1 Ontario Tech University (CANADA)
2 St. Francis Xavier University (CANADA)
3 University of Toronto (CANADA)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN20 Proceedings
Publication year: 2020
Pages: 585-590
ISBN: 978-84-09-17979-4
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2020.0238
Conference name: 12th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 6-7 July, 2020
Location: Online Conference
This qualitative research study examines the impact of biography on pre-service teacher candidates’ attitudes, values and approaches to becoming physical educators. Research indicates that the majority of elementary school physical education (PE) classes in Canada are taught predominantly by non-specialist classroom teachers (Fletcher & Mandigo, 2012; Freak & Miller, 2017; Fletcher, Mandigo & Kosnik, 2013). While generalist teachers may be required to teach physical education (PE), they often cite negative attitudes towards the subject based on their past personal experiences as students.

Our research questions focus on:
(a) the influence of teacher biography in pre-service generalist PE teacher education,
(b) the teacher socialization process as generalist teachers approach the subject of physical education,
(c) how teacher candidates’ past beliefs about their competence to teach PE can be disrupted and interrogated through reflective dialogue,
(d) how a play-based, inclusive pre-service methods course in physical education teacher education (PETE) can act as a catalyst to shift teacher candidates’ attitudes towards a more positive and inclusive model for teaching physical education.

This study took place in 3 Canadian university faculties of education involving 190 pre-service teacher candidates taking a mandatory methods course in physical education teacher preparation. Using an online survey, small focus groups and individual interviews, teacher candidates described in detail their own experiences in physical education, and how these perceptions shaped their confidence and competence to become teachers of physical education. Results indicated that teacher candidates who had negative experiences in PE (humiliation, embarrassment or unfair assessment practices) also stated that this had shaped their lack of confidence, and so they had significant fear of teaching PE. Those teacher candidates who had positive past experiences, and identified as “sporty and athletic” generally indicated that they approached the task of teaching elementary PE with greater competence and confidence. Further to this, teacher candidate reflections indicated that the use of a play-based inclusive pedagogy in the physical education teacher education (PETE) course resulted in changes in their perceptions about how physical education could be designed, implemented and experienced. Finally, the pedagogical approach of play and inclusion used in the course had a positive effect on supporting pre-service teachers to develop greater confidence in their abilities to design non-traditional PE curricula, and to lead fully accessible, play-based and inclusive PE classes.
Physical Education, Teacher Education, Pre-Service Teachers, Biography.