Rethinking physical education teacher education curriculum in Japan: the perception of physical education teachers

Year: 2021

Author: Kakazu, Kengo, Iwata, Shotaro

Type of paper: Individual Paper

While the importance of preservice teachers gaining more practical experience in teacher education reform cannot be denied, the theoretical study that teachers must go through before starting their service is also very important. This is because the difficulties experienced by novice teachers are often attributed to the gap between teacher preparation and practice as a teacher. Given that the fact, we believe that an improvement in the quality of physical education (PE) teacher education programs is just as necessary as practical experience in the development of quality of PE teachers. On that note, we believe that it is also important to consider the opinions of in-service teachers in any sort of teacher education curriculum reform. The purpose of this study is to clarify the perception that PE teachers have on what is necessary for PE teaching and the minimum knowledge that needs to be acquired in PE teacher education programs. The participants of the investigation were 165 Japanese secondary level PE teachers, who are asked to respond to 35 questions (e.g., understanding of the national curriculum, understanding and teaching method of the content of track and field ) on a 5-point Likert scale ranging from 1 (not at all important) to 5 (very important). Our results revealed that the PE teachers believed “lesson planning”, “creating a good classroom atmosphere”, “assessment methods”, “motivating students”, “asking questions” and “instructions” to be a necessity in PE classes. In contrast, PE teachers considered an “understanding of swimming”, “an understanding of the basic structure of a lesson plan,” “trends in teacher research”, “creating a lesson plan that assumed a PE practice”, and “lesson planning based on trends in teacher research” not very important to learn. PE teachers considered “the understanding of the national curriculum”, “instructions”, “creating a good classroom atmosphere”, “motivating students”, and “lesson planning” as the minimum knowledge that needs to be acquired in PE teacher education programs. This result is similar to what they consider important in the practice of PE. Although practical experience tends to draw the most attention in teacher education reform, we believe that our study has shown that theory can play such a role. In other words, the findings of this study can lead to improvements in the PE teacher education programs and subsequently provide students with more quality PE classes.