What undergraduate physical education majors learn during a field experience
SourceResearch quarterly for exercise and sport
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Early field experiences and student teaching have a significant impact on the development of prospective teachers’perceptions of teaching and themselves as teachers (Dodds, 1989). The purpose of this study was to describe what happened to physical education majots during a secondary physical education methodology course that included two field experiences in which the undergraduates taught at least one lesson a day. The four research questions that guided the study were (a) What issues did the majors attend to as significant incidents from their teaching, and did these issues change during their field experiences? (b) What were the characteristics of field experience lessons they perceived as successful! (c) What were the characteristics of field experience lessons they perceived as unsuccessful? and (d) What were the physical education majors’ conceptions of teaching? Participants in the study were 39 junior-year physical education teacher education majors. Data were collected using the critical incident technique (Flanagan, 1954) and an open-ended, written questionnaire that was designed to encourage the majors to reflect on various aspects of their teaching experience. The questionnaire and critical incidents were analyzed using an inductive analytical procedure and a series of categories developed from several readings of students’ writings. The teacher preparation program affected how these trainees defined and evaluated their teaching experiences. In contrast to some of the earlier work in physical education, the results indicated pupil learning, quality lesson planning to ensure pupil learning, and efficient lesson management were major characteristics of successful lessons for these trainees. The trainees presented “theories of knowledge” that emphasized technical concepts of teaching with little attention to the social or ethical dimensions of their work or the content knowledge of their field. Additional research is needed to examine appropriate programmatic efforts to help preservice teachers reflect not only on teaching, learning and schooling as a technical enterprise but also as a moral and ethical enterprise. © 1992 Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.