Background/Purpose This study was informed by the literature on teaching metaphors, occupational socialization (e.g., Curtner-Smith, 2009), and dynamical systems. Although numerous studies have investigated classroom teachers' metaphors for teaching, no studies could be found for Physical Education (PE) teachers' views. The purpose of this study was to examine PE teachers' initial, current, and ideal metaphors for teaching and related factors.
Method Teachers (N=66; F=41; 61 Caucasian; 1-33 years of experience) from two USA regions completed a previously validated survey (Alger, 2009), which also produced reliable scores in this sample (Alpha=.87). Teachers (n=13) also participated in 20-minute semi-structured interviews.
Analysis/Results Descriptive statistics results indicated that participants envisioned teaching as: (a) before entering the profession as “guiding” (30%), (b) in reality as “providing tools” (42%), and (c) ideally they wished it could be “nurturing” (27%), “providing tools” (26%), and “engaging in community” (21%). Constant comparison was used to identify/extract common themes, including: (a) fluidity (e.g., “…I can still mold, but my job was more about providing the tools needed…”) and (b) evolutionary forces (e.g., “…nobody is taking our program seriously…”). Data and researcher triangulation, member checks, and negative cases searches were used to support data trustworthiness. These findings are similar to reports of classroom teachers' metaphors for teaching, revealing that many PE teachers also change their perceptions of teaching over time, as supported in the occupational socialization and dynamical systems literature.
Conclusions These findings offer potential insights into understanding PE teachers' views of practice and improving preservice/inservice training.