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The construction of practical knowledge by physical education preservice teachers during the practicum… Partridge, David 1998

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T H E CONSTRUCTION OF P R A C T I C A L K N O W L E D G E BY PHYSICAL EDUCATION PRESERVICE T E A C H E R S DURING T H E P R A C T I C U M EXPERIENCE by David Partridge B.Ed (Hons), Leeds Polytechnic, 1984 M.P.E., University of British Columbia, 1989 A Thesis Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in The Faculty of Graduate Studies Department of Curriculum and Instruction We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH C O L U M B I A February, 1998 © David Partridge, 1998 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department of C A P vnr*NX^Jo^y>s. -f- | v\ -KTY^JO^G^-The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada DE-6 (2/88) Abstract Using a qualitative case study approach, the purpose of the study was to explore the nature of the practical knowledge about teaching constructed by physical education preservice teachers during their practicum experience, that is, to gain insights into the 'sense making' process in which preservice teachers engage as they learn to teach during this experience. In addition, the study examined the factors which enhance or constrain this constructive process. The data analysis was guided by two research questions: What is the nature of the practical knowledge about teaching constructed by physical education preservice teachers during their practicum experience?; and what factors influence (enhance or constrain) the development of this knowledge during the practicum experience? The study was situated within the everyday experiences of four physical education preservice teachers as they completed an extended (thirteen week) practicum in secondary school settings. The methods used to collect data were those associated with qualitative case studies. They included lesson observations, in-depth interviewing, video and stimulated recall sessions of lessons taught by the participants, and journal writing. Separate cases have been written for each of the four participants, while the final chapter discusses the substantive issues that have arisen from the study. There were a number of conclusions that emerged from the study. With regards to the nature of practical knowledge constructed by preservice teachers the findings include its thematic development, the dynamic transformation of 'knowing that' into 'knowing how', how practical knowledge was evident but rarely heard in the practice of preservice teachers, and the role of each participant's image of himself or herself as a physical educator. A number of factors were identified that enhanced or constrained this process. These factors include prior coaching experiences, the role of sponsor teachers, the impact of university faculty advisors, video and stimulated recall sessions, and the teaching of a second subject by each participant. The study concludes by outlining a number of implications for teacher education. First, it suggests that during their teacher education program preservice teachers need to be taught how to learn from experience and that sponsor teachers have a key role to play in this process. Second, that biography has a significant impact in directing what and how preservice teachers learn about teaching during a practicum and that preservice teachers must be encouraged to examine and look beyond their own experiences when learning how to teach. J Abstract i i Table of Contents i i i Acknowledgments vi CHAPTER - INTRODUCTION 1 I. The Problem Area 1 Teacher Education and Teacher Knowledge 1 Defining the PhraseJLearning to Teach' 4 "Practical Knowledge in the Practicum Setting 7 II. The Study 9 Purpose of the Study 10 Research Questions 10 Contribution of the Study 11 Research Methods 12 III. Organization of the Thesis 14 CHAPTER 2 - KNOWLEDGE ABOUT TEACHING: COMPETING CONCEPTIONS 15 I. "Traditional" Views of Knowledge About Teaching 17 II. The "Science" of Teacher Education 20 III. An Alternate Conception of Teaching 23 IV. The Role of "Practical" Knowledge in Teaching 26 V . Research in Teaching Physical Education 31 VI. The Socialization Perspective in PETE Research 34 VII. Research on Teaching Physical Education: Where Next? 39 CHAPTER 3 - RESEARCH METHOD 43 I. Research Method 43 A Case Study Approach 43 Characteristics of the Case Study Method 45 The Participants 45 Context of the Teacher Education Program 46 My Role as Researcher within the Practicum 48 II. Methods of Data Collection 49 Phase One - Pre-practicum Interview 50 Phase Two - Practicum Data Collection 50 Interviews 50 Participant Journals 51 Lesson Observations 51 i i i Video and Stimulated Recall Sessions 52 Phase Three - Post-practicum Interview 52 III. Data Analysis 53 Data Analysis Procedures 54 Member Checks 55 Generalizing from Case Study Research 55 Case Writing 57 CHAPTER 4 - THE CASE OF KATE 60 I. Introduction 60 Introducing Kate 60 II. Analysis of the Case 65 1. Recognizing How Content Affects Practice 65 Taking Risks in Teaching Gymnastics 66 Track and Field Athletics- Going With What Works 73 2. Seeing Patterns in School Life 78 3. Contrasting Contexts: My Sponsor's Style and Teaching English 82 III. Case Summary 85 CHAPTER 5 - THE CASE OF JOHN 88 - I. Introduction 88 Introducing John 89 John's Beliefs about Teaching Physical Education 90 II. Case Analysis 98 1. Seeing Myself The Teacher 98 2. Drawing the Line 104 3. Making Content Understandable 111 III. Case Summary 114 CHAPTER 6 - THE CASE OF TREVOR 117 I. Introduction 117 Introducing Trevor 117 Briefly About this Case 121 II. Case Analysis 124 1. Making Choices 124 2. Playing the Game 133 3. Becoming Pedagogically Thoughtful 136 III. Case Summary 143 i v CHAPTER 7 - THE CASE OF MARY 145 I. Introduction 145 Introducing Mary 145 II. Case Analysis 153 1. Going It Alone 155 2. "Teaching is Just Something You Do" 158 3. Breaking Down Skills 163 III. Case Summary 167 CHAPTER 8 - CONCLUSIONS, DISCUSSION, and FUTURE RESEARCH 170 I. Review of the Study 170 II. Conclusions Emerging from the Research Questions 173 Research Question One: 173 1. Thematic Development of Practical Knowledge 173 2. The Knowing 'That' and Knowing 'How' Dynamic 176 3. Practical Knowledge: Evident but Rarely Heard 178 4. Personal Images lead to Practical Knowledge 180 Research Question Two: 182 1. Prior Coaching Experiences 182 2. Impact of Sponsor Teachers 185 .3. University Faculty Advisors: Evaluators or Educators? 186 4. Using Video of Teaching Performance 187 5. Second Teaching Subject Contrasts 188 III. Discussion of the Implications for Practice 189 1. Metacognitive Ignorance: Learning How to Learn from Experience? 189 2. Exploring Biography in Learning to Teach 192 IV. Future Research 194 REFERENCES 196 V Acknowledgments First I wish to acknowledge the support of my research supervisor Gaalen Erickson. Your advice and guidance has been invaluable in helping me to complete this work. The professional example you set in working with graduate students and developing for them a sense of value and importance in their work has left a strong impression for me. A sincere thanks to you for all your encouragement. To my other committee members Alex Carre, Billie Housego and Steve Smith, in particular your patience and willingness to support me to the finish were a huge factors in the thesis being completed. I am extremely grateful. To Tony Clarke, a mentor, motivator, friend. You have continually read, re-read, pushed, prodded, encouraged and inspired me to complete this dissertation. You will never know how much you did to support me. You have my sincere thanks and a lifetime supply of chocolate biscuits! A special thanks go to the preservice teachers who participated in the study and allowed me to pester them during their practicum. Their openness allowed me to complete the study and to learn a great deal about the experience of being a preservice teacher. Finally, to my own family (Gillian and Emma) who have put up with so much. I hope you will now be able to live with a regular human being again and that mood swings are a thing of the past. Your love and support is the only reason this work has been completed -I owe you both. VI C H A P T E R 1 INTRODUCTION I. The Problem Area Teacher Education and Teacher Knowledge Since the inception of formal programs for the preparation of teachers considerable debate has taken place over what knowledge preservice teachers should acquire during a teacher education program1. In general, those trying to resolve this issue have approached it from one of two broad theoretical positions (Fenstermacher, 1994). First, there exists a tradition of researchers who have attempted to isolate what preservice teachers need to know by conducting research on teachers (see Dunkin, 1987; Reynolds, 1989; Wittrock, 1986). Their focus is on trying to identify the specific techniques that 'effective' teachers use to guide their actions, and they consider any findings to be generalizable across populations and contexts. Important and valuable knowledge about teaching is defined as that which can be observed, measured, and transferred directly to different sites for use by teachers and, according to Fenstermacher, "it is from this perspective we have built the much-vaunted knowledge base for teaching" (p. 4). Ultimately, it was believed this research enterprise would produce a comprehensive and scientific body of knowledge about teaching practices which could be incorporated directly and without difficulty into teacher education programs. Thus, during the practicum component of a teacher education program the role of preservice teachers would be to model, as best they could, these techniques of effective teaching within then-own practice. Learning to teach, therefore, is treated as a "largely unproblematic process that occurs within [preservice] teachers as they absorb information, emulate models, and extract lessons from practice" (Doyle, 1990b, p. 9). While this research genre did provide a range of valuable information, particularly in 1. Throughout the thesis the term "teacher education" refers to the formal period of teacher preparation which takes place at a tertiary institution. The term "preservice teacher" will be used in reference to a student teacher undertaking a period of teacher preparation. The "practicum" is the extended period' of student teaching which forms a component of a teacher education program. 1 relation to the technical know how of teaching, many substantive issues remained unanswered (Clarke, 1990). Subsequently, the adoption of this model of teaching as merely technical prowess has been increasingly challenged. Many researchers have shifted their attention from a preoccupation with behavior and with what teachers need to do, to a concern with what teachers actually know and how that knowledge is acquired through classroom experience (Carter, 1990). Thus, "although traditions of technical rationality have persisted in the literature, there is now widespread acceptance that teachers' practical knowledge - the knowledge which guides their professional practice -is much more than merely an accumulation of propositional facts" (Johnston, 1992, p. 123). This belief is echoed by Hargreaves (1990) who comments that "teachers are not just bundles of skill, competence and technique, that are creators of meaning, [and] interpreters of the world" (p. 216). Building upon this acceptance researchers have questioned previously accepted notions of 'what counts' as knowledge in teaching. According to Fenstermacher (1994), they have turned their attention away from conducting research on teachers or searching for observable outcomes, and towards exploring the professional knowledge that teachers generate for themselves. For example, the terms they use to refer to these everyday knowledge forms include "practical knowledge" (Beijaard and Veloop, 1996; Elbaz, 1983, 1991; Johnson, 1994; Francis, 1995), "personal practical knowledge" (Connelly, Clandinin and Fang He, 1997; Magliaro, Niles, Wildman, Niles, Erhmantraut and Miller, 1995; Webb, 1995) "situated knowledge" (Leindhardt, 1988) "working knowledge" (Yinger, Hendricks-Lee and Johnston (1991) and "craft knowledge" (Grirnmett & Mackinnon, 1992; Leindhardt, 1990). According to Webb (1995) recent research on ways of knowing such as narrative knowing (Bruner, 1990), embodied knowing (Johnson, 1989), and relational knowing (Hollingsworth, Dybdahl and Minarik, 1993) has further helped us to understand and validate these emergent knowledge concepts. One interesting feature of this alternate research orientation is its acceptance that teachers are themselves capable of inquiring into or conducting research on their practice (Kincheloe, 1991). The research program of Marilyn Cochran-Smith and Susan Lytle (1990, 1993) is one that clearly establishes teachers as researchers, and their work leaves little doubt that teachers have a central role as generators of knowledge. They call their 2 program "teacher research" and define it as "systematic, intentional inquiry by teachers" (Cochran-Smith and Lytle, 1993, p. 5). As the authors suggest, "the question is not whether we need a knowledge base for teaching but rather what kind of knowledge base is needed, who constructs it, and what roles teachers play in its formulation" (p. 88). In summary, investigators, armed with new conceptual and methodological tools from cognitive science and interpretive research, have started to re-examine the nature of teachers' knowledge which is practical in more than just a technical or managerial sense. In doing so they have begun to reconceptualize teaching in a way that recognizes the practical knowledge teachers draw upon as they encounter the "complex, unstable, uncertain and conflictual world of practice" (Schon, 1987, p. 12). They appreciate how knowledge can be built from personal and professional experience, and that it is used in complex ways during the planning and execution of teaching activities (Johnston, 1992). Indeed, the initial results of this research suggest valuable knowledge about teaching is interpretive and "situated" (Shulman, 1988), a form of knowledge in action defined in large part by the context in which it is put to use. - Given this emergent and contrasting view of teacher knowledge, one of the important tasks confronting teacher educators, therefore, is exploring ways of assisting preservice teachers to "develop, understand, articulate, and utilize this practical [craft, situational and personal] knowledge" (Johnson, 1992, p. 125). At the same time some caution must be exercised in expecting these results to be unproblematically generalized across populations and contexts. This may be particularly true in making generalizations from research conducted in classroom based subject areas too, for example, physical education, which is the context in which teacher knowledge is explored in this study. There may, for example, be program features and educational goals which undergird a secondary school physical education program which are particular to the construction of a teacher's practical knowledge in this subject area. Thus, the practical knowledge which physical education teachers use to guide their practice and the types of problems they confront on a daily basis, may be qualitatively different from those encountered by other classroom based subject teachers. As Graham (1991) notes, "the uniqueness of the content and goals of physical education might render some findings [from classroom based studies] inappropriate" (p. 15) for direct application to this subject area. My own experiences as a 3 secondary school physical education teacher lead me to believe that the team teaching and collegial planning that takes place among physical education teachers on a regular basis, may well be one of the distinguishing features of teaching this subject. This, accompanied with students' expectations about the subject