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ERIC Number: EJ809813
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Jan
Pages: 29
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 72
ISSN: ISSN-1740-8989
Non-Specialist Teachers' Confidence to Teach PE: The Nature and Influence of Personal School Experiences in PE
Morgan, Philip; Bourke, Sid
Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, v13 n1 p1-29 Jan 2008
Background: Over the past 20 years, a number of researchers have expressed concern over the lack of confidence and qualifications of primary school teachers to teach PE. Evidently, the influence of personal school PE experiences may play an important role in the development of teachers' confidence to appropriately teach PE. Most research that has examined the effects of biographical experiences in PE on teachers' confidence to teach PE has focused on specialists, rather than non-specialist PE teachers. Purpose: Two major aims of this study were: (i) to examine the nature of personal school experiences of non-specialist preservice and inservice primary teachers and, importantly, the influence of these experiences on their PE teaching confidence; and (ii) to analyse the reasons provided by teachers to explain their level of PE teaching confidence. No studies to date have attempted to test a theoretical causal model of this nature using PE teaching confidence as the key dependent variable and personal school experiences in PE as mediating variables. Participants and setting: Quantitative data were collected from non-specialist preservice teachers in Years 2, 3 and 4 of preservice education (n = 386) and inservice (n = 53) primary teachers in New South Wales (NSW), Australia. The student teacher sample consisted of students studying a double degree majoring in primary education in the second (n = 143), third (n = 127), or fourth year (n = 116) of their higher education at a NSW tertiary institution. Inservice teachers were randomly selected from NSW primary schools from both the state school system and non-state school system. In total, 53 inservice teachers were included from 37 different schools. Research design: Employed a non-experimental correlational research design with "Confidence Teaching PE" as the key dependent variable. Data collection: Largely quantitative data were collected via the administration of a questionnaire which utilised both select-response and open-ended questions. Data analysis: One-factor congeneric measurement models were utilised in this study to produce estimates of constructs for primary and secondary school PE experiences and commitment to sport and physical activity. Self-perceived levels of confidence were also assessed in the teaching of 10 PE content areas. Hypothesised relationships between key variables were tested using multilevel structural equation modelling techniques. Findings: Many respondents' PE experiences included programs that lacked variety and frequency of delivery, were dominated by involvement in "supervised" games and involved little teaching and learning. Individuals who recalled more negative experiences in school PE were less likely to be involved in physical activity and indicated lower levels of PE teaching confidence than those who had more favourable experiences. Respondents held only a "moderate" level of confidence in their PE teaching abilities. Results indicated that the quality of an individual's school PE experiences directly predicted his or her confidence to teach PE (variance explained = 30%). It was apparent that many of the reasons provided for a lack of confidence were based on memories of poor quality school PE. Conclusions/Recommendations: To prevent the perpetuation of a non-teaching ideology or the decision by many teachers to avoid teaching PE, teacher educators must look to incorporate biographical analysis (including reflection sessions, group work, values clarification activities, portfolios) and opportunities for PE teaching as part of preservice courses. Teacher educators may need to make students become dissatisfied and disgruntled with perpetuating their previous negative or non-teaching experiences, providing them with more appropriate conceptions. Teacher educators may use this information to design more relevant courses incorporating meaningful learning experiences. Strategies employed at the tertiary level, such as increased opportunities to improve mastery expectations, should be complemented with relevant and purposeful professional development for all classroom teachers. (Contains 4 tables and 1 figure.)
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education; Elementary Secondary Education; Higher Education
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia