The influence of personal school physical education experiences on non-specialist teachers' attitudes and beliefs about physical education

Year: 2001

Author: Morgan, Phil, Bourke, Sid, Thompson, Kerry

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

There is substantial scientific and research evidence highlighting the importance of regular physical education (PE) for all children. Early socialisation experiences in school PE provide prospective teachers with a large amount of information about PE, which assists the formation of beliefs about PE as a school subject. This paper examines causal relationships between personal school experiences in PE and commitment to physical activity with four main outcomes of interest; attitudes towards physical activity (ATPA), attitudes towards PE (ATTPE), beliefs about the benefits of PE (BEBEN) and perceived confidence teaching PE (COTCHPE). Quantitative data were collected from non-specialist teachers in years 2, 3 and 4 of preservice education (n=386) and inservice (n=53) teachers. Hypothesised relationships between the variables were tested using multilevel structural equation modelling techniques. Results indicated that the quality of an individual’s school PE experience directly predicted their current attitudes and beliefs about PE and commitment to physical activity. Commitment to physical activity was a strong predictor of all attitudinal measures and mediated the effects of primary and high school PE. Total variance explained for each construct included; ATPA (41.0%), BEBEN (25.4%), ATTPE (41.7%) and COTCHPE (29.8%). The implications concerning the quality of school PE will be addressed.