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«LEARNING TO TEACH PHYSICAL EDUCATION IN PRIMARY SCHOOLS: THE INFLUENCE OF DISPOSITIONS AND EXTERNAL STRUCTURES ON PRACTICE by Ian Pickup, BA (QTS) A ...»

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Introduction……………………………………………………………………………… p.201 University-based PE…………………………………………………………………….. p.202 Compulsory PE lectures………………………………………………………. p.202 The conflation of PE and sport in ITT…………………………………………… p.206 Elective ‘specialist’ lectures……………………………………………………… p.207 The link between university and school-based PE………………………………. p.209 PE in placement schools………………………………………………………………….. p.213 The status of PE………………………………………………………………………….. p.217 Locally varying expectations and practice……………………………………………….. p.221 The influence of the class teacher and other professionals………………………………. p.225 Subject specific mentoring……………………………………………………………….. p.227 Summary…………………………………………………………………………………..p.228

CHAPTER 7 STRUCTURES, DISPOSITION AND PRACTICE IN

PRIMARPEITT

Introduction………………………………………………………………………………. p.231 The dynamic relationship between structures, disposition and practice…………………. p.233 Case Studies Kay: a confirmed avoider………………………………………………………… p.236 James: an affirmed specialist…………………………………………………….. p.241 Leanne: a committed class teacher……………………………………………….. p.247 Becky: an ambivalent class teacher………………………………………………. p.252 Sarah: an ambivalent or committed class teacher…………………………………p.256 Developing new understanding………………………………………………………….. p.260 The impact of policy…………………………………………………………………….. p.265 The impact of other people……………………………………………………………… p.269 The potential for change…………………………………………………………………. p.270 Summary…………………………………………………………………………………. p.273

CHAPTER 8 RECOMMENDATIONS AND CONCLUSIONS

Introduction………………………………………………………………………………. p.275 Key findings…………………………………………………………………………........ p.277 Recommendations for practice………………………………………………………….. p.281 Provide greater opportunity for reflection and differentiated learning………… p.281 Review expectations regarding the progress of trainees ………………………. p.283 Strengthen the relationship between university and school based elements of primary PEITT …………………………………………………….. p.290 Further develop understanding regarding the nature and content of primary PE …………………………………………………….. p.293 Limitations and scope of this research…………………………………………………. p.295 Future research……………………………………………………………………............ p.300 Personal learning and development through the study …………………………………. p.303 Summary…………………………………………………………………………………..p.304 REFERENCES…………………………………………………………………………. p.307

LIST OF TABLES

4.1 Overview of the research process …………………………………………..……... p.141

5.1 Descriptive data from PSPP……………………………………………………...... p.173

5.2 Gender sub-group mean scores……………………………………………..…….. p.174

5.3 Gender differences within the sub-domains of physical self-perception……….. p.175

LIST OF FIGURES

4.1 Example question from PSPP……………………………………………………… p.155

7.1 A model of structures, disposition and practice in primary PEITT …………….. p.234

APPENDICES (SEPARATE VOLUME)

Appendix 1 National Curriculum PE…………………………………………………… p.3 Appendix 2 Professional Standards for Qualifying to Teach…………………………… p.5 Appendix 3 Requirements for ITT providers…………………………………………… p.11 Appendix 4 Outline Structure of BA Primary Education degree at case study institution …………………………………………………… p.14 Appendix 5 Physical Self Perception Profile…………………………………………… p.17 Appendix 6 Perceived Importance Profile……………………………………………… p.22 Appendix 7 Sample data collection and analysis……………………………………….. p.24 Appendix 8 Research participant consent form………………………………………… p.55 Appendix 9 Overview of sample size at each research………………………………… p.56 Appendix 10 Summary of participants in research stages 1b to 3b…………………….. p.57 Appendix 11 Master list of themes and subthemes……………………………………… p.58 Appendix 12 Respondent validation questionnaire sample response…………………… p.59 Appendix 13 Course provider’s Year 1 PE subject knowledge audit…………………… p.63 Appendix 14 Year 1 compulsory module assessment overview………………………... p.65

–  –  –





I wish to thank my supervisory team of Professor Pat Mahony, Dr. Jeanne Keay and Dr. Julie Shaughnessy for their guidance, cajoling and encouragement during the completion of this thesis. I also wish to thank Professor Ron Best who supported the development of the research as the initial Director of Studies before his retirement.

I am indebted to all the trainee teachers who took part in this research. I am also grateful to the trainee primary teachers with whom I worked as a lecturer at Roehampton University and who motivated me to find better ways through which to support learning and development in physical education.

I wish to acknowledge the support of Roehampton University in enabling me to complete this work and am grateful for the encouragement of colleagues and senior managers.

Finally, I am fortunate to have benefited from the love, support and understanding of Jo, William and Anna Pickup, without which the completion of this work would not have been possible.

–  –  –

Introduction to the research The education system in England has been subjected to a stream of policy change and development over the past thirty years. Within this landscape, primary school physical education (PE) has been highlighted consistently as an area of concern, with the adequate preparation and development of primary teachers as teachers of PE providing a recurring dilemma. Whether viewed as central or problematic to the ‘generalist’ class teacher role, or as a subject best taught by visiting ‘specialists’, a high quality of primary teacher education in PE has proved elusive to policy makers and teacher educators alike.

