Background/Purpose Recent trends point to a growing commitment to civic responsibility and engagement among college students (Higher Education Research Institute, 2006). While the term “activist” is historically associated with “protester” in the public imagination, critical events (i.e. 9/11 attacks, Hurricane Katrina) have been impactful for todays' students as they consider constructive solutions to societal issues. Yet, what relevance this trend has for physical education initiatives is relatively unknown. This study analyzes PETE students' (N=27) dispositions and emerging attitudes toward constructive activism while being civically engaged in physical activity programs in an urban Midwestern city.
Method Inductive analysis and methodological triangulation guided the examination of PETE majors' philosophies, journals, and teaching reflections. Comparison of the data from the participants involved deconstructing and assembling information using peer debriefing to find variations, similar themes, linkages and patterns within each of the reflective pieces (Erickson, 1986).
Analysis/Results Analysis of PETE majors refections uncovered themes related to 1) realizing a need for action, 2) initial awareness of influence and political structures, 3) emotional concern for students and, 4) conflict of opinion regarding purpose and community engagement.
Conclusions Findings from this study further espouse a need for investigation into how PETE majors define civic engagement relevant to their communities. Additionally, examining these majors' knowledge of community issues and strategies for solving problems in these areas could benefit physical education advocacy efforts.