and the ways in which they interact with teachers, may result in those who are learning to teach physical education constructing distinct knowledge about teaching and learning in a non-classroom based subject area. This study begins to explore the practical knowledge about teaching physical education which preservice teachers construct during their practicum experience. It examines the practicum component of a teacher education program from the perspective of preservice teachers who are actively engaged in the process of learning to teach. Specifically it focuses on their attempts to 'make sense' of their developing practice during an extended practicum experience. In addition, the study also investigates some of the factors that enhance or constrain this constructive process during the practicum. Before, however,_providing a brief description of the study itself and the research method that was employed, there is a need to position this study within the broader context of the learning to teach literature, and to present a definition of the term "practical knowledge" as it applies within this research. Defining the Phrase 'Learning to Teach' The question of how preservice teachers learn to teach is central to the enterprise of teacher education. Wideen, Mayer-Smith and Moon (1993) warn us, however, that in general, the concept of 'learning to teach' has been poorly understood and it has only recently been the topic of systematic study by educational researchers. Indeed, Carter (1990) states that "although the phrase learning to teach' rolls easily off the tongue, research in this field has, to date, been largely unproductive" (p. 219). As a result, despite growing amounts of empirical research undertaken in this area, we "know remarkably little about the evolution of teaching skill" (Kagan, 1992, p. 129). One of the reasons for this apparent lack of progress in trying to understand this learning process, lies in the inconsistent way in which the phrase 'learning to teach' has been employed. For example, it has been used with reference to several different parts or 4 phases of a formal teacher education program. This covers a period which stretches from prior entry into a teacher education program, through the formal period of teacher preparation itself, and into the induction phase of a teacher's career. It subsumes, therefore, amongst other research studies, those focusing on preservice teachers' prior socialization into teaching, the role of formal teacher education coursework in developing a teacher's knowledge, and the impact of practicum experiences in changing a preservice teachers knowledge and understanding of their practice and role in schools. It also extends beyond these formal periods of teacher preparation to include studies of beginning teachers newly inducted into the profession and issues of professional development for more experienced teachers. As Carter (1990) points out, because of the large range of studies that fall under the umbrella term of 'learning to teach', a study focused on the effects of field experiences or student teaching on occupational perspectives and one directed to changes in personal concerns during preservice teacher education are both considered to be about learning to teach, even though the results are not comparable (p. 291). " The boundaries of this problem have been clouded still further by fresh but important research which has started to explore the character and substance of teachers' knowledge. It is evident, according to Shulman (1987), that "practitioners simply know a great deal that they have never even tried to articulate. A major portion of the research agenda for the next decade will be to collect, collate and interpret the practical knowledge of teachers" (p. 12). As a result, the 'Knowledge Growth in Teaching' research program at Stanford University has sought to identify several categories of knowledge that all prospective teachers need to be familiar with as they learn to teach their respective subjects. While several of the categories Shulman identified are frequently discussed as though they contain a set of principles derived from research that could dictate practice, one category, pedagogical content knowledge, appears to be epistemologically different. Shulman (1987) describes it as a teachers' "own special form of professional understanding" that allows them to help students better understand the content they are teaching. It is derived from a considered response to experience in the practice setting and is "formed over time in the minds of teachers through reflection" (Grimmett & MacKinnon, 1992). 5 By examining the process of learning to teach through the lens of the subject matter being taught, Shulman and his colleagues have provided yet another slant on interpreting the phrase 'learning to teach'. They have moved issues of cognition and context to the forefront for those researchers trying to grapple with understanding how teachers learn to teach their respective subjects. The present study certainly builds upon this latest branch of the learning to teach literature. It explores the knowledge that is constructed by physical education preservice teachers during an extended practicum experience. During the practicum preservice teachers are likely to encounter a series of events which will support or challenge their understanding about the nature of teaching and learning in physical education. The study focuses specifically on their efforts to 'make sense' of these events and form a plan of action based on their growing understanding of their, practice as physical educators. For example, in trying to make sense of these events a preservice teacher may draw upon a variety of factors. These could include, among others, their own beliefs about the teaching and learning of physical education, the views of their school sponsor teacher and university faculty advisor, and the characteristics of the context in which they are working (e.g., school curriculum, students and content being taught). According to this study, it is at the interface of these multiple and sometimes competing factors that a preservice teacher is directly engaged in both the process of learning to teach, and in the construction of practical knowledge about teaching. The significance of the practicum experience in this process cannot be overstated. It is only in the immediacy of the action setting that an individual can actively participate in 'making sense' of the constant interplay among these factors, and that they are able to construct practical knowledge about teaching. From this perspective the practicum is an event during which preservice teachers may be able to construct educational theory and knowledge. It is not merely a site for the application of academic or "received knowledge" (Rovegno, 1992a). r In conclusion, the learning to teach literature provides a foundation and general area in which to locate the present study. This study does, however, focus on only one aspect of this process, namely the practicum experience. Further, it does so from the perspective of the preservice teachers actively engaged in this process and their efforts to understand the subject matter they have to teach. The study does not examine the impact of the coursework component of the teacher education program, or how an individual's prior beliefs and experiences may influence their practice. Both, however, may be factors that impact upon the construction of practical knowledge about teaching physical education and would contribute to a larger discussion of the issues and implication presented in this paper. Having defined what is meant by the phrase 'learning to teach' as it applies to this study and situated the present study within the growing literature which falls underneath this umbrella term, I will now define the term "practical knowledge" as it is used in this study. "Practical" Knowledge in the Practicum Setting Practical knowledge determines or guides teachers' actions in practice (Beijaard and Verloop, 1996). It is knowledge that is acquired by 'doing' Johnston (1992) also tells us that this knowledge, which is built from personal and professional experience, is used in complex ways during the processes of planning for and executing teaching activities as well as making sense of decisions already made. Much practical knowledge also has a tacit dimension or quality and cannot be put into propositional statements to guide practice (Harnet and Naish, 1976). According to these authors, then, practical knowledge is knowledge about how to carry out various activities, it may be learned most readily by doing these activities, and it cannot be formulated in maxims, rules or propositional statements. For the purposes of this study the following definition of practical knowledge will be used: ... it refers to the knowledge teachers have of classroom [or gymnasium] situations and the practical dilemmas they face in carrying out purposeful action in these settings (Carter, 1990, p. 299). Further, an important feature of this knowledge is that it is embedded within and emerges from an individual's direct interaction with the action setting. The knowledge appears to be immediately applicable to an individual's practice, gives shape to their practice, and is directed towards the solution of particular problems being confronted in that practice setting. Given the contextual and action oriented nature of this knowledge, for preservice teachers the practicum experience has a key role in its construction. As Yinger (1987) notes, the practicum has the potential to be "a powerful learning context because it puts the learner in contact with an array of knowledge not available second hand" (p. 297). In support of this position many preservice teachers believe the practicum is the principal and perhaps only 'real' learning experience of their teacher education program (Amarel & Feiman-Nemser, 1988). Geddis and Roberts (1996) state that student teachers continue to report that they learn more about teaching in their practicum than in their professional preparation courses. These novice teachers, however, probably also subscribe to a relatively linear relationship between the amount of time spent in school during a practicum experience and the process of learning to teach. Reduced to its simplest form, they believe the more teaching experience they gain in schools, the more they will learn about teaching. As - Britzman (1991) concludes, lamentably this supports the myth of experience making the teacher, and it "valorizes student teaching as the authentic moment in teacher education and the real ground of knowledge production" (p. 7). Therefore, the practicum is one of several critical junctures that contribute to the professional development of beginning teachers. While there is ample evidence that the practicum is a significant occasion for acquiring new knowledge, skills and dispositions about teaching, it is equally apparent that teacher educators and researchers are less than clear about how this learning takes place and the types of environments that are most conducive to learning to teach. This is partially reflected in the large number of studies which have sought to examine the role and impact of the practicum in the professional development of preservice teachers (see Guyton and Mclntyre, 1990; Knowles and Cole, 1994; Zeichner, 1990). A general failure of many studies, particularly those prior to the last decade, has been that they have not attended to the complex and dynamic "ecology of student teaching" (Zeichner, 1985). They have not "examined what takes place during the experience itself - how professional 8 life is interpreted and acted upon as [preservice] students participate in its ongoing affairs" (Zeichner, Tabachnick & Densmore, 1987, p. 27). In a review of research on student teaching, Guy ton and Mclntyre (1990) highlight the need for naturalistic studies in this area, studies which acknowledge the meaning which actors individually bring into and take from the experience. As Johnson (1994) notes, Student teachers are in a unique situation - attempting to fulfill the dual roles of student and teacher simultaneously. They, therefore, deserve to be studied in their own right, not from the perspective of students nor from that of teachers, but as individuals struggling with the unique dilemmas which this dual role of student teaching brings (p. 75). In summary, it would appear there is still considerable room to explore the dynamic nature of the practicum as the context for the construction of practical knowledge and understanding about teaching, particularly in the area of physical education. This study begins to address this gap by examining the experiences of four physical education preservice teachers as they are actually engaged in their extended practicum. II. The Study This study focuses on a specific context, namely the extended practicum experience of four secondary level physical education preservice teachers. It examines the nature of the practical knowledge they construct during this experience as well as the factors which impact upon this constructive process. From this perspective the preservice teachers are viewed as possessors and creators of knowledge. It should be clearly understood, however, that the study does not seek to describe all facets of practical knowledge which might be present in an individual's practice. Rather, it explores more closely each preservice teacher's attempts to 'make sense' of their practice as a physical educator within the immediacy of the action setting of a practicum experience. The following outline of the study is presented in five sections: purpose of the study, research questions, contribution of the study, research method and finally the data analysis procedures. 9 Purpose of the Study The purpose of the study is to examine the nature of the practical knowledge about teaching which physical education preservice teachers construct during their practicum experience, and to identify some of the factors which enhance or constrain its development. The study is grounded in the notion that preservice teachers are active participants in their own professional development and that they play an important role in the construction or invention of valuable knowledge about teaching. This approach is best summarized by Doyle (1990a) who notes, ... this invention involves an interaction of past knowledge with the experience of the moment. This constructive perspective emphasizes the importance of direct experience and the gradual accumulation of knowledge structures from reflection on that experience over time (p. 17). Further, this perspective emphasizes the extent to which knowledge used in teaching is dependent upon an individual teacher's comprehension and interpretation of his or her practice. Within this perspective it becomes particularly important for teacher educators : to understand how preservice teachers come to know and navigate their way through the action setting. This conception is similar to the one developed by Fenstermacher (1986). His central argument is that teachers use information about teaching to activate their own deliberations about events in their classrooms and to modify the practical reasoning that underlies their actions. As Doyle (1990a) points out: the lesson is that all learning is constructive, even the learning of academic skills, subject matter, pedagogy, and classrooms. The issue for teacher education is fundamentally curricular: how to represent knowledge about teaching in ways that enable teachers to come to their own understanding of what it means (p. 18). Research Questions In order to examine the practicum as an opportunity for preservice teachers to learn to teach, the study will focus on two issues: first, the nature of the learning which takes place, that is, what practical knowledge do preservice teachers construct about teaching physical education; second, the factors that enhance or constrain that learning. Thus, the 10 research questions are: 1) What is the nature of the practical knowledge about teaching constructed by physical education preservice teachers during their practicum experience? 