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ERIC Number: EJ818177
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006-Nov
Pages: 17
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 66
ISSN: ISSN-1740-8989
Physical Education Teacher Educators' Professional Identities, Continuing Professional Development and the Issue of Gender Equality
Dowling, Fiona
Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, v11 n3 p247-263 Nov 2006
Background: Despite the evidence that many girls and some boys are regularly subjected to inequalities within school physical education (PE) in Norway today, and international research showing how physical education teacher education (PETE) courses often construct unequal learning opportunities for their students on the basis of gender, few teacher educators' "instructional discourses" seem to reflect these findings about gender relations. In fact, there is very little empirical research available about PE teacher educators in general and how they develop their professional identities. Purpose: This study has aimed to illuminate the duality of structure of PE teacher educators' professional identities and of the social construction of gender in PETE. By gaining a better understanding of the way in which we are both structured by PETE culture, and yet at the same time structure the culture, PE teacher educators may be better positioned to combat discriminatory practices. Participants and setting: Four PE teacher educators (aged between 31 and 42 years, with 5-13 years of teaching experience in PETE) from three universities offering PETE in Norway comprise the "purposeful sample". Research design: The qualitative study is based upon social constructivist theories of professionalism and gender. It asks: "Are PE teacher educators' professional identities constructed as technical or moral projects?" and "How are gender, gender equality and equity constructed in PETE?" Data collection: Data were collected via in-depth interviews (two per informant), researcher log books and policy documents. Policy documents were downloaded from university websites or provided by the informants (for example, course plans and literature). Data analysis: Data were coded and analysed using a "content analysis" approach, in which emerging themes were identified in relation to what being a professional PE teacher educator means and how gender equality and/or equity are constructed within PETE. Findings: The PE teacher educators' identities in this study are closely linked to a performance identity and a desire to pursue a love of sport. Their professional knowledge is based on knowing "what and how", rather than asking why PE students should learn certain things. Their identity projects can be classified as technical rather than moral: the teacher educators are not concerned with developing students as democratic citizens with an interest in social justice; rather, they are interested in the successful transmission of the "truths" of PETE to tomorrow's teachers. They are mostly interested in PE didactics and show little, if any, interest in pedagogical theory. Gender is not perceived as an important factor in the learning arena; it is perceived as a biological given. The teacher educators seem to exercise autonomy in PETE and their practice can be characterised as private, rather than collective. Conclusion: The PE teacher educators' lack of a theoretical understanding of gender unwittingly leads them to perpetuate a discourse which discriminates against many young female and some male students in PETE. Today's neo-liberal, outcome-driven teacher education tends to strengthen the PE teacher educators' technical view of professionalism and provides little room for alternative professional identities. PE teacher educators may benefit from the sharing of self-narratives about our gendered, professional identities with the view to engaging in fruitful continual professional learning.
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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
Identifiers - Location: Norway