"I know it's important but I'd rather teach something else!": An investigation into generalist teachers' perceptions of physical education in the primary school curriculum

Year: 2004

Author: Morgan, Philip, Bourke, Sid

Type of paper: Refereed paper

The benefits of regular physical education (PE) for primary school children have been reinforced in the literature over a number of years. Unfortunately, many primary school teachers feel they lack the confidence, training and time to teach PE effectively and subsequently may avoid teaching PE altogether. A key aim of the current study was to examine the relationship between generalist teachers' curriculum preferences in the primary school and the relative value they place on PE compared to other key learning areas (KLAs) of the NSW primary curriculum. Data were collected from 485 pre-service (2nd, 3rd & 4th Year) and in-service generalist primary teachers. Results suggested that most cohorts considered PE to be a relatively valuable KLA but indicated they would prefer to teach other KLAs to PE. Insufficient time was the most commonly cited impediment to the delivery of PE programs. Significant relationships were established between some PE attitudinal variables for some cohorts and interesting findings emerged upon post hoc analysis of cohort differences, particularly regarding in-service teachers. These findings will be discussed with specific recommendations made for preservice education and ideas for the professional development of generalist primary teachers.