2) What factors influence (enhance or constrain) the development of this knowledge during the practicum experience? Contribution of the Study An understanding of the kinds of practical knowledge that preservice teachers construct and use within their practicum experience may be important in a number of ways. First, it will assist in helping to produce new conceptualizations of the practicum as an opportunity to learn to teach. Presently, having preservice teachers gain experience in schools has been accepted almost without question as a universally important part of teacher education. Russell (1991) states, however, while "we know those learning to teach must have experience in schools, we have no shared conceptualization of how that experience contributes to learning to teach" (p. 9). Therefore, there appears to be an -urgent need to conceptualize more adequately how these experiences contribute to the learning that takes place for preservice teachers. Second, the study will inform and enrich our current understanding of what and how preservice teachers learn about teaching physical education during the practicum experience. By exploring the day-to-day conduct of the practicum it is believed insights will be gained into the ways in which specific features of the practicum experience influence particular kinds of learning for preservice teachers. As Goodman (1988) notes, before we can significantly improve preservice teacher education, "we must first gain insight into the thinking rather than just the behavior of future teachers... to understand the ways in which they [preservice teachers] develop a practical philosophy of teaching" (p. 121). Third, the knowledge which guides the practice of preservice teachers and the ways in which this knowledge develops should be of vital interest to teacher educators. Many teacher education programs have traditionally been planned on the basis of the technical knowledge that preservice teachers are thought to require and how they can be best trained to acquire that knowledge. It would appear, however, that learning to teach is a more complex process than simply accumulating a scientific body of factual information about teaching. Results 11 from this study could be beneficial for those working with physical education preservice teachers in the practicum setting (e.g., sponsor teachers and faculty advisors). Rather than imposing their own views or opinions on preservice teachers, it is important for these individuals to be sensitive to ways in which preservice teachers look upon and think about their own practice as teachers. The sponsor teacher and faculty advisor should be aware of differences which may exist between how they interpret a situation and the sense a preservice teacher makes of particular series of events. This study illuminates some of these potential differences in interpretation, from the preservice teacher's point of view. The study also highlights the factors which impact upon preservice teachers during this learning process. For many individuals the experiential nature of the practicum, while serving as a powerful learning experience, can also be a source of dilemmas, problems, confusion and doubt. For example, it has been argued that an individual's prior familiarity with classrooms and teachers may prevent them from searching beyond what they already know about teaching, or from questioning the practices they see in operation at their practicum site (Goodman, 1988). In similar fashion, the presence of a domineering sponsor teacher can create a situation in which a preservice teacher copies the actions of their sponsor and engages in a carefully crafted strategy of impression management or "strategic compliance" (Lacey, 1977) in order to receive a passing grade. Therefore, by attempting to describe the practical knowledge preservice teachers construct during the practicum and the factors that impact upon this learning, the study is designed to contribute to the field of teacher education in ways that honors preservice teacher's development of a practice that is distinctly their own. Research Methods Methodology - The rationale for the design of a research methodology is dictated by the nature of what is being studied and the underlying goals of the research. According to Zeichner (1986) research that seeks to understand the practicum experience as an occasion for preservice teachers to learn to teach "must reflect in its conceptualization and methodology the dynamic nature of the event being studied" (p. 19). Therefore, as the primary focus of this study is the ways in which physical education preservice teachers make sense of their practicum experience, the methods used to collect data are 12 those associated with qualitative field studies (Bogdan & Biklen, 1982; Goetz & LeCompte, 1984; Hammersley & Atkinson, 1983). Data Collection - The data collection methods included lesson observations, in-depth interviewing, and video and stimulated recall sessions of lessons taught by the participants. Merriam (1988) indicates that when asking questions that focus on process rather than outcome or product, an interpretive (qualitative) approach or perspective is desirable. This perspective emphasizes the meanings that individuals give to objects or events, and the uniqueness of contexts within which these events take place. Data Analysis - The study employed qualitative data collection methods which are consistent with the interpretive perspective. In turn, this enables a form of analysis that is grounded in the recorded data. Individual cases are constructed around the experiences of each of the four preservice teachers. Initially, all interviews and stimulated recall sessions were fully transcribed. The data were analyzed using a "constant comparative" method (Glaser & Strauss, 1967; Lincoln and Guba, 1985). Through careful reading andrereading of the data, interesting, puzzling or surprising patterns were identified within the it. Outcomes described in the text of each case within the study are based upon each preservice teacher's response to issues that were discussed during the practicum, and not upon analytical categories defined in advance of the data collection. Rather than fitting the data into previously defined categories of analysis the analysis practices employed for this study allowed categories or 'themes' to emerge from the data. Finally, dominant trends and patterns within the data were identified across the four cases. It is at this level of analysis that claims are made about the practical knowledge constructed by preservice teachers during their practicum experience. A crucial test of this form of analysis "is whether the actors whose beliefs and behavior the researcher purports to describe, recognize the validity of those accounts" (Hammersley & Atkinson, 1983, p. 195). Therefore, throughout the study during the on-site meetings with each participant, I endeavored to test some of the "sense making" I was building from the various sources of data that were being collected. For example, the first 13 portion of each meeting was used to revisit the previous interview and discuss, clarify and confirm ideas that had been discussed. The participants were also given the opportunity to read and respond to written drafts of their case. It should also be noted that by following these procedures data collection and analysis were not distinct phases within the study but occurred simultaneously. Ill Organization of the Thesis There are eight chapters in this study. The first three chapters encompass an introduction to the study, a review of the literature, and a discussion of the research method. The thesis then shifts to an examination of practical knowledge constructed by preservice teachers through the presentation of four case studies of individuals who were engaged in a thirteen week practicum experience. Separate chapters have been devoted to the cases of Kate, Trevor, Mary, and John2. Each details their individual attempts to 'make sense' of their experiences as they learn to teach physical education in the context of their practicum. Each chapter begins by introducing the participant to the reader and presenting some background details about their ideas on teaching and learning in physical education. The main portion of each case is given to examining their practicum experiences focusing specifically on the practical knowledge they construct, along with the factors that impact upon this constructive process. The final chapter summarizes or draws together the four case studies and offers a discussion of the substantive issues arising from the study. The list of references and appendices follows this chapter. 2. Throughout the study pseudonyms have been used for the participants, their sponsors, and the site of each practicum. 14 CHAPTER 2 Chapter two offers a review of the literature related to this study. The purpose of this chapter is to assist the reader in situating the present study within the context of recent and current research in the area of teacher knowledge. The review begins by briefly introducing the problem of competing conceptions of knowledge about teaching. Following this, it continues by outlining how knowledge has been traditionally conceptualized and generated by educational researchers. A description is then presented of how this research tradition has influenced the curriculum of teacher education programs. In contrast to this traditional view of teacher knowledge, an alternate conception is then outlined. This alternate conception recognizes how valuable forms of professional knowledge are actively constructed by individual teachers rather than being passively received. This section leads into an examination of the ways in which teachers construct and use "practical knowledge" (Carter, 1990; Beijaard and Verloop, 1996) in their everyday practice. The review continues by describing how both the traditional and alternate conceptions of knowledge have impacted upon the development of research by those interested in exploring the process of teaching and learning to teach physical education. It concludes by offering a view of the direction for future research in the area of teaching physical education. Knowledge About Teaching: Competing Conceptions Professional knowledge for teachers has been generated from a number of espistemological positions. In broad fashion, Tom and Valli (1990) present four epistemological traditions that have formed the basis for developing professional knowledge for and about teachers. They label these as the positivist, interpretive, critical and craft traditions. Embedded within each tradition is a distinct conception of the relationship that exists between knowledge and practice. Depending upon which distinction is adopted, the answer to the questions of what counts as essential knowledge in teaching, and how this knowledge should be generated, remains contested among educational researchers. As Tom and Valli (1990) comment, "what constitutes knowledge, as well as its purposes and forms, depends largely on the underlying epistemological assumptions" (p. 373). 15 Knowledge for positivists involves discovering lawlike generalizations. Lawson (1985) describes the positivist linkage between knowledge and practice as "rooted in the belief that new knowledge and skill, developed in universities, will readily transfer into the work organization" (p. 11). From this perspective, researchers identify problems and then provide answers. "Educational positivists attend carefully to context-independant generalizations and presume that these generalizations are enduring and useful" (Tom & Vall i , 1990, p. 375). The interpretive tradition is tied to the search for knowledge linked to specific contexts. Explanation no longer entails pursuing lawlike and context free generalizations, but rather "seeks the meaning that humans attach to the interpersonal and social aspects of their lives" (Tom & Valli, 1990, p. 375). According to Mitchell (1993), within this tradition "evidence for knowledge utilization exists in the extent to which practitioners reflect on their own practice and act thoughtfully in light of enhanced understanding of the match between their motives and actions" (p. 408). While these first two traditions attempt to hold their values and beliefs separate from what they study, there is no pretence of value neutrality for those who adhere to the critical perspective. What is common among scholars who adhere to this perspective for conducting research, - is a conviction that current educational and social arrangements are unjust and unequal and need to be reformed (Tom & Valli, 1990). Knowledge is created through the value-laden analysis of social structures and relationships, and its utilization is evaluated to the extent which transformations actually occur (Mitchell, 1993). Within the review of literature that follows, no further reference is made to this orientation as it applies to the field of teacher education. Finally, in craft tradition knowledge about teaching is derived from personal practice or from discussions with colleagues, and it is valued to the extent that it allows teachers to achieve their goals. Mitchell (1993) states that "knowledge is created through doing because what qualifies as knowledge has qualified because it has passed the test of practical implementation in the real setting" (p. 409). While there is some overlap between epistemological positions, the four outlined here illustrate alternative points for thinking about 'learning to teach'. In addition to disagreement over the question of what counts or what knowledge is most important for preservice teachers to know, the issue as to how teacher education programs should be designed to address this knowledge remains equally contested. 