The development of pre-service teachers subject knowledge during a post-graduate physical education teacher education programme
Pedagogical content knowledge
Communities of practice
Initial teacher education
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AbstractA Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.
This study is concerned with the development of subject knowledge in pre-service teachers of secondary physical education (PE) during their one year Physical Education Teacher Education (PETE) course. It investigates the knowledge bases for teaching which pre-service teachers recognised, developed and prioritised, as well as the key influences that impacted on their subject knowledge development. Adopting an interpretive methodology informed by constructivist grounded theory, the study employed interviews, lesson observations and post-lesson reflections as principal research methods. Pre-service teachers were seen to make wide-ranging progress in their subject knowledge, including the development of content knowledge, pedagogical content knowledge, general pedagogical knowledge, knowledge of curriculum and knowledge of pupils. Through this they advanced their view of the nature of PE and how they wanted to teach it. The research highlights, that the process of knowledge development in PETE is socially constructed and complex. Much of the pre-service teachers development was influenced by various communities of practice, particularly their school placements PE departments, but also their University-based learning community. Of these, the legitimised practices within the PE departments were found to be especially important to pre-service teachers development. University-based learning was credited by pre-service teachers with enhancing their holistic understanding of the learning process, developing those aspects of critical pedagogy that were under-developed in schools. The impact of different subject knowledge profiles and the consequences of knowledge deficits are identified. This raises questions about the role and development of subject knowledge within PETE and calls for a re-vitalised debate on the nature of the knowledge in PE. Framed within an ever-changing policy landscape is the need for enhanced and stable partnerships that promote shared visions of PETE, an essential part of which is the need to collaboratively design and evaluate explicit knowledge development pathways which allow pre-service teachers to fulfil their potential and genuinely decide how they want to teach PE.