Physical educators' perceptions about physical education: An analysis of the prospective and practising teacher

Year: 2002

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

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Prospective teachers enter teacher training with a broad range of experiences affecting attitudes and beliefs about methods of teaching and the value of different subjects. The existence of quality physical education (PE) programs depends largely on the way PE is perceived and valued by those with responsibility for its teaching. This paper reports on the use of four constructs to measure both specialist (n=196) and non-specialist (n=485) teachers' attitudes and beliefs about the teaching of primary school PE. Data were collected from 570 preservice teachers in 2nd, 3rd and 4th year at the University of Newcastle and 111 inservice teachers from state and private schools within New South Wales. The interaction between gender, year level and specialisation was investigated for each attitudinal measure. As hypothesised, non-specialist teachers had significantly lower scores on all measures than specialists. However, post-hoc examination revealed a contrasting pattern of attitudinal development from preservice to inservice. Although non-specialist scores for all constructs were higher for more advanced cohorts in preservice education, their scores were consistently lower at the inservice level. Conversely, specialist scores were higher through preservice to inservice. Gender differences also emerged. The relevance of these findings to teacher educators and the importance of continuing professional development for inservice teachers will be discussed.