16 Consequently, there exists a range of conceptual orientations that are used in guiding the format of teacher education programs. Feiman-Nemser (1990) outlines several different structural and conceptual orientations towards this process, and Zeichner (1983) identifies a number of "alternative paradigms" in teacher education. Thus, from the literature it is evident a plurality of positions or orientations exist regarding both what and how teachers should be prepared for their roles in schools. It is not surprising, therefore, that research which has focused on the broader question of how preservice teachers learn to teach has revealed much conceptual diversity and ambiguity, but few cumulative findings (Carter, 1990; Feiman-Nemser, 1983; Wideen, Mayer-Smith & Moon, 1993). Developing a framework to make sense of these varied positions is not an easy task. In his review entitled The knower and the known in teacher knowledge research, Gary Fenstermacher (1994) offers a broad but useful distinction between those researchers who seek to develop knowledge about teaching by conducting research on teachers, and those who seek to understand the knowledge that teachers construct for themselves. As Fenstermacher (1994) notes, the distinction "is one that divides more conventional scientific approaches to the study of teaching from what might be thought of as -alternative approaches" (p. 1). This distinction will be employed in the following review of the growing body of literature related to this topic and this study. I. "Traditional" Views of Knowledge About Teaching \ Probably the most influential of the approaches that have been used to generate knowledge about teaching rests broadly upon the foundations of a positivistic epistemology and behavioral psychology (Zeichner, 1983). Educational researchers operating from within this research tradition believed the social sciences ought to emulate the natural sciences and search for laws to describe human behavior. They focused on conducting research on teachers, and their motivation or goal is best described as an attempt to produce a form of professional knowledge about teaching that is propositional in nature and which permits context free generalizations to be made. According to Fenstermacher (1994) these researchers do not see themselves as studying teacher knowledge, "so much as they perceive themselves producing knowledge about teaching ... their work rests on the belief that if their methods and designs are in accord with accepted scientific theory and practice, their results may safely be accepted as knowledge 17 about teachers and teaching" (p. 4). They believed that "careful attention to the methodology of studying the effects of teachers' behaviors on students' achievement, would be rewarded with a better understanding of which behaviors made teachers effective in promoting student learning" (Tom and Valli , 1990, p. 374). During the 1960's and 70's this form of educational thinking dominated the landscape of research on teaching and teacher knowledge and is still very much in evidence today3. Throughout this period the development of professional knowledge about teaching was largely restricted to that which resulted from "process-product", teacher effectiveness, and teacher competency educational research (Dunkin and Biddle, 1974; Rosenshine and Stevens 1986). Research focused on trying to identify the traits of effective teachers, and in many cases the principal question being asked was which teaching strategies and teaching behaviors were most successful in bringing about the largest gains in pupil achievement? At this time educational research became closely affiliated with the discipline of psychology and a partnership was established which provided those trying to understand teaching with theoretical knowledge about learning, motivation, personality and intelligence. The field of psychology introduced accepted tools of measurement, experimentation, and statistical analysis into educational research, and for a lengthy period educational psychology supplied the primary theoretical knowledge in the study of teaching and teacher education. "Thus teaching and teacher education achieved what seemed to be a powerful intellectual foundation and a set of tools to insure efficacy" (Doyle, 1990a, p. 10). Researchers operating within this tradition would probably support a conception of teaching as something very close to a technical enterprise, and the research methodology they employ indicates a strong allegiance to viewing teaching in this manner. This perspective is perhaps best represented in the work of N.L . Gage. In The Scientific Basis for the Art of Teaching, Gage (1978) sets forth his view of the relationship between 3. Two projects were completed in the 1980's each of which had an emphasis on the scientific understanding of teaching. These were Handbook of Research on Teaching (Wittrock, 1986) and the The International Encyclopedia of Teaching and Teacher Education (Dunkin, 1987). The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education also commissioned a volume entitled Knowledge Base for the Beginning Teacher (Reynolds, 1989). This project was an attempt to draw together what was known at the time about effective or successful teaching, for use by teachers and teacher educators. 18 1 science and teaching. In an updated book titled Hard Gains in the Soft Sciences: The Case of Pedagogy" (1985), Gage argued that psychology was the basis for understanding teaching, and that "a scientific basis consists of scientifically developed knowledge about the relationship between variables" (p. 5). At the peak of its popularity, those who adhered to this form of educational research promoted the belief that their efforts had revealed a technology or science of knowledge about teaching (see Reynolds, 1989; Dunkin, 1987). They argued that this body of 'scientific knowledge' should form the backbone of the curriculum of teacher education, and asserted that all prospective teachers should have a thorough understanding of how this knowledge could impact upon their practice as teachers. A l l that logically remained, therefore, was for teacher educators to uncover the most effective and efficient procedures for immersing preservice teachers in this body of knowledge. As Tom and Vall i (1990) note, ... the internal logic of this approach for converting knowledge into practice is compelling. One works backwards from student achievement to teacher actions •----to effective teacher training procedures (p. 381). According to Fenstermacher (1994) those who embrace such a view of teacher knowledge or teacher development are supporting a limited epistemological perspective on what teachers should know and be able to do. He continues, ... it is from this perspective we built the much-vaunted knowledge base for teaching. This knowledge base, in turn, gives rise to such policy initiatives as national certification for teachers, accountability and performance assessment in teaching, research based programs of teacher education, as well as research-based designs for the accreditation of teacher education, and some (but not all) of the current initiatives in the development of subject field, grade-level, and state-level standards for student achievement (Fenstermacher, 1994, p. 4). We shall now examine in more detail how this research tradition influenced and permeated the design of teacher education programs. 19 II. The "Science" of Teacher Education The findings from this positivist research tradition had a strong and direct impact on the process of teacher education. As educational positivists sought to discover those teaching behaviors and instructional patterns that were "effective" in producing student learning, they argued that, once identified, these behaviors and patterns should be transferred directly for use in teacher preparation programs. Thus, findings from the era of process-product research were used to narrow the content of the curriculum of teacher education, streamline and reduce the amount of time needed to complete teacher preparation, and impose rigid structures and formats on teachers (Doyle, 1990a). Teacher preparation programs were dominated by an emphasis on direct training in specific and observable teaching skills. Indeed, confidence in a theoretical or scientific approach to teaching resulted in an almost missionary zeal among some teacher educators (Sykes & Bird, 1992). Taken to its most basic level, the scientific or behavioristic study of teaching simplified the problem of learning to teach to a process of acquiring a set of effective teaching principles and procedures, which could be transferred directly for use in any classroom or gymnasium. As Van Manen (1977) points out, ... as scientific method became applied to teacher education, the idea of 'curriculum -as-effective-content' changed into the idea of 'curriculum-as-effective-treatment' ...[and] in a sense, curriculum concerns (what is valid knowledge?) were subverted by scientific method into teaching concerns (what are valid ways of teaching the knowledge?) (p. 208). The cumulative effect of this research enterprise is perhaps best exemplified in the Competency Based (CBTE) and Performance Based Teacher Education (PBTE) movements'(see Houston, 1972; Houston & Howsam, 1974).4 According to Kennedy (1988) the logic of CBTE was based upon the premise that teaching expertise could be broken into discrete units, and that each unit could be defined as an observable teaching behavior to be taught to preservice teachers independent of the other units. The ideal 4. The influence of the "scientific" approach on the conduct of teacher education can be traced back well before the 1960's. The notion of applying scientific principles to the study of education is evident in the work of Franklin Bobbitt and W.W. Charters. For example, a precursor to both CBTE and PBTE was Charter's teacher education program described in The Commonwealth Teacher Training Study of 1929. 20 C B T E program is built upon the use of learning modules. Each module includes a rationale for why the competency is important, a list of learning objectives, a list of learning experiences the prospective teacher will engage in to learn the competency, and an assessment of the individual's competence (Kennedy, 1988). The preparation of preservice teachers is greatly simplified when teaching is viewed as instrumental problem solving made rigorous by the application of scientific theory (Clarke, 1990). Within this conception the preparation for and improvement of teaching became a fairly straightforward matter of supplying a "best list" of some "do's and dont's", "or more formally stated, a set of prescriptions for practice" (Carter & Richardson 1988, p. 407). Britzman (1987) describes this model for teacher education as being organized around the implicit theory of "immediate action". Within the model, ... the university provides theories, methods and skills; schools provide the classroom, curriculum and students; and the student teacher provides individual effort; all of which combine to produce the finished product of a professional teacher (Britzman, 1987, p. 442). In critiquing this approach to the development of knowledge about teaching and its direct transference into teacher education, Schempp (1987) declares that it reduces the relationship between a teacher and student to something similar to that which exists between a producer and the product. The fact that the same behavior may be governed by quite different motives was not a concern of this technical perspective. In addition, critical features of teaching such as the subject matter being taught, the classroom or gymnasium context, the psychological characteristics of the students, or the accomplishments of purposes not readily assessed on standardized tests, were typically ignored in the quest for general principles of effective teaching (Shulman, 1987). The practicing or preservice teacher is viewed as a studied object, an individual to be "worked on" rather than "worked with." This 'top-down' model also fails to acknowledge the role individual teachers could play in their own growth as educators. Ultimately, and in a paradoxical way, this orientation succeeded in legitimating a body of knowledge about teaching developed almost exclusively by those not actually 21 practicing. According to Giroux (1987), "the effect is to not only deskill teachers, to remove them from the process of deliberation and reflection, but also to routinize the nature of learning and classroom pedagogy" (p. 378). Moreover, the view that knowledge about education should be scientific and analytic has tended to devalue practical experience. Thus, teachers themselves may be unaware of the value of their own knowledge and they are not encouraged to view themselves in any way as originators of this knowledge (Elbaz, 1983). While these criticisms have continued to surface, it is important to recognize that many preservice teachers see a great deal of sense in what such a technical approach to teaching has to offer. Studies have shown preservice teachers, at times, place a high value on knowledge about the use of specific teaching techniques (Campbell, Green & Purvis, 1990). Indeed, it has been suggested that an initial dependence upon such techniques by preservice teachers is a characteristic of their early field experiences (MacKinnon & Erickson, 1988). While research which has been labelled as process-product or teacher effectiveness - i has a place in the study of teaching, it should not be promoted as the only valid position for inquiring into or generating knowledge about teaching. Although the conception of teaching captured by a positivistic epistemology may be appealing, and in some instances useful, it is not sufficient for preservice teacher education (Carter and Richardson, 1988); there needs to be space for knowledge that is more situated and contextual in character. In the last decade research on teaching has begun to shift focus. Consensus around a strictly technical view of teaching has been eroding and, with increasing success, this research paradigm has been countered by studies whose emphasis is on teachers' thought processes (Clark and Peterson, 1986; Day, Calderhead and Denicolo, 1993) and, more recently, teachers' practical knowledge (Carter, 1990; Francis, 1995; Webb, 1995). Challenges have been put forward to counter the customary insistence that valuable knowledge about teaching can be confined to understanding how to be managerially or technically competent in performing a range of "scientifically" defined teaching skills. It is assumed that research on this knowledge better reflects the complexity of teaching and the things that really matter in teachers' everyday practice (Beijaard and Verloop, 1996). 22 As a result, in contrast to this traditional view of teacher knowledge, an alternate conception has emerged. This alternate conception acknowledges how valuable knowledge about teaching can be actively constructed by individual teachers as they come face to face with the complex and unstable world of practice. It has challenged and cast doubt upon the merits of the technological orientation to fully capture the complex issues involved in understanding what and how an individual learns to teach. As Carter and Richardson (1988) comment, it would appear that the alternate conception of teaching as a cognitive enterprise is highly appropriate for trying to understand how an individual learns to teach, because "such a conception emphasizes understanding rather than simply performance" (p. 408). This alternate conception seeks to understand the knowledge which teachers and preservice teachers construct for themselves in the immediacy of the action setting. The present study could be seen as a continuation of this challenge and clearly situates itself within this alternate conception of knowledge about teaching. The review will continue by outlining some of the distinct and important features of this alternate conception of teacher knowledge. III. An Alternate Conception of Teaching Doyle (1990) notes that during the last decade reactions against the knowledge assumptions implicit in a technical view of teaching and teacher education have grown (see Kirk, 1986, 1989; McKay, Gore and Kirk, 1990; Shulman, 1986, 1987; Smith, 1991; Tinning, 1991; 1992). Many researchers have responded to a loss of faith in "positivism" and turned their attention away from a search for effective teaching techniques or the most efficient ways for training preservice teachers to use these techniques. In its place they have begun to examine and explore the forms of professional knowledge which teachers use in their everyday practice, and how this knowledge can be constructed by teachers within the immediacy of their own classroom or gymnasium setting. The initial results of this research have challenged the traditional belief that what an experienced or preservice teacher needs to know about teaching can be confined to managerial or technical competence in a range of research defined teaching skills. New i 23 understandings from this research suggest important knowledge for teaching is interpretive rather than simply prescriptive (Doyle, 1990a). Elbaz (1983) remarks, it would appear that "teachers hold a complex, practically-oriented set of understandings which they use actively to shape and direct the work of teaching" (p. 3). According to Shulman (1988) this is "situated knowledge made powerful by the contexts in which it is acquired and used" (p. 37). Further, it is a form of knowledge-in-action which a teacher uses to inform his or her practice and which is revealed through the "internal dialogue" (Goodman, 1988) an individual conducts as he or she attempts to make sense of the teaching world around them. A characteristic of this knowledge-in-action is that, although professionals can demonstrate it in use within their practice, they find it more difficult to disclose it in any verbal manner. Yinger (1990), in trying to characterize this form of knowing, describes