Associations With Diversity Attitudes in Physical Education Teachers

Thursday, April 3, 2014
Exhibit Hall Poster Area 1 (Convention Center)
Jody L. Langdon, Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, GA, Paul Rukavina, Adelphi University, Garden City, NY and Christy Greenleaf, University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI
Background/Purpose: PE teachers often instruct students that have beliefs, attitudes and values different from themselves. The choice to use inclusive teaching often requires possessing an open mindset where one values and appreciates others’ beliefs and values and is comfortable teaching them. Recent investigation of general education pre-service teachers’ revealed endorsement of a mastery focused classroom was associated with cultural diversity measures and negatively associated with being comfortable teaching (Kumar et al., 2012). Little is known how dispositional motivational beliefs impact cultural diversity measures in pre-service PE teachers. And are these associations are different from those who have more experience PE teaching.

Method: Pre-service PE teachers (N = 199) from six universities (115 males, 84 females, Mage = 19.89 years) and in-service teachers (N= 102) from around the US (29 males, 73 females, Mage= 46.35 years) completed surveys of Task (TO) and Ego (EO) goals, and diversity attitudes (Appreciate, Value, Implement, and Uncomfortable with Diversity).

Analysis/Results: Separate multiple regressions were run on the pre-service and in-service PE teachers; one for each of the diversity attitudes. Fisher’s Z test was used to compare the influence of goal orientation on each of the diversity attitudes between pre-service and in-service teachers. For Appreciate, the only significant predictor that emerged for in-service teachers was TO, which explained 19.7% of the variance. Similar results were found with pre-service teachers, with TO explaining 11.9% of the variance in Appreciating. For Valuing among in-service teachers, TO again emerged as the only predictor, explaining 8.6% of the variance. TO and EO were both predictors of Valuing among pre-service teachers, explaining a total of 8.5% of the variance between them. For Implementing, EO was the only significant predictor among in-service teachers, explaining 5% of the variance. For pre-service teachers, the regression revealed significant contributions of TO only, explaining 3.4% of the variance in Implementing. Finally, TO was the sole predictor among in-service teachers of being Uncomfortable. The negative relationship contributed 8.3% of the variance explained, while pre-service teachers’ attitudes towards being Uncomfortable were partially influenced by EO, explaining 5.1% of the variance. Fisher’s Z test revealed no significant differences in prediction models between in-service and pre-service teachers for all four diversity attitude constructs.

Conclusions: A mindset where one focuses on self-improvement was associated with valuing and acceptance of diversity in students’ thoughts and actions. Further research is needed on how TO is related to inclusive teaching practices and actions.