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Kevin Patton and Linda L. Griffin

This article describes comparative case studies of 2 of 12 veteran middle school physical education teachers participating in the Assessment Initiative for Middle School Physical Education (AIMS-PE), a reform-based teacher development project. The goals of the project were to help teachers examine and reframe their assessment practices and to design and implement curricular programs that encourage active teaching and learning. The following research questions guided this study: (a) What are the ways in which teachers changed their practices and/or beliefs concerning physical education teaching and assessment of student learning? and (b) what factors, both personal and institutional, influenced the level of changes (i.e., materials, teaching approaches, beliefs) experienced by each teacher? Three patterns of change were prominent in the teachers’ experiences: (1) increased planning and more efficient organization and management, (2) improved alignment of instruction processes and assessments, and (3) a shift in teacher roles characterized by the use of more indirect pedagogies to facilitate student-oriented small-sided games and student peer assessment. Even though these teachers made substantial changes, major shifts in assessment and instructional practices were not accomplished overnight. Changes required time, opportunity, and ongoing support.

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Darla Castelli and Lori Williams

This study examined what teachers know about health-related fitness (HRF) and how confident they are in their knowledge. Seventy-three middle school physical education teachers completed a 3-part cognitive HRF test and a self-efficacy questionnaire that required responses to statements about how confident they were in passing a HRF knowledge test. Results indicated that teachers were very confident in their knowledge of HRF; however, their actual HRF test scores did not meet the standard of achievement expected of a ninth-grade student as assessed by the South Carolina Physical Education Assessment Program. Further investigation of the influence of teacher characteristics related to HRF knowledge revealed that age and years of teaching experience significantly related to self-efficacy but not to HRF knowledge. This study implies that targeted teacher development is a necessary part of attaining and maintaining HRF knowledge required to teach to state and national standards.

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Bernard Oliver, Janice M. Bibik, Timothy J.L. Chandler and Stacey L. Lane

Recent efforts to expand the profession of teaching and to enhance the career paths of teachers have led to the development and implementation of various incentive systems. The question of rewards for teaching and teachers has prompted considerable debate and discussion on performance-based or “merit” pay. However, few of the incentive systems implemented have investigated the psychological underpinning of rewards and teachers’ career development. This paper discusses the psychological parameters of extrinsic and intrinsic rewards and the career development of teachers.

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Nell Faucette, Peg Nugent, James F. Sallis and Thomas L. McKenzie

Classroom teachers’ responses to a 2-year professional development program are presented. Sixteen 4th- and 5th-grade teachers involved in Project SPARK completed structured interviews, questionnaires, and written evaluations of program sessions. Although in Year 1 more than half of the teachers expressed concerns about schedules and equipment management, results indicated that the program helped increase their self-confidence when teaching physical education. Participants believed that students benefitted from their enhanced knowledge and instructional behaviors. Program components most appreciated included: the input received and responsiveness of the design team; opportunities to collaborate, discuss concerns, and problem-solve with each other and the facilitators; and having on-site and large-group-session modeling. Results indicated that the teachers were less enthusiastic about a self-management curriculum due to its behavioral emphasis, yet supported the assertion that an ongoing, supportive professional development program can substantially improve classroom teachers’ physical education programs.

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Kevin Patton, Linda L. Griffin, Deborah Sheehy, Ruth Arnold, Anne Marie Gallo, Karen Pagnano, Patt Dodds, Mary L. Henninger and Alisa James

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Julene Ensign, Amelia Mays Woods and Pamela Hodges Kulinna

Purpose:

This study evaluated the teaching effectiveness of six first-year physical educators, three Southwestern and three Midwestern graduates, employing different curricular approaches.

Method:

Utilizing surveys, interviews, questionnaires, and systematic observations, data were analyzed through a framework of seven essential teaching tasks (Rink, 2002).

Results:

Data indicated overall mean scores of 34% motor appropriate activity with Academic Learning Time-Physical Education (ALT-PE) and a rating of 70.37 on the Qualitative Measures of Teacher Performance Scale (QMTPS). Notable contrasts included higher mean scores for Southwest participants for motor-appropriate and motor-inappropriate activity. Midwest participants devoted more time to game situations, management, and social behavior. For QMTPS, Southwest means were higher in every category. Qualitative themes produced similarities in teaching philosophy, fidelity to preservice training, and perceived value of reflective practices. Contrasts existed in curricular emphases and approaches to classroom management.

Discussion/Conclusion:

Characteristics of effective teaching were demonstrated by all participants regardless of curricular emphasis.

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Mary L. Henninger

The purpose of this study was to understand factors that influenced the career trajectories of veteran urban secondary physical education teachers. The careers of these teachers were studied from the theoretical perspectives of teacher efficacy and teacher career development. Participants included 9 secondary urban physical education teachers (4 females and 5 males). Data were collected using 7 qualitative methods. Data analysis involved constant comparison through the processes of open and axial coding followed by a cross-case comparison (Strauss & Corbin, 1998). Findings indicated that organizational contexts of these veteran urban physical education teachers played the most salient role in shaping their beliefs and behaviors. Although the organizational contextual factors reported were similar across this group of teachers, individual responses differed greatly. These differences delineated teachers into two groups of stayers: lifers and troupers. Knowledge of workplace conditions’ specific effects on teachers’ career trajectories provides valuable information for initial preparation of novice teachers and for further professional development.

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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.

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Mario Díaz-Cueto, Juan Luis Hernández-Álvarez and Francisco Javier Castejón

The purpose of this study was to understand the perceptions of in-service Physical Education (PE) teachers when using Teaching Games for Understanding (TGfU) in teaching sports. Data were gathered from interviews, work group meetings, and participants’ diaries. The results show the difficulties PE teachers had in the planning and implementation of TGfU. In the initial stage of implementing TGfU, teachers reported feelings of insecurity to the point of doubting their own pedagogical expertise and knowledge. They also reported anxiety and exhaustion. Once they surpassed the first stage, teachers’ feelings of satisfaction increased in parallel with students’ improvement, in particular because students with the lowest skill level had made significant progress in decision-making, overall compression of the game, and tactical problem solving. This study identified some major challenges facing PE teachers wishing to implement TGfU, and thus allows for the development of support strategies to promote teachers’ pedagogical self-assessment.

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Sara Barnard Flory

The purpose of this study was to examine the early career experiences of three physical education (PE) teachers who taught in urban charter schools. Using cultural relevance theory, three early career PE teachers were observed and interviewed for approximately six weeks each. Data were analyzed using constant comparison. Two major themes emerged from the data: the mechanisms of school support, and achieving ‘insider’ versus ‘outsider’ status during teachers’ early careers. These findings highlight the challenges that early career PE teachers face in urban schools, and demonstrate how being a culturally relevant teacher can improve teaching in physical education.