it as a form of language which is found in the action of teachers rather than their speech, being "rarely heard" but often "seen and felt" (p. 91). Yinger's characterization is supported by Clarke (1992) who comments, the notion of "rarely heard" is an acknowledgement that a large part of a teacher's knowing is tacit. Indeed, Yinger (1987) states "that learning this language of practice is not really possible until a beginning teacher actually engages in teaching ... it may be learned by doing - by becoming involved in the rich and uniquely complex context of real practice" (p. 293). An example of this alternate conception of teaching knowledge is evidenced in a study by Carter, Pinnegar and Olson 1988 (cited in Carter & Richardson, 1988). When they asked 40 co-operating teachers to define for a novice teacher 'what teaching is,' their responses argued persuasively for viewing teaching as a complex mental activity. One co-operating teacher stated, "I think what you have to learn is how to deal with mental jumbling. You have to learn to manage the ... mental mess provided by all the action in the classroom and how to stay in control of yourself and the situation in such a way that it continues to be a productive learning environment" (Carter & Richardson, 1988, p. 408). Subsequently, this alternate conception of what counts as valuable knowledge about teaching has contributed to a substantial increase in attention to the practical knowledge (Carter, 1990; Elbaz, 1983,1987, Beijaard and Verloop, 1996; Johnston, 1994; Francis, 24 1995;), personal practical knowledge (Clandinin, 1985; Connelly, Clandinin and Fang He, 1997; Magliaro et al, 1995; Webb, 1995), situated knowledge (Leinhardt, 1988) subject matter knowledge (Chen and Ennis, 1995; Feiman-Nemser and Parker, 1990; Loewenberg-Ball & Williamson-McDiarrnid, 1990), pedagogical content knowledge (Cochran, DeRuiter and King, 1995; Geddis, 1993; Gudmundsottir, 1987; Shulman, 1987), which teachers use in their everyday practice. For these researchers this knowledge is different than more formal scientifically derived knowledge because it is woven within and grows out of the particular context and classroom situations in which a teacher functions. While this research "does not claim to speak in a voice of unequivocal, positive truth, [it] can make useful suggestions about the practice of teaching" (Erickson, 1986, p. 158). Erickson (1986) continues to tell us, its chief usefulness towards the improvement of teaching practice, maybe its challenge to the notion that certain truths can be found, and in its call to reconstrue fundamentally our notions of the nature of the practical in teaching. ...[it] is not only an alternative method, but an alternative view of how society works, and of how schools, classrooms, teachers and students work in society (p. 158) In many respects this alternate conception of teacher knowledge highlights the degree to which teachers' actions are shaped by the specific contexts in which their practice takes place. This research has begun to provide a rich source of insights into the everyday actions of teachers and, for example, the issues of cognition and context have now become of central concern to those researching in the area of teacher knowledge or striving to understand how preservice teachers learn to teach. As Vansledright and Putnam (1989) remark, ... teachers' interpretations of classroom events, and the knowledge that they possess as they construct complex teaching-learning decisions, seems to be at the center of what is important about learning to teach (p. 117). An important task for researchers and teacher educators, therefore, is to explore these understandings and how they are used by practicing and preservice teachers to guide and give shape to their practice. The present study addresses this problem by seeking to 25 understand the experiences of preservice teachers as they construct knowledge about teaching during their practicum. According to Doyle (1990a), rather than devising a blueprint for all teachers to follow regardless of the circumstances, the focus becomes one of helping teachers know what they might do in their own context once they have figured out what needs to be done. Both Tinning (1985) and Schon (1983) support the change in direction provided by researchers who have attempted to articulate the nature of this alternate form of professional knowledge about teaching. Tinning (1985) comments that practitioners who are bound by the positivist epistemology of practice are in a dilemma because their definition of rigorous professional knowledge excludes phenomena such as artistry and intuition. While Schon (1983) writes, the complexity, uncertainty, instability, uniqueness, and value conflicts which are increasingly perceived as central to the current world of practice [of teachers] are no longer able to be handled simply by recourse to existing bodies of knowledge, or accepted ways of inquiring about such knowledge (p. 14). Schon's argument for the development of reflective practice is an excellent counter to .the.claim that we should continue to search for the "widely voiced but nonexistent universals of effective teaching" (Smyth, 1987, p. 4). In his book The reflective practitioner: How professionals think in action, Schon (1983) describes a practitioners' efforts to work through this constructive process as reflection-on-action. In Schon's case the professional is an architect or planner who "draws upon implicit and situation grounded ('action present') cognitions in the form of exemplars or 'generative metaphors' to understand and think about phenomena" (Yinger, 1987, p. 295). As Munby and Russell (1989) write, a feature of this knowledge is that it "resides in practice, is constituted differently ... [and] is contextually dependent, arising out of particular puzzles and uncertainties that professionals are required to manage" (p. 75). Thus, when applied to the teaching profession, professional knowledge for teachers becomes oriented towards action and practice - it is "practical". IV. The Role of "Practical" Knowledge in Teaching Educational researchers have acknowledged that teachers bring more to the 'conversation about their practice' than the desire to know which principle to follow, or a 26 need to have their work interpreted for them. One aspect of this emergent knowledge base which has been of particular interest to researchers has been the category of teachers' practical knowledge (Carter, 1990; Elbaz, 1983, 1987, Beijaard and Verloop, 1996; Johnston, 1994; Francis, 1995). Research undertaken to identify the nature of teachers' practical knowledge has emphasized the "complexities of interactive thinking and thinking-in-action ...[focusing] on the personal understandings teachers have of the practical circumstances in which they work" (Carter, 1990, p. 299). Donald Schon (1983, 1987) uses the term knowing-in-action to describe the type of knowledge that is inherent in intelligent action. One of the earliest contributors and pioneers of this area of educational research was Freema Elbaz. In her case study of Sarah, a high school English teacher, Elbaz (1981) began with the assumption, While teachers' knowledge may be largely unarticulated they do possess a broad range of knowledge which guides their work - knowledge of subject matter; of classroom organization and instructional techniques; of the structuring of learning experiences and curriculum content; of students' need, abilities, and interests; of the social framework of the school and its surrounding community, and of their own strengths and shortcomings as teachers (p.47). During her study Elbaz attempted to capture a sense of the practical knowledge which Sarah used to guide her practice. According to Elbaz (1983), "this knowledge encompasses the first hand experiences of student's learning styles, interests, needs, strengths and difficulties, and a repertoire of instructional techniques and classroom management skills (p. 5). However, Elbaz wanted to move beyond simply categorizing the content of teachers' practical knowledge and argued for a view of the teacher as an autonomous agent in the curriculum process. Elbaz achieved this by demonstrating the knowledge which teachers hold "as something dynamic", held in "an active relationship to practice and used to give shape to that practice" (Elbaz, 1981, p. 48). Consequently, in addition to the five domains of practical knowledge (knowledge of self, the teaching environment, the subject matter, curriculum development, and instruction), Elbaz (1983) also identified three levels of generality in the organization of an individual's practical 27 knowledge. These she referred to as rules of practice, which consists of a "brief, clearly formulated statement of what to do or how to do it in a particular situation frequently encountered in practice" (p. 132-133); practical principle which is an "inclusive and less explicit formulation in which the teacher's purposes, implied in the statement of a rule, are made more clearly evident" (p. 132-134); and an image, which is the "less explicit and most inclusive of the three ... the teacher's values, needs, and beliefs combine as she forms images of how teaching should be and marshals experience, theoretical knowledge and school folklore to give substance to these images" (p. 134). Of these three basic categories, Elbaz claimed images were the most inclusive because they serve to "guide the teacher's thinking". For example, in the case of Sarah, the image which guided her practice could be found in the statement that through her teaching "she wanted to have a window onto kids and what they're thinking" (Elbaz, 1981, p. 62). It is evident in Elbaz's work that what she was interested in was what Sarah knew or believed about her practice, and how Sarah's understanding of her work might itself be understood. In addition, the methodological approach adopted by Elbaz to explore this practical knowledge, was not one which would fall within the confines of a conventional scientific research study: Thus, the teacher's awareness and ability to articulate her knowledge, which might be seen as a barrier to getting at the facts in an experimentally oriented study, are here precisely matters [I] wished to observe and document (Elbaz, 1981, p. 51). As a result, issues which were problematic to those operating within a traditional research framework were exactly those which Elbaz wanted to examine and describe. Within a 'scientifically' experimental study the focus of Elbaz's research would probably have been on whether Sarah was instructionally effective. Instead, Elbaz sought, to grasp Sarah's knowledge of her working world without imposing theory or established methods ... and without structuring Sarah's responses within an existing tradition of academic research (Fenstermacher, 1994, p. 7). The notion of practical knowledge also figures prominently in the work of Michael 28 Connelly and Jean Clandinnin (Clandinnin & Connelly 1987, 1991; Connelly & Clandinnin, 1985, 1988,1990, 1995; Connelly, Clandinin and Fang He, 1997). They refer to "personal practical knowledge" as, ... knowledge that reflects the individual's prior knowledge and acknowledges the contextual nature of that teacher's knowledge. It is a kind of knowledge carved out of, and shaped by, situations; knowledge that is constructed and reconstructed as we live out our stories and retell and relive them through the process of reflection (Clandinnin, 1992, p. 125). According to Fenstermacher (1994), the work of Clandinnin and Connelly outlines a complex and elaborate conception of teacher knowledge. What is more important to understand, however, is the philosophical position they are taking in carrying out this research. By trying to understand how teachers think about their practice and what knowledge they use to guide their actions, Clandinnin and Connelly are taking teachers seriously as holders and creators of knowledge about teaching. The present study builds upon this notion and takes the position that when preservice teachers undertake a practicum experience they, too, can construct valuable forms of professional knowledge about teaching. In a similar manner the 'Knowledge Growth in Teaching' program at Stanford University, under the guidance of Lee Shulman, set itself the task of trying to identify and understand another component of this emerging knowledge for teaching. Shulman and his colleagues focused on the importance of teachers' content or subject matter knowledge and how they use this knowledge to inform their teaching practice (Grossman, Wilson, and Shulman, 1989; Gudmundsdottir, 1987a, 1987b; Gudmundsdottir & Shulman, 1987). In tackling this problem Shulman (1986) distinguished between three categories of content knowledge: subject content knowledge, pedagogical content knowledge, and curricular knowledge. Of these, pedagogical content knowledge has emerged as perhaps the most critical. It involves the integration of subject matter knowledge with more general pedagogic principles. This synthesis of subject and method, in turn, constitutes a unique form of understanding which distinguishes expert teachers in a subject area from disciplinary specialists (Shulman, 1987). According to Shulman (1986) pedagogical 29 content knowledge ... embodies the aspects of content most germane to its teachability [including] ... the most useful forms of representation of those ideas, the most powerful analogies, illustrations, examples and demonstrations - in a word the ways of representing and formulating the subject to make it comprehensible to others (p. 9). This knowledge includes an understanding "of what makes the learning of specific topics easy or difficult", and "knowledge of the strategies most likely to be fruitful in reorganizing the understanding of learners" (Shulman, 1986, p. 9-10). It is "that special amalgam of content and pedagogy that is uniquely the province of teachers, their own special form of professional understanding" (Shulman, 1987, p. 8). Further, it is evidenced in the "capacity of teachers to transform the content knowledge they possess into forms that are pedagogically powerful and yet adaptive to the variations in ability and background presented by students" (Shulman, 1987, p. 15). This capacity involves thinking through the key ideas, identifying different ways of representing them, and trying "to build a bridge between the teacher's comprehension and that desired by the students" (Shulman, 1987, p. 16)..Shulman (1986, 1987) states that what teachers need to know about the subject matter they teach extends beyond the specific topics of their curriculum. This extension emphasizes the "management of ideas in the classroom, rather than simply relying on the management of pupil conduct or the interpersonal processes that occur between teachers and students" (Doyle, 1990a, p. 15). It is aspects of a practical knowledge about teaching that are central to this study. Valuable teaching knowledge, as evidenced in the work of Shulman and Elbaz, is fundamentally different from the "technical rationality" that has traditionally dominated academic conceptions of professional knowledge in teaching. Research based on technical rationality tends to ignore practical knowledge and, therefore, can be of limited utility to teachers in the practice setting. On the other hand practical knowledge is "shaped by a professionals' personal history, which includes intentions and purposes, as well as the cumulative effects of life experience" (Carter, 1990, p. 300). As a result, it is imperative that this knowledge is expressed "in all of its rich particulars and in a language close to that of the practitioners themselves (Carter, 1990, p. 300). 