Variations in acculturation and Australian physical education teacher education students' receptiveness to an alternative pedagogical approach to games teaching

MOY, Brendan, RENSHAW, Ian and DAVIDS, Keith (2014). Variations in acculturation and Australian physical education teacher education students' receptiveness to an alternative pedagogical approach to games teaching. Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, 19 (4), 349-369.

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Background: The development of intelligent, thinking performers as a central theme in physical education curriculum documents worldwide has highlighted the need for an evolution of teaching styles from the dominant reproductive approach. This has prompted an Australian university to change the content and delivery of a games unit within their physical education teacher education (PETE) course and adopt a productive student-centred approach that is compatible with current curriculum directives. The significance of prospective physical educators' biographies on their receptiveness to this pedagogical innovation was studied.

Purpose: To investigate whether past school and sporting experiences are powerful influences on Australian PETE recruits' initial perspectives about effective physical education teaching practice and their receptiveness to an alternative pedagogical approach.

Participants and setting: A total of 49 first year pre-service PETE students volunteered to take part in the study and were grouped according to their highest level of representation in games, either school/club, regional, or state/national. Students experienced the constraints-led approach during an eight-week games unit informed by nonlinear pedagogy and underpinned by motor learning theory.

Data collection and Analysis: Prior to the commencement of the unit, participants completed a mixed response questionnaire aimed at gathering data about their physical education and sporting background. The data were summarised using descriptive statistics. Before and after taking part in the games unit, participants also completed a questionnaire, responding with their opinion of the importance of each sub-component of the traditional, reproductive style for an effective games teaching session. This resulted in a ‘traditional reproductive games teaching’ belief score. For each sub-component, participants were invited to respond in more detail to justify their opinions. A one-way between-groups analysis of variance, Tukey's HSD Post Hoc Test and a two-tailed, paired-samples t-test were used to analyse the quantitative data. Content analysis was used to analyse the qualitative data.

Findings: The traditional, reproductive approach was the most frequently reported teaching approach used by the physical education teachers and sports coaches of participants in all groups. Prior to the commencement of the alternative games unit, participants in each representative level group held very strong beliefs in this reproductive approach, responding that an effective games teaching session should consist of a visual demonstration of the ‘ideal’ performance model, repetitive practice of the model using isolated drills with corrective feedback by the teacher, before the playing of the actual game. After experiencing the alternative games unit, there were statistically significant differences in the traditional reproductive games teaching belief mean scores for each group. This combined with participants' qualitative responses indicated receptiveness to the alternative pedagogy.

Conclusions: The results of this present study show that, contrary to the mixed success found in previous research undertaken in North America, in Australia, we found strong evidence to show that it is possible for PETE educators to change beliefs in order to overcome the constraint of acculturation. Participation in the alternative games unit provided PETE students with the knowledge, understanding and belief in an alternative approach to teaching games compatible with curriculum documents.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Received: 29 Feb 2012 Accepted: 21 Jan 2013 Published online: 21 Mar 2013
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Centre for Sports Engineering Research
Identification Number:
Page Range: 349-369
Depositing User: Carole Harris
Date Deposited: 11 Dec 2013 15:43
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 19:30

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