Such concerns were exemplified in 2007 when the Chief Executive of the Association for Physical Education (afPE), Professor Margaret Talbot, claimed that the quantity and quality of primary PE Initial Teacher Training (ITT) in the United Kingdom (UK) was a ‘national disgrace’ (Talbot, 2007). Professor Talbot’s claim was made during a phase of significant government investment into school PE and sport through the Physical Education, School Sport and Club Links (PESSCL) strategy (Department for Education and Skills [DfES]/ Department of Culture, Media and Sport [DCMS], 2003), yet the statement reinforced long held views amongst professionals and researchers that the development of primary teachers as teachers of PE, and the subject of PE itself, is problematic. Primary PE is ‘said to be often absent in practice, under-researched and therefore under-theorised’ (Hunter, 2006), yet professionals and researchers alike have been quick to present primary PE as a problem. The concerns raised over the past four decades have related to a perceived low status of the subject in schools, paucity of facilities, inappropriate content, fragmented delivery of the curriculum and low levels of teacher expertise (Kirk, Colquhoun & Gore 1988; Tinning & Hawkins, 1988;

Graham, 1991; Curtner-Smith, 1999; Hardman & Marshall, 2001; DeCorby, Halas, Dixon, Wintrup & Janzen,. 2005; Morgan & Bourke, 2005, Griggs, 2007).

For the purposes of this research, primary PE relates to that which is taught to children aged between 4 and 11 as part as the primary school curriculum; in England, this relates to children attending English schools in successive year groups from the Reception Class (children aged 4/5) to Year 6 (children aged 10/11). PE has been a Foundation subject of the National Curriculum (NC) since its inception in 1989, bringing what some argue to be a distinctive medium for learning to both Key Stage 1 (children aged 5-7) and Key Stage 2 (children aged 7-11). ‘Physical development’ is also included within the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) guidelines pertinent to children in Reception Class (children aged 4-5), which presents an opportunity for the development of fine and gross motor skills. Whilst the aims and goals of the EYFS and NC are not necessarily interdependent, many Reception classes will include a weekly PE lesson in their timetable in addition to providing children with opportunities for physical play. In addition, those teachers who train to work in the EYFS are also prepared through university based ITT for teaching in Key Stage 1 (all university based providers are required to support development of knowledge across two consecutive Key Stages) and will therefore be expected to develop an understanding and some experience of NC Physical Education (NCPE) through the ITT process.

Central to this research are the questions of who teaches PE in the primary school (and the knowledge, beliefs and values they bring) and what constitutes the primary PE curriculum (and what therefore teachers need to know in order to teach it).These issues have become a repeated concern for physical educationalists in the United Kingdom and across the world, with writers most recently agreeing that teacher attitudes, subject knowledge, competence and confidence are major issues to be addressed (Sloan, 2010; Petrie, 2010; Morgan & Bourke, 2005; Morgan & Hansen, 2008; Kasale & Mokgwathi, 2010).

It has been suggested that:

Too often physical education teachers in primary or elementary schools are untrained for the subject and some conduct physical education lessons as supervised play. PE is taught by the classroom teacher who usually has had little or no training in physical education (International Council for Sport Sciences and Physical Education, 2000, p. 119).

My own interest in primary Physical Education Initial Teacher Training (PEITT) has stemmed from personal experiences as a professional sportsman, secondary school PE teacher, sports coach, teacher educator and parent of primary aged children. Throughout my own career, I have maintained a personal commitment to the value of PE in schools and have been aware that others – including trainee teachers, teacher educators and colleagues – do not share the same viewpoint. As a teacher educator I have worked closely with trainee primary school teachers and teachers in schools and have become increasingly conscious that the process of becoming a teacher of primary PE is highly complex, regularly presenting a range of problems and challenges for many trainee and practising primary teachers. I began to question why this may be the case.

Whilst working with successive cohorts of trainee primary teachers, I suspected that personal dispositions towards PE are deep rooted and that trainee teachers’ perceptions, values and attitudes towards the subject have a complex range of causal factors. For example, in my own primary PE lectures, trainees have described positive and negative experiences in PE and sport as pupils in school, within families and as adults which appear to impact on individual approaches to the subject during ITT. Furthermore, whilst observing trainee teachers during school visits in ITT, I have seen a range of approaches to PE teaching during school placements, both by the trainees themselves and by supervising class teachers. Some appear to place a high priority on the subject whilst others seem somewhat reticent and in some cases very negative towards the subject. Furthermore, I have been aware that the contact time afforded to PE within the courses I teach is relatively limited and that the apparently wide ranging learning needs of my own trainee teachers are possibly not being met. These concerns suggested to me that the primary ITT may not be adequately preparing all new professionals to teach PE effectively in schools. At the heart of this research into primary PEITT, therefore, is a desire to better understand trainee primary teachers’ dispositions towards PE, the relationship between these subjectivities and the structural conditions of the ITT experience and ensuing practice; I ultimately wish to better prepare trainee teachers to be effective teachers of primary PE. By developing a more comprehensive understanding, I hoped to be able to provide more appropriate opportunities for my own students to develop as teachers of primary PE and to make recommendations to ITT providers that will result in a more prepared and better equipped primary school workforce for the future.



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