30 From this practical perspective it is evident that important knowledge for teaching resides as much within the ranks of teachers as it does in research-derived principles of practice. Teachers possess a form of knowledge-in-action which informs their practice and which is embedded, as mentioned previously, within the "complex, unstable, uncertain, and conflictual world of practice" (Schon, 1987, p. 12). Indeed, this perspective places teachers themselves at the focal point of defining the knowledge necessary to inform their practice. If the positivist curriculum for teacher education is oriented towards certainty and standardization, any attempt to account for practical knowledge "must be oriented toward de facto uncertainty, variability, and complexity in practitioners work, organizations and work places" (Lawson, 1990, p. 173). To achieve this goal" a major portion of the research agenda for the next decade will be to collect, collate, and interpret the practical knowledge of teachers for the purpose of establishing a case literature" (Shulman, 1987, p. 12). Research which aims to illuminate the intellectual frameworks and cognitive operations teachers use to interpret everyday classroom or gymnasium events, could provide a language with which practicing teachers, teacher,educators, and preservice teachers would be able to communicate about teaching. This research could "contribute to the acquisition of appropriate knowledge structures and interpretive processes by beginning teachers" (Carter & Doyle, 1987, p. 158). The vast majority of teachers do not think like researchers and most preservice teachers do not wind up as technicians but as teachers of human beings (McKay, Gore & Kirk, 1990). As Lawson (1990) succinctly comments, it is becoming increasingly evident, ... the language of research is not the language used in practice. Practitioners' work organizations and work conditions are not aptly characterized by the positivist, objectivist view of practice. Nor does [a strictly] positivist curriculum in the universities adequately prepare practitioners for the demands and realities of practice (p. 172). V. Research in Teaching Physical Education In the area of physical education, there remains an active and strong community of 31 researchers who endeavor to develop knowledge about teaching primarily by conducting research on teachers. Larry Locke (1977), one of the preeminent individuals in this field of study, assertively stated that it was the emergence of the natural science paradigm in physical education teacher research that, in his words, gave "new hope for a dismal science." Daryl Siedentop (1982), another noted researcher in the area of teaching physical education, endorsed Locke's statement when he commented that research on teaching in physical education "began to yield productive results when researchers began to conceptualize teaching as a natural phenomenon, as events which have a reality that is not divergent from any other set of observable events" (p. 83). He would be in full agreement with Locke (1977) who advocated that research on teaching physical education should include only those studies, ... which employ data gathered through direct or indirect observation of instructional activity ... the observation would have to be systematic in the sense that it was conducted so as to extract quantifiable units of data which could meet reasonable standards of reliability and validity (p. 10). -Following the advice offered by these two acclaimed researchers, a large number of individuals engaged in analyzing the teaching of physical education have relied upon the natural science research paradigm to provide the dominant mode of inquiry and analysis. Subscription to this orientation has led to the establishment of several strong research programs in physical education. As a result, the body of knowledge pursuant to these traditions has grown in rapid fashion. Evidence of the impact and vitality of this growth has been well documented (Bain, 1990; Lee, 1996; Metzler, 1989; Silverman, 1991, 1994; Silverman and Skonie, 1997). Currently, the body of knowledge on teaching physical education continues to be expanded in such areas as applied teacher behavior analysis (Behets, 1997; Lee, Neh and Magill, 1993; Silverman, Tyson, & Krampitz, 1991), time-on-task (Becket, 1989; Hastie, 1994; Metzler, 1989; Silverman, Devellier and Ramirez, 1991) and expert and novice teacher differences (Griffey & Housner, 1990, 1991; Solmon& Lee, 1991). The influence of a behavioristic or technical orientation towards the study of teaching physical education is also clearly reflected in the knowledge base which, for many years, 32 has been considered to be important in a number of physical education Teacher Education (PETE) programs. Upon close examination, one of the striking features of PETE programs is the near absence of critical or reflective approaches (Kirk, 1986, 1989; Tinning, 1987, 1991). After studying programs in 240 universities, Edwards (1989) documented a 500% increase in the number of scientifically based courses within PETE programs to the exclusion of alternate orientations. As Lawson (1990) concluded, "clearly, todays ideology for physical education places added faith in scientific research to guide the field and solve its problems" (p. 162). As was earlier noted, Daryl Siedentop (1983,1986, 1987) has been a particularly strong patron of such an approach to the study of teaching in physical education. His efforts were a major factor in establishing a 'natural science' paradigm as the dominant paradigm within physical education research. The teacher education program he developed at Ohio State University is an excellent example of a PETE program which has modelled itself upon such scientific principles.5 Briefly, this program required physical education preservice teachers to undertake a series of carefully planned and controlled pedagogical experiences. During these experiences preservice teachers practiced their teaching skills in a supportive environment which was characterized by low numbers of pupils and instruction in activities familiar to the teacher. This environment allowed particular teaching techniques to be practiced, refined, and mastered before being put to use in settings approximating the real world (Taggart, 1988). In addition, during these controlled experiences each preservice teacher's behavior was modified through the provision of valid data-based feedback, provided by direct observation and measurement of the teaching performance through use of instruments such as the Academic Learning Time-Physical Education (ALT-PE) 6 tool. In summary, "the major theoretical underpinnings of the behavior analysis approach to teacher education [at Ohio State] is that preservice teachers can be deemed effective if they are applying their learned teaching skills correctly and with the desired functional effects" (Taggart, 1988, p. 75). The logical progression within PETE programs such as that at Ohio State, was to extend this perspective to the supervision of preservice teachers in the practicum setting. 5. Taggart (1988) offers a complete description of the PETE program designed by Siedentop at Ohio State University. 6. For a description of the ALT-PE instrument see Siedentop, Tousignant and Parker (1982). 33 Thus, a number of systematic observation7 instruments have been designed specifically for use with PETE preservice teachers during the practicum experience (Borys, 1986; Darst, Mancini, and Zakrajsek, 1989; Mancini, Weust, and van der Mars, 1985; Oscansey, 1988). A major focus of these instruments has been on 'time' (e.g., how long pupils are actively engaged on a task during a P.E. lesson), or on the forms of verbal behavior preservice teachers exhibit (e.g., use of praise or corrective feedback). It is believed that a combination of carefully planned teaching experiences and the provision of accurate feedback about an individual's performance during these experiences, makes it possible to isolate and modify those skills deemed to be important in developing efficient and effective teachers of physical education. In Tinning's (1988) opinion, an important but often overlooked consequence of this technical approach to the study of teaching in physical education, is the tendency of PETE programs to emphasize a doctrine of "going with what works." Tinning argues that this has resulted in many preservice teachers wasting much of their time and effort searching for the "cookbook" knowledge guide to classroom practice, and when they enter the practicum their actions are "guided primarily by tradition, circumstance, and external authority." Tinning claims these individuals respond by developing a "pedagogy of necessity" and have little if any sense of a "pedagogy of the possible" (p. 82). He also believes these programs can create a situation in which preservice teachers view their own practice as being relatively unproblematic. According to Tinning, many physical education preservice teachers believe that in order to improve the quality of their teaching and student learning, they must simply increase the academic learning time (ALT-PE) of each class they teach, the assumption being an increase in ALT-PE will result in more student learning. While Tinning might be guilty of being over-zealous in his critique of a technical approach, the caution he offers about the ideas implicit within such an orientation are worthy of note. VI. The Socialization Perspective in PETE Research In addition to research based upon a behavioral or technical orientation, many PETE 7. Systematic observation of teaching has a long history in research on teaching in physical education (e.g., Anderson, 1971, 1975; Cheffers, 1977) and in research on teaching in other fields (Evertson & Green, 1986, Rosenshine & Furst, 1973; Shavelson, Webb, and Burstein, 1986). It involves the use of an observation system to categorize teacher or student behavior and requires the direct observation of classes, either in person or by videotape. 34 researchers trying to understand how preservice teachers learn to teach have relied upon a theoretical framework provided by the body of research described as "teacher socialization" (Bain, 1990). Indeed, the publication of Socialization into Physical Education: Learning to Teach (Templin and Schempp, 1989) testifies to the identification of socialization research as an important approach in studying PETE programs and preservice teachers within such programs. The socialization perspective was first introduced into the physical education literature in the early 1970's (Burlingame, 1972; Pooley, 1972). Although, at this time, several studies were conducted using this socialization perspective, no programs of research were undertaken that were comparable to those based on behavior analysis. Since the mid 1980's however, socialization research has provided one of the most inclusive theoretical frameworks for examining the process of 'becoming a physical education teacher'. Following the lead of Hal Lawson (1983a, 1983b, 1985, 1986, 1988, 1989) and Tom Templin (1979,1981, 1982, 1989), several researchers have since used this socialization perspective to try and gain insights into how preservice teachers and beginning (first three years) teachers learn to teach physical education. It could be argued that in many instances studies carried out under the banner of teacher socialization are based upon the same theoretical foundation as those situated within the behaviorist tradition. Early research on the socialization of physical education teachers was heavily deterministic, and portrayed preservice teachers as passive individuals whose primary task was adjusting to external forces, being either sculpted by the past or pressed into shape by the future (Goodman, 1988). This functionalist orientation viewed preservice teachers as, in the old fashioned sense of the word, "apprentices" who were to be moulded to reproduce the practice of an experienced teacher. Consequently, although this orientation has some value in understanding the process of teacher development, it is limited because it fails to account for individual variations. For example, when Tabachnick and Zeichner (1984) looked specifically at studies which examined the impact of the practicum experience on the teaching perspectives held by preservice teachers, they concluded a major weakness of this research was the existence 35 of individual teachers who did not fit the dominant pattern of teacher development. They concluded, ... our findings ... support a view of [preservice] teacher socialization as a more negotiated and interactive process where what [preservice teachers] bring to the experience gives direction to, but does not necessarily determine the outcome of the socialization process (Tabachnick and Zeichner, 1984, p. 34). As research on PETE students began to accumulate, it became increasingly evident that preservice teachers were active agents in their own socialization, deciding which beliefs and behaviors would be acquired and which would be ignored (Graber, 1991; Zeichner and Gore, 1990). When individuals push back against the forces of socialization in such a way, the process may properly be called dialectical. As a result a second orientation towards the process of teacher socialization has been generated. Known as the dialectical orientation, it builds upon the ideas expressed by Tabachnick and Zeichner (1984) and challenges the deterministic nature of the previous functionalist approach. It provides a more comprehensive theory of socialization by acknowledging the constraints produced by existing social structures, but at the same time accepts, ... the active role individuals play in the construction of their own professional identities ... that the individual is a creator as well as a recipient of values ... [and] emphasizes the interplay between individuals and institutions... to include both the context of learning to teach and the teacher's perception of that task (Ross, 1988, p. 102). Graham (1991) declares that a dialectical view of pre-service development assumes "the individual plays an active role in determining his or her destiny as a teacher... thus learning to teach is viewed as a dynamic, interactive process" (p. 2). This extension of the teacher socialization framework for examining how physical education preservice teachers learn to teach has resulted in increased attention on how preservice teachers acquire the beliefs, values and understandings which guide their practice. As Schempp and Graber (1992) indicate, "understanding the making of a teacher from a dialectical perspective makes possible new insights into how and why individuals are recruited, 36 prepared, and inducted into teaching physical education" (p. 330). Consequently, from this dialectical orientation, of particular interest in physical education research has been (a) the development of beliefs about teaching physical education (Carlson, 1994; Hutchinson, 1993; Schempp, 1986), (b) why individuals elect to become physical education teachers (Dewar, 1989; Hutchinson, 1991; 1993; Templin, 1989), (c) the study of behaviors and beliefs of those enrolled in PETE programs (Doolittle, Dodds and Placek, 1993; Placek et al, 1995; Graber, 1989, 1991), and (d) induction into the workplace (O'Sullivan, 1989; Schempp, 1990; Sparkes and Templin, 1992; Stroot, Faucette and Schwager, 1993; Templin, Sparkes and Schempp, 1991; Williams and Williamson, 1993)8. It is interesting to note that this research has also begun to reveal several differences which appear to exist between the experiences of those learning to teach physical education and regular classroom subjects. For example, Schempp (1989) found that during their experiences as students in secondary school, many prospective physical education teachers did not form an identification with either their future profession or its members. Schempp also notes that unlike the regular classroom teachers in Lottie's (1975) study, the future educators in his study seldom believed they were in the presence of a master teacher. Consequently, they appeared to rely heavily upon personal likes and interests for selecting pedagogical practices to emulate and for constructing an occupational belief system. It may also be the case that for many preservice physical education teachers, coaches rather than teachers provide the most influential models for their future practice. A further difference between physical education and classroom teachers was uncovered by several researchers who have examined the induction phase (years one through three) of a teacher's career. This induction phase is often depicted as a survival period that is full of problems (Bullough, Knowles, and Crow, 1989). In his analysis Lottie (1975) described teacher induction as a "sink or swim" period for teachers. Indeed, the pervasiveness of these descriptions in the literature would lead one to assume that 8. The studies listed in this section are by no means exhaustive. They are representative of those which have used a sociological orientation in conducting research on teaching physical education. 