Pre-service teachers' interests and dispositions towards involvement in a physical education teacher education programme
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AbstractInvestigating the reasons for pre-service teachers (PSTs) choosing to undertake a PETE programme can inform teacher educators on how best to define teaching tasks, organise knowledge relevant to student learning and shape PSTs’ perceptions about teaching and learning (Calderhead, 1996). In this study Lortie’s (1975) attractors and facilitators to the teaching profession frame the examination of PSTs’ motivation to enrol on a physical education teacher education (PETE) programme. The aim of the research is to examine the interests and dispositions that motivate PSTs to enrol in a PETE programme offered by an Irish university, acknowledging that little is known about candidates who enter teacher education in the Republic of Ireland (Clarke 2009). PSTs’ current conceptions of the physical education field and the changing perceptions attributed to their subsequent experiences and opportunities of the programme are also identified. It is anticipated that the research will enhance the educational experiences of PSTs by investigating the social construction of educational discourse in and around the subject of physical education. The participants in the study were first year PSTs who were enrolled in a PETE programme at the university were the study took place. Data was collected from PSTs through surveys, interviews, a teaching scenario, revisited interviews on the scenario and a timeline. The surveys, teaching scenario and timeline were completed by the PST cohort as they began their first year of the PETE programme. Survey data was collected from 357 PSTs across five cohorts. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with a sample of ten PSTs at the beginning of the first semester of first year and at the end of their second semester of their first year. Scenario interviews were conducted with the same sub sample of PSTs at the end of the first semester. The same sub sample of PST’s were used for the three interviews. While the initial interview examined attractors to teaching, the scenario interview refocused PSTs on the teaching scenario which PSTs had completed at the start of the year. Scenarios are short descriptions of situations that are usually shown to respondents followed by questions to elicit individual responses to these situations (De Vaus 1996). The scenarios and secnario interviews established any changes in the PSTs’ views towards how they would envisage responding to a particular teaching scenario and encouraged exploration of reasons for such changes occurring. The final interview was structured to address gaps that had arisen between the research findings and the literature and to revisit the reliability of the survey data and the initial interviews. The findings from the initial and final interviews and the timelines found that ‘significant others’ were frequently recorded as influencing PSTs’ choice of programme of study, with family emerging as the most frequently cited group of significant people. ‘Significant others’ are reported internationally as an influence on why PSTs choose to apply to a PETE programme; this cohort of Irish PSTs concur citing it as influential as ‘interest in sport’. The more commonly reported attractors to enrolling on a PETE programme, ‘sport’ (Hutchinson 1993; O’ Sullivan et al. 2009; Zounhia, Chatoupis, Amoutzas, and Hatziharistos 2006) and ‘working with children’ (O’ Bryant, O' Sullivan, and Raudensky 2000; O’ Sullivan et al 2009; Zounhia, et al 2006) were also noted by the PST cohort in this study. The significant influence of ‘sport’ was apparent from the findings of the survey, timeline and initial and final interviews. Interest in ‘sport’ appeared as influential as cited by other authors, but the influence of ‘working with children’ was less influential than previously reported. PSTs changing perceptions about physical education and the teaching of physical education were apparent in the scenario interviews. The PSTs revisited responses to the teaching scenario were more informed and provided greater in-depth information. The PSTs believed their responses had changed because they were applying what they had been taught in the physical education programme and because they were now more educated in physical education.
TypeMaster thesis (research)