (N = 4), strategies for the application of constructivist principles are presented and discussed in relation to the coaches’ perspectives and coach development literature. More specifically, through its innovative use of learning activities and formative evaluation and assessment strategies, the program is shown to place considerable emphasis on coaches’ biographies, refection, and representation of learning. Finally, recommendations for coach educators are presented.

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Ashley Walker, Jody L. Langdon, Gavin Colquitt and Starla McCollum

There is limited research that includes democratic practices to evaluate the PETE program in its ability to prepare preservice teachers (PTs). In other areas such as community health, methodologies have been used to provide a voice to individuals living the experience. The purpose of this study was to examine PTs’ perceptions of a teacher education program during the student teaching experience using Photovoice. A group of PTs (N = 16) from a university in southeast Georgia were given 14 days to capture the strengths and weakness of their teacher preparation program through photography. The PTs then discussed their photographs during two focus groups with the researcher. The focus groups were audio recorded and transcribed. Data analysis included an evaluation of interview transcripts and photographs using content analysis to identify significant themes that emerged. An action plan to promote curricular change was created by the PTs and presented to PETE faculty.

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Bonnie L. Tjeerdsma

This study examined cooperating teacher (CT) experiences in and perceptions of the student teaching practicum, and the impact of the practicum on their beliefs about teaching in physical education and on their perceptions of the practicum. Constructivism, particularly social constructivism, provided the theoretical framework. The participants were 7 elementary physical education teachers serving as CTs. The primary data sources were standardized, open-ended interviews with the CTs and journals kept by the CTs throughout the practicum. The results showed that these CTs saw the practicum as a positive experience that caused them to increase reflection on and revitalize their teaching. Few changes were noted from pre- to postpracticum in the CTs’ beliefs about teaching physical education or their perceptions of the practicum. CTs with positive practicum perspectives have in common certain contextual factors and social interactions that differ from CTs with negative perspectives; these are discussed.

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Peter R. Giacobbi Jr., Artur Poczwardowski and Peter Hager

A pragmatic research philosophy is introduced that embraces mixed-method approaches to applied research questions. With its origins in the work of Peirce (1984), James (1907), Dewey (1931), and contemporary support from Rorty (1982, 1990,1991), pragmatism emphasizes the practical problems experienced by people, the research questions posited, and the consequences of inquiry. As a way to highlight applications of pragmatism in sport psychology, pragmatism is compared to constructivism and positivism in terms of philosophical underpinnings and methodological applications. The pragmatic researcher is sensitive to the social, historical, and political context from which inquiry begins and considers morality, ethics, and issues of social justice to be important throughout the research process. Pragmatists often use pluralistic methods during multiphase research projects. Exemplar design types are discussed that logically cohere to a pragmatic research philosophy.