From students to teachers : a longitudinal study of occupational socialisation of pre-service physical education teachers in Hong Kong
This study is concerned with a qualitative inquiry into how twenty pre-service physical education teachers, who were taking the full-time two-year teacher education programme, became occupationally socialised. The research was pursued along the theoretical lines derived from the interpretive approach. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews, student records in reflective journals and critical incident analysis over four sequential data collection phases. For analysis, pre-service teachers were categorised into five broad groups in accordance with their entry characteristics. Emergent and recurrent themes in terms of what is classified as teacher perspectives were traced: these included pre-training dispositions, orientations, professional conceptions, socialising strategies and sense of agency. The students were found to possess a spectrum of personality types and attitudinal dispositions including defining orientations toward sports coaching, apprehensiveness, teaching affinity, pragmatic considerations, and an easy going style with cognitive and behavioural tendencies ranging from custodial to progressive and from dominant utilitarian to non-dominant liberal respectively. Their professional conceptions of promoting learning for the pupils, bringing fun through games, controlling, maintaining discipline and seeing physical education as cathartic were revealed and submitted to in-depth analysis. The socialising strategies adopted for resolving the dissonance they experienced during the learning-to-teach process included improving their teaching skills, social adaptation and self-defensive mechanisms. While they all anticipated practical experiences to some extent, they attended to the pedagogical contents of the teacher education programme in diverse ways. Their perceptions were transformed to various degrees by the impact of socialising agents including their coaches, tutors, school supporting teachers, and the programme of activities and experiences engendered by the teacher education programme as an organic whole. The findings of the research should provide a better understanding of the development of pre-service physical education teachers in Hong Kong especially in relation to their anticipatory and professional socialisation. The results of the study are critically considered for their potential impact. Accordingly, clear implications are drawn to facilitate the socialisation processes of the pre-service PE teachers through the physical education teacher-training programme.