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ERIC Number: EJ811861
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Aug
Pages: 16
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 51
ISSN: ISSN-1357-3322
The Social Tasks of Learning to Become a Physical Education Teacher: Considering the HPE Subject Department as a Community of Practice
Sirna, Karen; Tinning, Richard; Rossi, Toni
Sport, Education and Society, v13 n3 p285-300 Aug 2008
Initial teacher education (ITE) students participate in various workplaces within schools and in doing so, form understandings about the numerous, and at times competing, expectations of teachers' work. Through these experiences they form understandings about themselves as health and physical education (HPE) teachers. This paper examines the ways communities of practice within HPE subject department offices function as sites of workplace learning for student teachers. In particular this research focused on how ITE students negotiate tacit and contradictory expectations as well as social tasks during the practicum and the ways in which their understandings are mediated through participation in the workspace. Qualitative methods of survey and semi-structured interview were used to collect data on a cohort of student teachers during and following their major (10 week) practicum experience. Analysis was informed by theories of communities of practice (Wenger, 1998), workplace learning (Billett, 2001), and social task systems (Doyle, 1977). It was evident that considerable effort, attention, and energy was expended on various interrelated social tasks aimed at building positive relationships with their supervisor and other HPE teachers at the school. The social dynamics were highly nuanced and required a game-like approach. In our view the complexity that student teachers must negotiate in striving for an excellent evaluation warrants specific attention in physical education teacher education (PETE) programs. This study raises questions regarding our responsibilities in sending student teachers into contexts that might even be described as toxic. We offer some suggestions for how PETE might better support students going into practicum contexts that might be regarded as problematic workplaces. (Contains 4 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia