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Transition within PETE - is challenging the doxa possible?
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sport Science.
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sport Science. (ID-KUL)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9971-5353
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sport Science. (ID-KUL)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3970-9792
2015 (English)In: ECER 2015, Education and Transtition. Network:18. Research in Sports Pedagogy, 2015Conference paper, Abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Time after time Physical Education Teacher Education (PETE) and Health and Physical Education (HPE) are identified as learning areas where the ‘power of tradition’ remain strong. The history of and transition within PETE and HPE has neither been struggle- nor problem-free. Neither the reformation of PETE nor the shift in the HPE curriculum appears to be able to challenge the teacher student’ understandings [1]. Instead, certain beliefs, norms and values continue to be reproduced in PETE regardless of the criticisms offered. By everyone accepting ‘the rules of the game’ [2], they cannot reflect on, challenge, argue in favour of, or fight over the logic of the dominant practice or what types of knowledge that are seen as important and therefore have its legitimate place in the PETE programme. Within PETE there exists taken for granted assumptions that reflect its history, content, structure, the type of student who enrolls and the outcome for the students at the end of the programme [3].

Although one of the goals of most contemporary PETE programmes is to develop the students’ ability to adopt critical approaches and perspectives, several scholars argue that a completely new university programme is needed if future HPE teachers are going to develop socially-critical approaches [4].

Aim & Research Questions

Based on the discussion above it is of research significance to examine the beliefs about what kind of competencies future HPE teachers need to develop throughout their degree. The purpose of this study was to explore what kind of beliefs about HPE teachers’ competencies that are expressed, assessed, reinforced or challenged throughout the degree. The focus of analysis is particularly on what beliefs about the structure and content of PETE are in tension with each other.

Research questions:

  • What teacher competencies are seen as important to develop throughout the degree by the teacher students?
  • What competencies are being assessed in PETE assessments?
  • What beliefs about HPE teachers’ competencies are reinforced or challenged in and through these assessments?

Theoretical frame

To understand what the possibilities/constraints are for a challenging and critically reflective learning to occur within HPETE we draw on the theories and concepts of Pierre Bourdieu [4]. Bourdieu uses the concept of social fields to explain how, within a specific social context, there is a logic and rules about the practice [5]. These rules are the result of the historical struggles within the field and have shaped prevailing beliefs, or the ‘doxa’, that everyone in the field are aware of. Doxa represents the collective beliefs, norms and attitudes about the ideal or ‘right’ practice and if these are not questioned and challenged continues both to guide and limit what is possible and not possible.

Our point of departure is that PETE can be seen as an encounter between individuals from different backgrounds and with various experiences and the objective structures of an education programme. An education programme’s objective structures contain notions, values, norms and practices that constitute what is deemed relevant and valuable knowledge [6] Participants are individuals, but at the same time they find themselves in a context involving a number of socially constructed rules and notions about what is possible and right, as well as the opposite, i.e. what is inconceivable. Although PETE is not a social field, strictly speaking, in accordance with Bourdieu's definition, the taken for granted assumptions about what constitute a ‘competent’ teacher of HPE still represent a form of doxa. What is considered to be the ‘right’ practice, and valued forms of knowledge is also reflected in what is being assessed.

