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ERIC Number: EJ818178
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006-Nov
Pages: 20
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 29
ISSN: ISSN-1740-8989
Professional Lives of Irish Physical Education Teachers: Stories of Resilience, Respect and Resignation
O'Sullivan, Mary
Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, v11 n3 p265-284 Nov 2006
Background: The provision of professional development (PD) for teachers in schools is now a major concern of most national government and teaching organisations. To provide quality PD for teachers, we must understand the aspirations, needs and interests of teachers, as they are key factors in the complex world of teaching and learning. Therefore we need to know a great deal more about teachers' priorities. Purpose: To examine how veteran physical education teachers have negotiated their lives as teachers within the cultural norms and expectations of the Irish educational system and to critique the role of professional development experiences over the course of their teaching lives. Participants and setting: The population for this study was a cohort of 66 graduates from a physical education teacher education programme who began teaching in secondary schools across Ireland in the mid-1970s. Data collection: The teachers completed a 26-item questionnaire addressing six aspects of their teaching careers (33 of the 42 still teaching responded, giving a 76% response rate). Individual interviews with 34 of the graduates (24 still teaching and 10 who had left teaching) were completed to find out about their needs and interests, how they negotiated their teaching careers and why they had left teaching, if they had. Data analysis: The questionnaire data were coded and input into an Excel program. Basic descriptive statistics (mean and standard deviation) were calculated. The interviews were audiotaped and later transcribed. The transcripts were read and reread and a process of analytic induction used to extract findings from the frequent, dominant or significant themes inherent in the raw data. Findings: Most of the graduates were still teaching, and most were still teaching physical education for more than 50% of their workload. The themes of resiliency, respect and resignation, from the interview data, describe how the teachers negotiated schools and their teaching careers and the non-existent PD directed at teaching and learning in physical education. Conclusions: The challenges for PD providers is to avoid making simplistic assumptions about teachers' needs and desire to learn, especially veteran teachers, given their resilience and strategic compliance honed over the years. (Contains 2 tables and 8 notes.)
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: Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Ireland