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Physical education preservice teachers’ perceptions of the subject and profession: development during 2005–2016
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0748-7144
2018 (English)In: Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, ISSN 1740-8989, E-ISSN 1742-5786, Vol. 23, no 4, p. 358-370Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background: During the socialization process when becoming a physical education (PE) teacher, the knowledge, perceptions and expectations of what it means to work as a teacher are developed. In this socialization, the initial acculturation phase is shown to be of the most importance, since individual PE teachers’ experiences during this phase are shown to have a long-lasting influence on their approach to and perception of the subject and the profession. Furthermore, research shows that most physical education teacher education (PETE) programmes are ineffective in altering these initial perceptions and beliefs during the programme. This inertia to change may resemble Bourdieu’s concept of habitus.

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to analyse the background of PE preservice teacher students (PSTs) and examine their embodied perceptions and beliefs related to the subject and profession when they enrol. Specifically, the study focuses on their background characteristics, perceptions of PE and PE teachers, and whether their background and perceptions changed between 2005 and 2016.

Method: This study draws on a web-based questionnaire completed by 224 students (90 women and 134 men) enrolled in the PETE programme at a major university in Sweden between 2005 and 2016. The questionnaire used in this study addressed the PSTs’ experiences, views, beliefs and perceptions of PE and the PE profession, and it was completed during the first semester of respective students’ PE subject studies.

Findings: PE PSTs are a homogeneous group of students with similar backgrounds, experiences and perceptions of PE and their future profession as PE teachers. Participants suggested that important characteristics for a good PE teacher include possessing subject knowledge, having pedagogical competence and being considerate. A good PE lesson should be fun and inspiring, consist of physical activity and be adapted to all. Important goals for PE are to develop pupils’ character and promote healthy behaviours. The PSTs’ background characteristics and perceptions do not seem to have changed during the studied period, in spite of the fact that the structure of the PETE programme did change.

Conclusions: The homogeneous background among PSTs, with vast experience of sport and physical activity, implies that they will interact and engage with students with similar backgrounds and perceptions (i.e. habitus) during PETE. This may limit the potential influence of PETE and fail to prepare PSTs for the demands of their future profession. However, if the influences of acculturation were accounted for during PETE, the programmes could be better designed and better prepare PSTs for their future profession.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2018. Vol. 23, no 4, p. 358-370
Keywords [en]
acculturation, habitus, PETE, Sweden
National Category
Pedagogy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-145482DOI: 10.1080/17408989.2018.1441392ISI: 000430866600002OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-145482DiVA, id: diva2:1188057
Available from: 2018-03-06 Created: 2018-03-06 Last updated: 2018-06-09Bibliographically approved

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