The work of award -winning elementary physical education teachers: A multiple case study
Physical inactivity threatens our health and quality of life, and physical education in the school is considered a means for increasing lifetime physical activity. Paramount to a quality physical education program is the physical education teacher. This multiple case study of three award-winning elementary physical education teachers expands our knowledge of who these people are; how they establish and sustain physical education in their schools; and who supports them and how they gain this support.
Two days of observation followed by semi-structured interviews with the physical educators, building principals, and selected classroom teachers provide descriptive data. Documentation related to the community, district, school and physical education program add support. Key themes emerge from coded transcriptions of interviews and observation notes.
Key findings indicate these specialists are passionate about students, teaching physical education, physical activity, and sport. They implement a locally developed curriculum with a variety of activities, focused on skill development. Sound student-focused pedagogical practices emphasize the psychomotor, cognitive and affective domains. Fitness is important; the method of inclusion aligns with teacher beliefs and differences exist on the place of competition in elementary physical education. These award-winning elementary physical education teachers establish a school-wide presence, make contributions to the school, and gain support from administration, teachers and parents. With the low funding status of education and the emphasis on academic performance these teachers understand the importance of advocacy in physical education and value reciprocal support. These award-winning elementary physical education teachers exemplify characteristics of accomplished practitioners. The rich description and key findings have implications for practicing teachers, teacher educators, and pre-service students.