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Title: Learning to teach physical education in primary schools : the influence of dispositions and external structures on practice
Author: Pickup, Ian
ISNI:       0000 0004 2723 6160
Awarding Body: University of Roehampton
Current Institution: University of Roehampton
Date of Award: 2012
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This research explores the process of becoming a teacher of primary physical education (PE) within an English University based Initial Teacher Training context. Despite the introduction of a National Physical Education and school sport subject strategy in 2003, academics and professionals in the UK and elsewhere have continued to suggest that primary PE is highly problematic, echoing the views of others expressed consistently over four decades. There have been regular calls for a significant increase in the time allocated to the subject within the structure of primary ITT and some have suggested that primary PE is best taught by ‘specialists’ as many class teachers feel most comfortable delegating this task to others. However, although some researchers have suggested that trainee primary teachers are more or less disposed towards the teaching of PE, little is known regarding the dual role of dispositional and structural factors, or the way in which they combine to result in particular primary PE practices. Data were collected over a three year period (2004-2007). The research was conducted within a university provider of primary ITT in the South of England and focused on trainees following a three year undergraduate degree route to Qualified Teacher Status. In Stage 1, an initial quantitative scale was administered to a large cohort of trainee primary teachers at the outset of their course. This was followed by a series of semi-structured interviews with a smaller sample of trainees. Qualitative data generated through semi structured interviews were analysed using Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis as an organisational framework, creating descriptive coding and the presentation of organisational themes. This analytic process led to the development of a model to represent the relationship between structures, disposition and practice in primary PEITT. The outer dial of this model represents a typology of trainees in primary PEITT, which is the outcome of combined influences of structures and disposition. Four recommendations for practice are made, including the need to develop the structures of primary PE ITT with differentiated learning opportunities and to provide more effectively mentored practice in school settings. Whilst those trainees with a very negative disposition towards PE may be best advised to avoid teaching the subject altogether, the greatest potential for improving primary PE lies in the development of those trainees with an initially ambivalent attitude to the subject. This majority of trainees in the middle ground of the proposed typology may hold the key for long term improvements in the subject should ITT providers be able to respond to the identified learning needs. The findings of this research are particularly pertinent in light of current government plans to increase school based responsibilities within ITT.
Supervisor: Shaughnessy, Julie Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Teaching ; Primary schools ; physical education