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ERIC Number: EJ929475
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 15
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 39
ISSN: ISSN-1740-8989
An Ecological Examination of an Urban Sixth Grade Physical Education Class
James, Alisa R.; Collier, Douglas
Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, v16 n3 p279-293 2011
Background: There are several factors that influence teaching urban physical education. Violence, poverty and irrelevant curricula influence the teaching-learning environment in urban physical education. One approach to urban physical education is to look carefully at the ecology that exists within an urban physical education class. This ecology is created through the interaction of three task systems: the managerial task system, the instructional task system, and the student social system. Although urban physical education has been explored to some degree, to this point, an ecological perspective has not been investigated. Purpose of study: The purpose of the study was to examine the ecology of an urban elementary physical education class. Participants: Participants were an intact class of 15 sixth-grade students and their teacher. Data collection and analysis: Data were collected in four ways: (1) videotaped record of lessons, (2) field notes, (3) formal interviews using a semi-structured interview guide and (4) document data. Field notes and interview data were inductively analyzed using constant comparison. Categories were developed and examined for common elements that ran throughout and tied them together. Themes were then extracted from these categories. Data were selectively coded for examples that illustrated the themes. Results: Two main findings are reported. First, the interactions between the managerial task system, instructional task system and the student social system resulted in little learning. The managerial task system was very fragile as a result of the teacher's inability to deal effectively with off-task behavior and misbehavior. In addition, the instructional task system was characterized by a lack of detailed instruction and loose accountability with regard to the completion of instructional tasks. The student social system consisted of negative interactions between students, as well as between a given student (or students) and the teacher. The student social system often suspended both the instructional and managerial task systems. Second, interactions between the student social system and the curriculum impacted the teaching-learning environment. Results indicated that overall, students found the curriculum to have little relevance and that they often engaged in student social tasks such as talking with friends and modifying tasks so that they were more to their liking. Conclusions/recommendations: Specific recommendations for future research include investigating the benefits of training physical educators in urban settings with regard to their instructional and managerial skills and their ability to meaningfully reflect on their instruction and student learning. Information gleaned from this type of investigation would be valuable not only for teachers currently in the field, but also for professionals involved in teacher education.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Grade 6
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New York