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ERIC Number: EJ1005061
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1740-8989
Making Sense of Teaching Social and Moral Skills in Physical Education
Jacobs, Frank; Knoppers, Annelies; Webb, Louisa
Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, v18 n1 p1-14 2013
Background: Education policies and curriculum documents in many European countries promote the social and moral development of young people as a cross-curriculum goal and place that goal at the center of the education process. All subjects, including physical education (PE) are required to contribute to the social and moral development of the children. Scholars have argued that PE and especially the PE teacher play a crucial role in the social and moral development of children. There is however little scientific evidence that underpins the positive contribution of PE to this development. Scholars also understand the social and moral domain in diverse ways. Little is known about how teachers themselves think about their responsibilities with respect to the social and moral development of their students through PE and how they understand and operationalize such curriculum goals. Purpose: The purpose of this study is to explore how physical education (PE) teachers make sense of this formal curriculum goal and try to operationalize it. PE teachers tend not to be formally trained in didactics of social and moral development. In addition, the PE curriculum gives few guidelines that define social and moral development or how to accomplish this (if at all) but does require them to integrate this development into their teaching. We therefore used a social constructivist perspective with an emphasis on sense making to situate the study. Participants and setting: Participants teaching in different types of high school were recruited from Dutch urban, suburban and rural locations. In total 158 PE teachers participated in this study. Their teaching experience ranged from one to thirty-eight years. Data collection: Data were collected in three phases. Phase 1 was exploratory consisting of eight in-depth interviews. The results were used to construct an open-ended questionnaire that was answered by 55 participants (Phase 2). In Phase 3 we conducted 95 in-depth interviews with PE teachers to further explore themes that had emerged. Data analysis: The data were analyzed with the use of a qualitative data analysis package. We used a thematic analysis that was driven by both the data and the research questions to examine the combined data sets. Findings: The PE teachers unanimously constructed PE classes as places where social and moral skills should and can be developed. They equated social and moral development with the learning of social interactional skills. They differed however, in what they emphasized and the strategies they used to realize this curriculum objective. Conclusion: The PE teachers involved in this study actively worked to contribute to the social and moral development of their pupils by teaching and monitoring social interactional skills. The commonalities in curricular practices found in this study and the individual differences together possibly reflect a globalized socialization of PE teachers into and through sport accompanied by differences rooted in how they as individuals make sense of their upbringing. We recommend the use of a contextually-based bottom-up approach to explore the dynamics of social and moral development in PE classes. (Contains 1 note.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Netherlands