Five Trends in Physical Education Teacher Education

August, 2020

Source: Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance, 91:6, 16-20

(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

In this article the authors present five trends that are impacting physical education teacher education (PETE) that are positives rather than encumbrances in the education of preservice teachers.
In some cases these are policy driven, in some cases they are trends from our peers in other subject areas that PETE faculty are using to improve both their knowledge and their programs, and in some cases they are both policy and practice.
The trends are:
(1) practice-based teacher education, which is being used to refine the knowledge base for teacher education;
(2) core teaching practices, which are being used to define the teaching practices for lifelong teaching and learning;
(3) pedagogies of practice that allow practice-based teacher education and core practices to be operationalized in methods classes and field experiences;
(4) a focus on reconnecting health and physical education with the goal of creating a more coherent approach to education outcomes of each subject area; and
(5) the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child model, the first model that integrates all subject matters in service of students (Centers for Disease Control, 2019).

Practice-Based Teacher Education
Practice-based teacher education is a reform movement in teacher education, in the United States and globally, that is grounded in the position that teacher education needs to increase its application of knowledge and use of deliberate practice, reflection and teacher decision-making (Forzani, 2014: McDonald et al., 2013).
In practice-based teacher education there is a focus on teaching transferable knowledge and skills that prospective teachers must acquire in their teacher training.
Transferable in the sense that their usage in and across contexts during their teacher preparation, and then as practicing teachers, function to help them learn from their practice.
Central features of a practiced-based teacher education approach include:
(1) a connection between theory and practice, rather than discrete and disconnected learning about teaching; and
(2) a consideration of what preservice teachers need to know to teach in P–12 settings, as opposed to teacher education content that is less valuable for teachers to do their job.

Core Teaching Practices
A second trend impacting PETE is the use of core teaching practices to define the essential knowledge that preservice teachers need for the act of teaching.
This is different essential content knowledge in teacher education that reflects professional and disciplinary knowledge.
Core practices are the core task domains of teaching such as organizing and representing content or designing, then teaching lessons to meet an objective (Ball & Forzani, 2009).
Grossman, Hammerness and McDonald (2009, p, 277) used six defining criteria to select core practices:
(a) Practices that occur with high frequency in teaching,
(b) practices that novices can enact in classrooms across different curricula or instructional approaches,
(c) Practices that novices can actually begin to master,
(d) Practices that allow novices to learn more about students and about teaching,
(e) practices that preserve the integrity and complexity of teaching, and
(f) Practices that are research-based and have the potential to improve student achievement.
At present, PETE is not using core practices widely, and this places the field out of sync with contemporary teacher education as it is being conducted in the United States and with the direction of educational policy.

Pedagogies of Practice in Teacher Education
Tied to both the practice-based teacher education movement and the use of core practices are the pedagogies of teaching rehearsal and repeated teaching (Lampert, 2010).
Teaching rehearsal is a pedagogy where preservice teachers practice teaching a group of peers as a specific rehearsal for a lesson they will be teaching or could be likely to teach.
This is not the same as peer teaching a pedagogical skill such as demonstration or lesson closure.
First, it involves teaching for a specific context defined by space, equipment, time, and the prior knowledge and abilities of students.
The goal is to approximate a teaching setting as closely as possible.
Second, it involves not a discrete skill (e.g., providing a demonstration), but a focus on a core practice or practices, or a cluster of elements (e.g., student entry, warm-up, and initial task or gathering, instructions demonstration and transition to practice), and doing so as segment of a lesson (e.g., the first third or half of the a lesson) or as a whole lesson.
Learning teaching by rehearsal and repeated teaching is fundamentally different than current methods even though they may be similar in form.
They are defined by deliberate practice and reflection of multiple efforts to teach the same lesson with the goal of refining and improving teaching and learning.
Deliberate practice refers to a precise purpose on the use of a core practice.
The focus is as much on the decisions the teacher makes as much as on the act of teaching.
Reflection refers to a close analysis of teaching episode.

Reconnecting Health Education with Physical Education
In the United States, and globally, there is increased attention on reconnecting health and physical education together as connected subject matters.
Australia, as an example, has a new curriculum that fully integrates health and physical education into one curriculum (Macdonald, Enright, & McCuiag, 2018).
Some states such as Michigan have legislated for a single health and physical education P–12 degree with no other options for licensure (Michigan Department of Education, 2018).
The advantages of integrating health and physical education for teachers include:
(1) having teachers educated in health and physical education allows them to appreciate, integrate the two subjects, and advocate for the broader picture of wellness; and
(2) providing teachers with a second certification area, which strengthens their value to school administrators because, from a local policy perspective, many districts look for candidates with dual licenses in health and physical education.
For physical education majors the combination of health and physical education represents an efficient way to learn and experience health and physical education leading to better understanding and decision making (Cardina & James, 2018; Macdonald et al., 2018).

The Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child Model
In 2014 the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) and the CDC developed and introduced the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC, CDC, 2019) model.
This collaboration represents one of the few times general education and health/physical education have significantly integrated in ways that put the child first.
The model is grounded in five tenets (CDC, 2019):
• Each student enters school healthy, learns about, and practices a healthy lifestyle.
• Each student learns in an environment that is physically and emotionally safe for students and adults.
• Each student is actively engaged in learning and is connected to the school and broader community.
• Each student has access to personalized learning and is supported by qualified, caring adults.
• Each student is challenged academically and prepared for success in college or further study and for employment and participation in a global environment.
The WSCC model focuses the efforts of schools and communities on supporting the development of a whole child outcome described as “one who is knowledgeable, healthy, motivated and engaged” (CDC, 2019).

Ball, D., & Forzani, F. (2009). The work of teaching and the challenge for teacher education. Journal of Teacher Education, 60, 497–511.
Cardina, C., & James, A. R. (2018). Healthy behaviors: The role of health education and physical education. Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance, 89(9), 9–11.
Centers for Disease Control. (2019). Whole School, Whole Community and Whole Child. Retrieved from index.htm
Forzani, F. (2014). Understanding “core practices” and “practice-based” teacher education: Learning from the past. Journal of Teacher Education, 65, 357–368.
Grossman, P., Hammerness, K., & McDonald, M. (2009). Redefining teaching, reimagining teacher education. Teachers and Teaching, 15, 273–289
Lampert, M. (2010). Learning teaching in, from, and for practice: What do we mean?Journal of Teacher Education, 61, 21–34.
Macdonald, D., Enright, E., & McCuaig, L. (2018). Re-visioning the Australian curriculum for health and physical education. In H. A. Lawson (Ed.), Redesigning physical education: An equity agenda in which every child matters (pp. 196–209). London, UK: Routledge.
McDonald, M., Kazemi, E., & Kavanagh, S. S. (2013). Core practices and pedagogies of teacher education: A call for a common language and collective activity. Journal of Teacher Education, 64, 378–386.
Michigan Department of Education. (2018). Presentation of teacher preparation requirements: Clinical experiences and core practices.

Updated: Aug. 29, 2020


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