37 teachers encounter something close to a baptism by fire particularly during their first year on the job. According to Schempp and Graber (1992), however, evidence that is beginning to accumulate specific to physical education does not support this assumption. Both O'Sullivan (1989) and Krieder (1985) also provide data to challenge this assumption, indicating that the transition shock experienced by classroom teachers may not be characteristic of physical education teacher induction. It appears "that the dialectic stirred by the tensions of 1st-year teaching seems, at this point, relatively mild for physical education inductees" (Schempp and Graber, 1992, p. 343). They speculate that this might be partly a product of the marginal nature of physical education as an academic subject. Such status may lead to lower pedagogical expectations for educators (i.e., physical education is easy to teach and students aren't supposed to learn anything), which in turn could result in lower performance expectations and thus ease the entry process. In a similar vein, Sparkes, Templin and Schempp (1990) present an interesting account of how a large part of learning to teach physical education can be defined in terms of understanding what it means to have a career teaching a "marginal subject". They note how physical education teachers can often feel professionally devalued and ..unlikely.to remain committed to their subject, choosing instead to divert their energies into other areas of school life (Sparkes et al, 1990). In their analysis the authors state that it is hardly surprising, therefore, that many teachers devote much of their time to producing successful sport teams and high level performers that bring prestige to a school. Unfortunately, the "high levels of commitment towards practical performance and extra-curricular activities, particularly during the early phases of a career, may act to reinforce the image of P.E. teachers as non-academic and marginal" (Sparkes, et al, 1990, p. 15). There may be evidence to suggest that there are factors in the process of learning to teach physical education that are unique to this subject area. Thus, the practical knowledge which physical education teachers use to guide their practice and the types of problems they confront, may well be qualitatively different from that of a classroom teacher. While still in its infancy, there is some research which has begun to examine and explore these questions. 38 VII. Research on Teaching Physical Education: Where Next? For a number of years questions such as what management strategies are most effective in controlling students, or how can the time-on-task be increased of students while practicing skills, have been at the center of this research of teaching physical education. According to Griffey (1991), however, there is now the need to move beyond these technical issues. In its place PETE researchers should begin to explore questions such as what ought physical education teachers to do to help students who are having difficulty in their subject, or how can preservice teachers be encouraged and assisted to develop knowledge about teaching within the complex setting of their practicum experience. Indeed, more specifically, Griffey (1991) recommends that research in physical education should, move into the provocative realm of what Shulman has called pedagogical content knowledge ... the kind of knowledge that helps teachers develop meaningful analogies, examples, activities, metaphors and demonstrations that move students to success ... Research on teaching physical education must move in the direction of understanding the representations teachers employ in helping students who are having difficulty (p. 383). This recommendation was also endorsed by Rovegno (1989) who has developed a productive research program focusing specifically on the knowledge growth of physical education preservice teachers. In summarizing some of the research undertaken in this area Rovegno writes, ... one emerging finding is that the quality of context-specific knowledge appears to play an important role in being and becoming competent. Thus, to better understand how teachers learn to teach, research focusing on teachers' context-specific knowledge and its development seems timely and important (p. 1). While some studies have been conducted to examine the knowledge growth of physical education teachers (see Barrett and Collie, 1996; Griffey, Hacker, & Housner, 1988; Ennis, Mueller, & Zhu, 1991; Hastie, 1996; Walkwitz & Lee, 1992), many have relied upon more quantitative methodologies and mindsets. For example, a number of 39 researchers have concentrated on attempting to identify the differences that exist between novice and experienced teachers (see Solmon & Lee, 1991), while others have compared physical education specialist and non-specialist teachers in terms of the effective teaching behaviors they exhibit (see Block & Beckett, 1990; Faucette & Patterson, 1990). While they have employed more sophisticated quantitative data gathering and analysis techniques, this work is not dissimilar to the earlier behavioristic studies of teachers, in that they seek to isolate and identify the characteristics of the best teachers. As was mentioned earlier, one of the few investigators to focus specifically on the knowledge growth of preservice physical education teachers is Inez Rovegno (1992a, 1992b, 1993a, 1993b, 1993c, 1993d). Based upon a theoretical backdrop of knowledge development as a constructive process, and using qualitative data collection and analysis techniques, Rovegno has begun to investigate what and how physical education preservice teachers learn during their teacher education programs. For example, in discussing the findings from one study she notes all participants, ... discussed the development of pedagogical content knowledge as a salient factor in ..-learning to teach elementary physical education ... [its development] in this study meant coming to know content from the new perspective of a teacher and discovering the relations among teaching, content, how children learn, context and individual teaching capabilities and goals (Rovegno, 1992a, p. 72). In another study Rovegno (1993c) examined the decisions preservice teachers made about task content and progression while teaching several physical education units in an elementary school setting. As Rovegno stated, the way a teacher divides up and sequences the subject matter they are to teach, should be in accord with the nature of their knowledge about the discipline and their understanding of how students learn that subject matter (p. 4). In her study, the method commonly employed to teach certain skills (e.g., bumping in volleyball), was to break the skill down into discrete units and have the students practice before moving on to the next level of skill complexity. This she concludes, is indicative of the way physical education teachers commonly think about their content. Rovegno concludes, however, that this might not necessarily be the best way to proceed. She argues for an alternate approach whereby students could be taught 40 the "ability to adjust accurately to the changing perceptual environment and make appropriate strategy decisions before they develop movement pattern efficiency" (p. 34). That is, teach strategy first and skill second. By doing so, Rovegno believes preservice teachers could be assisted to develop a "deeper and richer understanding of physical education and physical activity" (p. 38). Drawing upon the distinction created by Fenstermacher (1994), the program of research being pursued by Rovegno is one of the few which seeks to investigate the knowledge which physical education teachers preservice teachers generate for themselves as a result of their everyday experiences in school. It is interesting to note that much of Rovegno's work with preservice teachers has been conducted in and around the action setting of the practicum experience. Rovegno (1993a) argues these situations are crucially important for physical education preservice teachers because they provide opportunities for these individuals to "learn the 'language of practice' and develop action forms of pedagogical content knowledge, that is, the development of the ability to observe and teach specific movement content. [These are] critical aspects of learning to teach for preservice teachers. ... That PETE majors talked about the importance of learning through experience is in keeping with the accumulating research on the nature of teachers' knowledge and its development (p. 637). As Carter (1990) states, researchers have only just begun to investigate teachers' knowledge and how that knowledge is acquired. In the discipline of physical education this would appear to be particularly true. The limited number of studies conducted in this area is evidenced by the fact that neither Bain's (1990) review of PETE research, nor Silverman's (1991) summary of research on teaching in physical education, makes any reference to this topic. Therefore, following Rovegno's lead, the current study is one of an increasing number that are exploring the area of teacher's knowledge and how that knowledge is acquired in the context of teaching physical education. The present study is situated within the everyday experiences of four physical education preservice teachers as they undertake an extended practicum experience in a secondary school. The study is grounded in the belief that preservice teachers are active participants in the construction of valuable knowledge about teaching. This perspective emphasizes the extent to which 41 knowledge construction and use in teaching is dependent upon the individual's comprehension and interpretation of their practice. As Rovegno (1992a) states, "showing and telling preservice teachers how to teach content will not be sufficient to insure transfer to field settings. The development of pedagogical content knowledge for use includes actively perceiving and teaching that content" (p. 80). In the "retrieval and review' section of a recent volume of the Journal of Teaching in Physical Education, Locke (1997) presented an abstract of a research article by Hastie (1996). Hastie's article was titled "The effect of teacher content knowledge on accountability in instructional tasks", and Locke justified its inclusion in his research and retrieval section because, "it represents a relatively rare inquiry into the significance of subject matter knowledge in teaching physical education" (p. 253). While Bain (1990) may have been justified in telling us "qualitative research has arrived in sport and physical education", its progress has been slow and it still has a long way to progress. 42 C H A P T E R 3 RESEARCH METHOD This chapter documents the method used to conduct the current study and outlines reasons for the appropriateness of this method in carrying out the investigation. The chapter is divided into three sections. The first section contains a description of the research method. It outlines the methodological approach, explains why a qualitative case study method was used, offers a definition of characteristics of qualitative case studies, and describes how the participants were invited to be part of the study. This section also presents a brief description of the context of the teacher education program in which the participants were engaged. The second section provides details of the data collection procedures that were employed and the specific data sources for the study. Finally, the third section reports the data analysis procedures that were used and how the cases within the study have been constructed. I. Research Method A Case Study Approach The rationale for the design of a research method is dictated by the nature of what is being studied and the underlying goals of the research. According to Zeichner (1986), research that seeks to understand the practicum experience as ah occasion for preservice teachers to 'learn to teach' "must reflect in its conceptualization and methodology the dynamic and multidimensional nature of the event being studied" (p. 19). The primary focus of this study is the ways in which physical education preservice teachers make sense of their practicum experience. Therefore, the data collection and analysis methods should attempt to re-present this sense making activity. Consistent with this requirement, the methods used to collect data for this study were those associated with qualitative field studies (Bogdan & Biklen, 1982; Goetz & LeCompte, 1984; Hammersley & Atkinson, 1983). Merriam (1988) indicates that when asking questions that focus on process rather than outcome or product, an interpretive (qualitative) approach or perspective is particularly appropriate. This perspective emphasizes the meanings that individuals give 43 to objects or events, and the uniqueness of contexts within which these events take place. Qualitative researchers typically seek to explore the "multiple realities" (Bogdan & Biklen, 1982) which exist within a given social setting, their purpose being "to provide descriptive data about the context, activities and beliefs of participants in educational settings" (Goetz & LeCompte, 1984, p. 17). This study focuses on a specific context, namely the extended practicum experience of four secondary level physical education preservice teachers. It examines the knowledge they construct during this experience as well as the reasons for its construction. From this perspective the preservice teachers are viewed as possessors and creators of knowledge. There are several reasons why a qualitative methodology was felt to be appropriate in conducting this study. First, the use of fieldwork permitted myself, the researcher, to examine the occurrence of events within the context of the practicum setting. The practicum is a dynamic and fluid experience in which preservice teachers are constantly adjusting their practice in light of past events, the present context, and their future goals. The knowledge and understanding which guides this process is important to this study and can only be explored in situ. Second, a qualitative methodology allowed the meanings attached to these events to be explored from the perspective of the participants. In contrast, research characterized as 'process-product' tends to focus on outcomes and can ignore the meanings individuals attach to particular events. Third, this methodology allowed for the combination of a number of data gathering techniques, which in turn allowed a form of analysis grounded in the recorded data. This research study employs a case study method. Case studies are generally embedded within a broader sphere of research most often referred to as 'qualitative' or 'naturalistic' inquiry. As Louden (1989) noted in his study which examined the changes in an individual classroom teacher's knowledge and practice, ... the advantage of case study research on teaching is that it fully elaborates the contextual details of teaching which makes so much difference to the meaning practitioners make of their work. The expansiveness of case study research allows the particulars of a teacher's practice to emerge in a fully elaborated context (p. 320). 