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ERIC Number: EJ818179
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006-Nov
Pages: 21
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 38
ISSN: ISSN-1740-8989
Collaborative Learning in Physical Education Teachers' Early-Career Professional Development
Keay, Jeanne
Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, v11 n3 p285-305 Nov 2006
Background/context: Professional development is an important element of professional practice and teachers are expected to engage in activities that not only improve practice but also have a positive impact on pupil learning. Physical educators worldwide have acknowledged the need to improve the continuing education of teachers and have called upon policy-makers to promote urgent action. However, the opportunities to improve professional practice go beyond policy and while many physical education teachers only recognise professional development offered through structured courses, there is a growing recognition that collaborative learning is an effective form of professional development. It is possible to identify common features within the literature through which to explore collaborative learning experiences: they relate to participants' relationships, commitment to learning, culture and reflective practice. Focus of study: To consider collaborative learning in the professional development of early-career physical education teachers. Participants and setting: Four cohorts of newly qualified teachers of physical education undertaking induction in secondary schools in England. Research design: The research was undertaken in three stages, each of which drew on data from the previous stage to explore and develop emerging theories. A grounded theory approach, which evolved as an interplay of induction and deduction, was used throughout the process, to explore aspects of induction as experienced by newly qualified teachers. Data collection: Data collection combined quantitative and qualitative methods and was undertaken in three stages. In Stage 1, questionnaires were administered to three successive cohorts of newly qualified physical education teachers and "professional life histories" constructed for each participant. Stage 2 adopted case-study methodology using semi-structured interviews and "professional life histories" as the main methods of data collection to explore their professional development throughout the induction year. Stage 3 was undertaken in the teachers' second year of teaching and a card check system was used to confirm or reject researcher interpretation of their experiences, with discussion about four issues selected by the teachers. Analysis: In Stage 1, information was imported into Excel tables, which allowed comparison of data through a range of determinants (e.g. issues relating to specific cohorts, gender, age, prior experience). This method of comparative analysis generated emerging themes, which were examined in subsequent phases. In Stages 2 and 3 a qualitative data analysis package was used to code data, identify themes and develop theory. Findings: The notion that physical education provides the setting for influential professional development for its teachers was a strong theme emerging from the data. The key components of the resulting theory were "working together", "teacher influences", "developmental groups" and "community acceptance". However, analysing the data against the four common criteria for collaborative learning identified in literature, it is argued that collaborative learning was not necessarily the outcome experienced by the new teachers. Conclusions: Collaborative learning is an important element of professional development but, if early career teachers are to benefit from such opportunities, changes to induction practice need to be made. These relate particularly to the culture in which learning takes place to ensure that professional dialogue is possible. All development opportunities should be considered as opportunities for collaborative learning and the contribution of all members of the department to the process of collaborative learning should be valued. (Contains 2 figures, 1 table and 6 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom