Professional Development for Teachers: Introducing Sport Education in Russian Schools

Friday, April 3, 2009
Exhibit Hall RC Poster Sessions (Tampa Convention Center)
Oleg Sinelnikov, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL
The professional development may have a positive effect on teacher knowledge, motivation and improve students' learning (Armour & Evans, 2006), however, single workshops unconnected to a school do not provide adequate professional development in any topic (NPEAT, 1999).


The purpose of this study was to provide a description and evaluation of an on-site professional development program and its essential elements for physical education teachers as they learned to teach Sport Education (SE). The professional development program included three distinct phases: (1) providing teachers with materials on SE; (2) conducting a two-day workshop focusing on specific features of SE; and (3) connecting the theory (SE curriculum) to practice (actual teaching) using a Reflective Framework for Teaching in Physical Education suggested by Tsangaridou and O'Sullivan (1994).


Participants were two physical education teachers (one with 27 and one with 3 years of experience) who taught separate sixth grade physical education classes in a school in the central region of Russia. The modified SE benchmark observational instrument (Ko, Wallhead, & Ward, 2006) was used to check the fidelity of SE curriculum and confirm the existence or non-existence of benchmarks elements of SE season in lesson planning and actual teaching.


Data were gathered through briefing and debriefing sessions (72 sessions), semi-structured interviews (14 interviews), lesson and season plans, e-mail correspondence, telephone conversations and a researcher's log. Using these data sources within and across contexts facilitated data triangulation during analysis. The analysis was performed using qualitative techniques such as thematic coding to identify common themes (Spradley, 1979).

Four themes were generated during analysis and these themes have been identified as (a) the need for sample lesson observance in the training phase, (b) teaching-to-model congruency validation, (c) difficulties of “letting go of the control”, and (d) the establishment of the new partnership relationships between teachers and students.


Consistent with previous research, the findings from this study demonstrated that if professional development is continuous (Fullan, 1995), and school based (NPEAT, 1998) as well as contextualized in teaching practices (Sparks, 1997), physical education teachers can effectively implement a novel curriculum. These findings are important because while the highest level of content “washout” in professional development occurs between the teacher planning and implementation phases (Ko et al., 2006), in this study, the continuous feedback and reflection in briefing and de-briefing sessions minimized the effects of content washout and allowed teachers implement a valid SE season.