An examination of knowledge prioritisation in secondary physical education teacher education courses

From Section:
Trends in Teacher Education
Feb. 17, 2008

Source: Teaching and Teacher Education, Volume 24, Issue 2, February 2008, Pages 330-342


A number of terms have been used to describe knowledge needed for teaching, one of which is subject knowledge. How knowledge for teaching is conceptualised in teacher education prioritises some knowledge bases over other knowledge bases. Further, knowledge prioritised by student teachers is influenced by socialisation prior to and during an initial teacher education course and priorities for student teachers as they develop as teachers. Previous research in physical education teacher education points to the pre-eminence of content knowledge above other knowledge bases.

The purpose of this study was to look at what knowledge is prioritised by student teachers, school-based mentors and university tutors working on three secondary physical education initial teacher education courses in England. Results showed that content knowledge was seen as having greater importance for student teachers and mentors, but university tutors generally conceptualised subject knowledge more broadly, suggesting that it should be seen as covering a number of knowledge bases needed for teaching. These results are discussed in relation to socialisation processes in education and phases of development. Although there is a clear physical education focus to this work, it is possible that student teachers learning to teach other subjects may also focus excessively on subject content knowledge above other knowledge bases.

Updated: Jan. 17, 2017
Content | Knowledge | Physical education | Secondary schools | Student teachers