Instructional Alignment in Health and Physical Education Teacher Education: A collaborative self-study

Year: 2021

Author: Iannucci, Cassandra, Moncrieff, Kate

Type of paper: Individual Paper

Instructional alignment (IA), described as the extent to which educational goals, assessment, and instructional approaches/learning experiences are aligned (Cohen, 1987), is believed to be a pre-requisite for worthwhile and meaningful learning (Carter, 2008). However, despite the positive influence instructionally aligned lessons have on student learning, there is limited empirical research on IA in physical education and even less on the practices and experiences of teaching about and through IA in health and physical education teacher education (H-PETE; MacPhail et al., 2013). Teacher educators’ pedagogical practices are central to the impact of a teacher education program on preservice teachers experiences of learning to teach. Despite increased inquiry into H-PETE pedagogies, it is widely reported that H-PETE programs inadequately prepare teachers for the realities and challenges of teaching physical education in contemporary schools (O’Sullivan, 2014). As a result, there is a call for research to explore H-PETE pedagogies that better prepare preservice teachers to teach in ways that support student learning (Ni Chroinin et al., 2015).Therefore, this research aims to contribute empirical evidence of H-PETE pedagogies that support learning how to teach for learning through IA in physical education. The purpose of this research is to understand the experiences, assumptions, decisions, and actions of two teacher educators who are teaching about and through IA in H-PETE.Methodologies for the research are guided by LaBoskey’s (2004) collaborative self-study of teacher education practices (S-STEP) design. Data collection consists of 20 written and 11 audio recorded reflective correspondence between two teacher educators and a critical friend.Initial results indicate three significant themes; the challenges of implementing IA within the context of an overcrowded curriculum, tensions with prioritising what is ‘valued’ in H-PETE, and perceptions of impact on pre-service teacher experiences. One key finding suggests this work contributes to reimagining the ways in which we do H-PETE in blended/remote teaching context to ensure effective student learning takes place. IA practices, such as the explicit sharing of learning intentions between teacher and students, were shown to be essential for student learning in circumstances where there is an increase in independent/asynchronous learning experiences in a blended learning context.This research informs the development and implementation of effective pedagogies in HPETE programs nationally/internationally. Specifically, it provides evidence on the extent to which IA, as a means of teaching in ways that support student learning, can be effectively integrated across face to face, remote learning, and multi-campus contexts.