Generalist student teachers' perceptions of self, physical activity and health and physical education curriculum

Year: 1997

Author: Gard, Michael, Fry, Joan

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

The debate about generalist versus specialist teachers in primary schools has long been fought, possibly nowhere more vigorously than in regard to physical education. Here, it continues to appear as an issue in national enquiries into the quality of teaching. This study is based on the premise that people embody the feelings and beliefs that they hold about phenomena and so feelings and beliefs influence the ways people act. In the case of physical activity, it is thought that feelings and beliefs about the body and physical activity greatly impact on behaviour. Therefore in order to develop effective physical education teacher education programs, it is important to consider student teachers' perceptions of their bodies, physical activity and physical education curriculum. Data were collected through survey and interview. Students in early childhood and primary as well as secondary specialist health and physical education courses at a rural university volunteered to complete inventories designed to measure perceptions of self in relation to physical activity, perceptions of physical activity and feelings about the health and physical education curriculum. Following preliminary analysis, students with a range of perceptions and feelings were purposefully sampled for individual open-ended interviews. In this paper the findings will be discussed with tentative recommendations for heath and physical education teacher education curriculum.