The purpose of this study was to investigate generalist classroom elementary teachers’ implementation of the Cooperative Learning (CL) pedagogical model into their physical education classes. The study used multiple sources of data drawing on qualitative data collection and data analysis research traditions (Miles, Huberman, & Saldana, 2014). Data were gathered from teacher post-lesson reflections, researcher journals, field notes, emails, and documents (such as lesson plans, school physical education programs, meeting transcripts), and on-going interviews with 12 teachers from four schools. The research team drew four categories from the data: Teachers’ lack of physical education preparation, Social skills needed for Cooperative Learning, Teachers’ understanding of Cooperative Learning, and Changing pedagogy to a student focus. An important feature in this study was the on-going, embedded support teachers received from a critical friend and their collaboration in the school’s CL Professional Learning Group. The findings suggest that with this type of support, generalist classroom teachers can learn to teach CL in their physical education classes. We found that teacher professional learning should be hands-on, take place in a social context, and be embedded in teachers’ own school context.
Dyson is with the School of Curriculum and Pedagogy, The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand. Colby and Barratt are with Papatoetoe South School, Auckland, New Zealand.