Methodology, Methods, Research Instruments or Sources UsedIn order to address our research questions we have drawn on three different sources of empirical data. The first source of data consists of open-ended, qualitative questionnaires completed by recently enrolled teacher students at two different PETE programmes. At one university the questionnaires were conducted during a lecture, with a total of 35 students completing them on that occasion and another 3 students at a later date. At the other university the students were given the questionnaires by one of the teacher educators and all of them were subsequently submitted electronically. The total number of questionnaires analyzed were 62. The second source of data involves course booklets from one university, where the focus particularly was on the different forms of assessment. The booklets from all the courses within the PETE programme except the individual research projects, in total 90 credits were included. The course booklets contain detailed information and descriptions of all forms of assessment within the degree. In total the courses contains 82 assessments. The third source of data comprises different types of assessment tasks and a selection of the students’ responses.   By conducting a qualitative text analysis the empirical data were examined in relation to the research questions and subsequently interpreted with the Bourdieuan theoretical framework described above as the starting point [6]. The number of assessments throughout the PETE programme was in a first step divided into type of assessment, subject area and verbs used to describe the assessments to identify the patterns of meaning and the scheme of classification. In the analysis of the assessment tasks and the students’ responses recurring patterns and themes were first identified before these patterns/themes were deconstructed and explored in more detail. Throughout this data analysis process we continually used our theoretical framework to sort through and categorize the data. The focus in the analysis of the data was on picking up both implicit and explicit expressions which reflected collective conceptions and taken for granted assumptions in relation to the PETE programme and HPE. Conclusions, Expected Outcomes or FindingsOur study demonstrates how those who enter PETE seem to be strongly influenced by their previous experience and knowledge of sport and physical activity. Underlying doxa and taken for granted ideas about sport and scientific assumptions seem impregnable The teacher students’ statements highlight collective beliefs, norms and attitudes about the ideal or ’right’  practice, what Bourdieu describes as “the rules of the game”. The image portrayed of the ‘competent’ teacher in HPE is of someone possessing all the knowledge, being the role model and the perfect example and also having the power to select what knowledge that should be taught. In addition, they see teaching/pedagogical skills as crucial. The analysis of the assessments highlights an existing, prevailing doxa that both teacher students and teacher educators seem to agree upon. The results draw attention to how it is the different subject areas’ traditions, underlying principles of classification, which determine the type and number of assessments. The preliminary findings on the one hand indicate, much similar to previous studies, that there are a number of assessments that reinforce traditional notions of the ‘right’ practice in HPE. But on the other hand, there are also other forms of assessment, in particular in the social sciences, which have the potential to challenge the students’ understandings and to develop the students’ ability to adopt critical approaches. However, it is uncertain to what extent the students’ understandings are actually challenged particularly given their view of the teaching role, view of what competencies a HPE teachers need and beliefs about the content and structure of HPE. ReferencesBourdieu, Pierre (1990). The Logic of Practice. Cambridge: Polity Press Bourdieu, Pierre (1992). Texter om de intellektuella, Stockholm: Brutus Östlings bokförlag Brown, David (2005). An economy of gendered practices? Learning to teach physical education from the perspective of Pierre Bourdieu’s embodied sociology. Sport, Education and Society 10. Denzin, Norman K. & Lincoln, Yvonna S. (1998). Collecting and interpreting qualitative materials. London: Sage Publ.. Dowling, Fiona (2008). Getting in touch with our feelings: the emotional geographies of gender relations in Physical Education Teacher, Education.  Sport, Education & Society 3. Dowling, Fiona & Kårhus, Svein (2011). An analysis of the ideological work of the discourse of ‘fair play’ and moral education in perpetuating inequitable gender practices in PETE. Physical Education & Sport Pedagogy 2. Kirk, David, MacDonald, Doune & O’Sullivan, Mary (eds.) (2006). The Handbook of Physical Education. London: Sage Publications. Kirk, David (2010). Physical Education Futures. Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge. Larsson, Lena (2009). Idrott- och helst lite mer idrott. Idrottslärarsudenters möte med  utbildningen.  Diss. Stockholm university. [Sport – and preferably a little more sport. P. E.  students' encounter with the education.] MacDonald, Doune, Hunter, Lisa, Carlson, Teresa & Penney, Dawn (2002). Teacher Knowledge and the Disjunction between School Curricula and Teacher Education. Asia- Pasific Journal of Teacher Education 30. Matanin, Marcia & Collier, Connie (2003). Longitudinal Analysis of Preservice Teachers’ Beliefs About Teaching Physical Education. Journal of Teaching in Physical Education 22. Moen, Kjersti, M. (2011). “Shaking or stirring?” A case-study of physical education teacher education in Norway. Diss. Oslo: Norges idrettshøgskole. Rossi, Tony, Sirna, Karen & Tinning, Richard (2008). Becoming a health and physical education (HPE) teacher: Student teacher ‘Performances’ in the physical education subject department office. Teacher and Teaching Education 24. Tinning, Richard (2004). Rethinking the preparation of HPE teachers: ruminations on knowledge,  identity, and ways of thinking, Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, vol. 32, nr. 3. Tinning, Richard (2012). A socially critical HPE (aka physical education) and the challenge for teacher education. In: Barry Down and John Smyth (eds.) Critical voices in teacher education: teaching for social justice in conservative times. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015.
Keyword [en]
PETE, Bourdieu, doxa, transition
National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
Social Sciences, Sport Science; Pedagogics and Educational Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-50197OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-50197DiVA: diva2:909153
Conference
ECER 2015, European Conference on Educational Research, Budapest, September 7–11, 2015
Available from: 2016-03-04 Created: 2016-03-04 Last updated: 2016-08-19Bibliographically approved

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