Thoughts and Beliefs of PETE Majors: Voices of Lived Experience

Wednesday, March 18, 2015
Exhibit Hall Poster Area 1 (Convention Center)
David W. Chorney, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada and Nicholas Forsberg, University of Regina, Regina, SK, Canada
Background/Purpose: This study serves to answer many questions, of key importance is, how do undergraduate Physical Education (PE) major students change in their beliefs, attitudes and perceptions of what it means to be an effective teacher of physical education as they progress through their Physical Education Teacher Education (PETE) preparation program? It's expected that change results when undergraduate PE majors are exposed to both, well planned and taught University curriculum and instruction and kinesiology content courses, combined with professional development, through purposeful and supported practicum experience in the field.  In addition to utilizing the theory and findings of Lortie’s (1975) “apprenticeship-of-observation model”, other research has been used to supplement this study. For example, many of the student teacher’s skills and abilities result from a combination of personal and professional characteristics i.e. (meaningful reflection, personal experience and commitment to the profession). Numerous studies have been conducted to identify these characteristics in physical education teachers (Behets, 1997; Beighle & Pangrazzi, 2002; Stirling & Belk, 2002).

Method: A combination of qualitative and quantitative methods were utilized in this longitudinal study. To date, qualitative and quantitative data have been analyzed from the surveys of students attending two major Universities in Western Canada over the past seven years. Since 2007 data has beeen collected from 18 different cohorts (n=455). PETE majors from these cohorts have completed pre course, post course and post practicum surveys. Prior to conducting question by question analyses a comparison of age and sex composition across cohorts was performed.

Analysis/Results: Cohorts did not differ significantly with respect to gender (p=.06). Of the 455 respondents to this question 55% were female and 45% were male. Significant differences in the distribution of age were found, (p<.001) but group medians did not differ significantly (p=.251). Some of the components that these PETE majors perceived to be vital in contributing to a quality PE program changed significantly with their responses in the various surveys that were administered. What these PETE majors also valued and what they would prioritize in their respective PE programs upon graduation from university also changed over their time within the study.

Conclusions: PETE majors do change in their beliefs and perceptions of what they envision the profession of teaching physical education to be as they progress through their PETE program. These conclusions are validated with both qualitative and quantitative data from this study.  This presentatin focuses on the qualitative components associated with the research and understanding the lived experience of these undergraduate PE majors.