Value orientations reveal an individual’s philosophical belief about teaching and learning which influence teachers’ decisions within the physical education curriculum (Jewett, Bain & Ennis, 1995). There are six value orientations that describe the philosophical beliefs of teachers. Teachers hold different beliefs in what value orientations they feel are most important, for example when priorities are placed on students mastering the body of knowledge within a curriculum, teachers are said to favor a discipline mastery value orientation. Having a stronger understanding of where preservice classroom teachers (PTs’) place their focus while teaching physical education is important as it will help physical education teacher educators better educate classroom PTs’ who may need to teach physical education later on. The purpose of this study was to examine classroom PTs’ locus of foci during the delivery of their first physical education teaching experience.
This study took place at a large public research University in the Southeastern part of the U.S. Two intact classes (N=44; 40F, 4M) of elementary education majors enrolled in a physical education practicum course took part in this study. An overall goal for students enrolled within the course was to develop a stronger understanding of a model-based instructional system within the physical education setting. Data was collected through qualitative methods including field observations, formal interviews, critical incident reports (264), and reflective papers (264).
A three-step process of open, axial and selective coding was used to analyze data. Results indicated that a majority of participants were focused on the social and managerial task systems. However, as time progressed, PTs’ began to show more emphasis within the instructional task system. Classroom PTs’ were most concerned with keeping students engaged, active and having fun.
The results from this study indicate that classroom PTs’ initially struggle with developing an instructional focus, in fact PTs’ were most concerned with keeping students busy, happy, and good (Placek, 1983) during the early field experience. This did appear to change as classroom PTs’ began to advance to a more instructional focus in their teaching. This study indicates that learning how to teach within a model-based instructional system is complex as well as challenging. In order to get classroom PTs’ to focus more on the instructional task system, more time is needed to work with classroom PTs’ before they enter into the school setting.