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ERIC Number: EJ950317
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 17
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 33
ISSN: ISSN-1740-8989
The Role of Service-Learning to Promote Early Childhood Physical Education while Examining Its Influence upon the Vocational Call to Teach
Miller, Marybeth
Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, v17 n1 p61-77 2012
Background: The implementation of service-learning as a teaching and learning method has been well grounded in education, yet the discipline of physical education teacher education (PETE) has been slow to establish itself in this experiential learning paradigm. This study examined the role that service-learning plays in teacher candidates' vocational call to teach. Purpose: One role of service-learning is career exploration. This study examined the influence of service-learning upon first-year PETE candidates' vocational call to teach, measured through journals and a post-program survey. Participants, setting and research design: A group of 26 freshman physical education majors, enrolled in an early childhood motor development course with a course-embedded service-learning project, taught preschool-age children, with and without disabilities, one day weekly for 45 minutes over a full semester at a university gymnasium. A mixed methodology design was employed. Data collection: Data were collected from weekly reflective journal logs that included rating four emotional states of learning: uneasy, excited, happy, and discouraged, on three intensity levels: low, moderate, high. A Likert-scale survey titled Physical Education Teacher Call (PET-Call) constructed for the study addressed vocational call dimensions: service, thought, feelings. The journal logs and survey utilized both quantitative and qualitative data. Data analysis: Analyses of quantitative data were conducted using SPSS 13.0 for Windows and qualitative review of themes from open-ended questions on the weekly structured journal logs and survey. Utilizing this combination of data analysis more fully supported identifiable patterns and trends and provided an expression of service providers' voice in their service-learning experience. Findings: Outcomes from structured journal logs and the PET-Call survey strongly support service-learning as an important teaching and learning method to explore one's call to vocation. Across all three dimensions of vocational call the majority of participants agreed or strongly agreed that it provided an opportunity to begin to invest themselves in physical education teacher preparation and this service-learning experience strengthened their sense that teaching physical education is important. Most thought that inclusion was important to everyone in the program and the program prompted participants to think about the challenges of inclusive teaching while growing to tolerate young children of all abilities. Drawing the "feeling" data together, 89% agreed or strongly agreed that the service-learning program has a strong positive influence on confidence building to want to teach physical education while 96% agreed or strongly agreed that the experience initially prepared them for the realities of physical education inclusion. Open-ended questions were content-analyzed; emerging themes included tolerance to diversity, positive experiences by all involved, career conferment, effective communication strategies, and pro-social modeling. Content analysis of the causes of emotions indicated four emerging themes: comfort, acceptance, competence, and compliance, and supported quantitative outcomes from the levels rating and the survey outcomes. Conclusion: This paper concludes with a discussion on the value of the role that service-learning has upon first-year PETE candidates' vocational call to teach. The descriptive statistics and emerging themes from structured journal logs and analyzed responses from the PET-Call survey content verified service-learning program validation, teaching investment, and inclusion support. (Contains 1 note, 1 figure, and 4 tables.)
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: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A