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ERIC Number: EJ816010
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Feb
Pages: 20
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 54
ISSN: ISSN-1740-8989
Physical Experiences: Primary Student Teachers' Conceptions of Sport and Physical Education
Garrett, Robyne; Wrench, Alison
Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, v12 n1 p23-42 Feb 2007
Background: People's actions and decisions are deeply influenced by their sense of self as well as the meanings they afford to particular ideas and concepts around them. These meanings and ways of understanding oneself in relation to the world constitute an individual's subjectivity. It is produced through a range of discursive practices, the meanings of which are multiple, contradictory and changing. Beginning primary teachers have a range of subjectivities around physical activity that have been formed during years of experience in sport and physical education. They bring these to their initial teacher education courses and make sense of new knowledge in relation to their own prior and personal experiences. Purpose: This research involved an examination of the discursive resources used to construct individual subjectivity around sport, physical education and physical activity for a group of pre-service primary student teachers. It aimed to investigate the nature of personal experiences, subjectivities and resulting identities for a group of early pedagogues who would be required to teach health and physical education in a primary setting. Participants and setting: Within the context of a singular compulsory curriculum studies course in health and physical education, participants consisted of an entire cohort of junior primary/primary student teachers in their second year of training as well as a group of graduate-entry primary student teachers. Resulting numbers included 102 female and 35 male student teachers. Their ages ranged from 19 to 35 years. Research design: In adopting a poststructural theoretical framework a qualitative research design was employed to identify the ways in which student teachers position themselves around the discourses of sport and physical education as well as how these discourses merge with developing pedagogies. Poststructural approaches allow recognition of how complex selves are constructed and assist in exploring the ways that cultural and institutional discourses are embedded into practices around sport and physical education. Data collection: Data were drawn via an online student survey system where student teachers were asked to respond to a series of open-ended questions regarding their recollected experiences of sport and physical education in both primary and high school. Questions extended to include key life experiences and significant individuals as well as the influence of these experiences on their orientation toward the learning area and physical activity in general. Data analysis: Analysis centred on the way participants drew on life experiences and discursive resources to make sense of and interpret their physical experiences. Attempts were made to identify discourses that were drawn upon as well as how individuals positioned themselves and others in relation to these discourses. Deeper analysis draws attention to the effects of these discourses and ways in which they constitute subjectivities and shape individuals in particular ways. Findings: The findings give evidence of the breadth, complexity and multiplicity in participants' school-based experiences. While early experiences highlighted the dominance of sport-related discourses and encouraged narrow definitions of being "sporty" or "non-sporty", the experience of competition provided diverse and contradictory meanings for individuals. Understandings of physical competence or incompetence were established early and were paramount in supporting ongoing engagement or disengagement in physical activity. The findings also highlight the notion of physical education as a form of public display or performance where the nature of one's physical competency is conspicuous and exposed. This was particularly problematic for adolescents where it served to alienate some individuals from their physical selves. Conclusions: The insights gained through data collection and poststructuralist theorising have been significant in problematising practices in physical education. It is argued that outcomes in physical education are inherently complex and multifaceted. The study provides support for arguments to extend and look beyond traditional forms of physical education to a wider range of movement practices. It is proposed to share these findings with new student cohorts with the intention of developing more critical approaches to teaching and learning in the area.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A