44 Characteristics of the Case Study Method There is a general consensus that the philosophical assumptions underlying the case study method are those common to qualitative inquiry. Case study research takes place in a natural setting and strives for a holistic interpretation of the phenomenon under study. Further, case studies generate the potential for understanding a situation and its meaning from the perspective of those being studied (Merriam, 1991). Qualitative researchers adhere to the belief that the behavior of human beings in a given social setting is relatively meaningless without some understanding of the meanings that those who are being observed attach to their behavior (Rogers, 1984). A further definitive feature of case studies is that the focus of inquiry should be a "bounded system." According to Adelman, Jenkins and Kemmis (1980) the most straightforward examples of a bounded system "are those in which the boundaries [of the case] have a common sense obviousness, for example, an individual teacher, a single school, or perhaps an innovatory programme" (p. 49). A word of caution, however, is offered by Wilson and Gudmundsdottir (1987) who argue that when a researcher sets out to generate rather than verify theory, identifying the boundaries of a case can be a much more slippery issue than it first appears. In such situations "the definition of a case is as much a product of the research as it is a predetermined construct" (Wilson & Gudmundsdottir, 1987, p. 44). In their description of the "Knowledge Growth in Teaching" project at Stanford University, Wilson and Gudmundsdottir (1987) present an excellent example of how the boundaries of a case evolved and changed as the researchers became entangled in the processes of data collection and analysis, and eventually case writing. As they moved through this process the researchers in the Stanford project began to focus on the concept of subject matter transformation, out of which emerged a way of knowing which they called "pedagogical content knowledge". The Participants Initially, a group of physical education preservice teachers undertaking a secondary level teaching methods class was approached as potential volunteer participants for the study. During their methods classes I acted as a participant / teaching assistant, and at a time convenient to the course conductor I presented a brief description of the proposed study. This was supplemented by a one page written outline describing the project and 45 asking for volunteers. Over the course of the following week eleven potential participants indicated an interest and were willing to meet for further clarification and discussion about the nature of the study. After a meeting with this entire group, seven participants expressed a continued interest to be part of the study. Subsequently, two of these seven were eliminated as potential participants due to the geographic location of their practicum site.9 From the remaining five participants, final selection was made by myself based upon my perception of the their enthusiasm to be part of the study, their willingness to be videotaped, and location of their practicum sites in relation to each another. Once the four participants for the study had been identified, entry into each practicum site was individually negotiated with their sponsor teachers. Participants were asked to speak with their sponsor about the study. It was felt that asking the participants to make the initial introduction of the study to their sponsor would help to establish in a sponsor's mind the value and non-threatening nature of the research. After this information had been shared between the participants and their respective sponsors, I visited each school —and offered a more detailed explanation of the study. At this stage I also notified each participant's university faculty advisor about the preservice teachers participation in the study. During the practicum all visits to a school were coordinated so as not to clash with a visit by the university faculty advisor. Context of the Teacher Education Program This section offers a brief description of the design and nature of the teacher education program in which the participants were engaged. It is presented at this juncture to provide the reader with additional insights as to the kinds of experiences the participants had undertaken as part of their professional preparation prior to the practicum itself. Prior to entry into the teacher education program secondary level teachers must have completed a degree in their chosen teaching field. Each of the participants in this study 9. Their practicum location of these potential participants was located several hours driving distance from the university. 46 had completed an undergraduate degree in the University of British Columbia School of Physical Education and Recreation (since renamed the School of Human Kinetics). A l l had been enrolled in the instruction and coaching strand of the school's physical education degree program. A number of the courses within this program are designed specifically to focus on issues of teaching or coaching effectiveness, and one course also includes a component of time in an instructional environment i.e, either in school or a coaching situation. A l l physical education preservice teachers are also required to teach a second concentration or teaching area. Of the four participants in this study, two had chosen social studies, one english, and one science. The secondary level teacher education program in which the participants were enrolled takes twelve months to complete. Upon completion candidates receive a Bachelor of Education (Secondary) degree and are certified to teach within the province of British Columbia. The selected program of studies within the year long program is tightly structured and sequenced. The basic program sequence takes place in three broad time segments: Term 1 (September - December); Term 2 (January - April); Term 3 (May - August). Term 1 - Prospective teachers undertake an intensive period of coursework during which they are introduced to the "theoretical bases of modern educational practice and to strategies and methods of teaching" (Student Handbook, 1992, p. 15). Midway through this term preservice teachers participate in a two-week school experience at the same site as their future extended practicum. During this first term of study, physical education preservice teachers complete their only subject specific teaching methods class. Term 2 - This term begins with a concentrated two-week communications course. Attention is given to each individual's interpersonal and communication skills in relation to the demands of the secondary classroom. The remainder of the term is spent undertaking an extended (13 week) practicum experience. "Student teachers who have successfully completed the thirteen-week practicum will have demonstrated that they can independently plan, implement, and evaluate instruction over substantial periods of time" (Student Handbook, 1992, p. 21). The teaching load for a preservice teacher during their thirteen week practicum is gradually phased-in until an 80% load had been reached e.g., 47 teaching 6 out of 8 blocks. For the four participants in this study their was a good deal of variation in manner in which their teaching loads were phased-in. For example, both Kate and Trevor moved quite quickly to a full student teaching load, while Mary and John adhered more closely to the policy guidelines provided by the university. Physical education preservice teachers also have to teach in a second subject area. Of the four participants in this study, two taught social studies (Mary and Trevor), one taught science (John), and one taught english (Kate). Term 3 - Following completion of the practicum preservice teachers return to the university for a second period of intensive coursework. Courses are designed to assist individuals to put "their teaching competence in a more comprehensive framework of knowledge and understanding" (Student Handbook, 1992, p. 15). Courses include School Organization in its Social Context, Educational Psychology (Learning, Measurement and Teaching), Educational Studies (Philosophy, History or Sociology of Education), and English Education (Language Across the Curriculum). My Role as Researcher within the Practicum - Throughout the study (before, during, and after the practicum) I spent time attempting to develop a trusting relationship with each of the four participants. I believe I was successful in achieving this goal. Two of the four participants obtained teaching positions in the lower mainland area of British Columbia and remained in contact with me during their first two years within the profession. This relationship was extended still further with one participant, with whom I have since collaborated in designing and helping to implement a professional growth plan. This relationship building process was certainly helped by the fact I had previously taught a class in the physical education undergraduate program in which three of the four participants had been enrolled. During the initial meetings I stressed to each participant that I had a completely non-evaluative role within the practicum experience, and that I would not be involved in any way in the evaluation procedures conducted within the supervisory triad (preservice teacher, faculty advisor and sponsor teacher). There can be little doubt that for many preservice teachers the practicum is a stressful experience, a situation caused in large part by the constant evaluation of their practice by 48 sponsor teachers and university faculty advisors. I believe that attempting to fulfill the dual role of faculty advisor and researcher could potentially have resulted in the participants being less open and honest in what they discussed during our numerous on-site meetings. It is my belief that adopting a non-evaluative position within the practicum further assisted in the establishment of a suitable level of trust between the participants and myself. It should be noted, however, that although I took a non-evaluative role within the practicum the relationship was such that, when requested, I offered advice or encouragement to each of the participants. For example, on one occasion Trevor asked for resources to teach a tennis unit, while on another I assisted Kate in planning a soccer unit. It should be emphasized that this help was offered only when requested by a participant. In addition, I stressed that any ideas being offered were "only suggestions" and that participants had to decide for themselves on the appropriateness of their use. Overall, while it would be naive to claim my presence as a researcher did not in some way affect the teaching practices of each participant, such interventions were not part of the agenda for this study. It is possible some changes took place simply as a result of my asking the participants to think and talk about their experiences. However, on the . .occasions I was asked to provide feedback.or an.opinion I did so willingly, being cognizant that I did not in any way undermine the relationship they had developed with their sponsor teacher or faculty advisor. Over the course of the study, I believe this situation also contributed to the strength of the relationship created between each participant and myself. II. Methods of Data Collection In many ways the methods for collecting data in qualitative case study research can be somewhat eclectic. The fundamental techniques relied upon for gathering information for this study were lesson observation, in depth interviewing, and video and stimulated recall sessions. A l l data collected during the study was done so at the convenience of the participants. During the practicum the majority of the data collection took place at each school site, although four of the stimulated recall sessions (one each for Kate, John and two for Trevor) took place at alternate sites, that is, their own homes after school. In summary, the data were collected in three phases: before, during and after the practicum. 49 Phase One - Pre-practicum Interview One interview was conducted with each participant prior to their practicum. A series of questions was used to form the basis of these interviews and focused on the participant's teaching background, their current beliefs about teaching physical education, and what they hoped to accomplish during the practicum experience. These interviews were consistent with standard interview protocols and techniques (Mishler, 1986; Spradley, 1979). Each of these interviews was fully transcribed and a copy of the transcript was given to each participant for clarification or elaboration as they saw fit. A follow-up discussion on the issue raised during the interview was also conducted for further clarification. Phase Two - Practicum Data Collection During the practicum data were collected through the use of semi-structured interviews / conversations, participant journal writing, observations of lessons taught by each participant, and videotape and stimulated recall sessions. On average each participant was visited a minimum once per week, although on those weeks when a videotape session took place this included a visit to videotape a lesson plus a follow stimulated recall session. Interviews - A major source of data for the study was interviews. Patton (1980) states, "the purpose of interviewing is to find out what is in and on someone else's mind... [and] to make it possible for the person being interviewed to bring the interviewer into his or her world" (p. 196). The interview questions were relatively open-ended and enabled the exploration of a few general topics. At the same time, participants were continually encouraged to discuss issues or topics that were of interest to them and from their perspective, not from my perspective as a researcher. As Patton (1980) notes, "the fundamental principle of qualitative interviewing is to provide a framework within which the respondents can express their own understandings in their own terms" (p. 205). It is important to recognize that within this study each interview took the form of a 'conversation' rather than a formal question and answer format. The conversational nature of these meetings was a deliberate strategy. I felt the continual use of formal interviews within the study might create a set of role expectations about what can or should be 50 discussed. For example, in an interview it is generally expected, and accepted, that the interviewer or researcher takes the lead for what is talked about while the interviewee follows the interviewer's lead, offering only information he or she feels is pertinent to the topic or question being discussed. In such circumstances the interview could develop into an artificial process in which the interviewee offers their best attempt at what it is he or she thinks the interviewer wants to hear. Clearly, this was a situation that I wanted to avoid in this study. A l l meetings were audio-tape recorded and transcribed for analysis. Generally, each interview began with a recap of the previous meeting which served as an opportunity for a participant to elaborate, confirm or correct what had previously been discussed. In addition, this preamble gave me the chance to test some of the 'sense making' I was building during the study. Participant Journals - In order to encourage participants to set the agenda for what was discussed during these interviews, throughout their practicum they were asked to maintain a notebook-style journal. During interviews each participant was asked to share ..the entries they had made since my previous visit. J had anticipated that these journal entries would serve as triggers to prompt and encourage participants to talk about their practicum experiences. In most instances this proved to be true, and the journals were a successful tool. In addition to using the journal to initiate a conversation with a participant, there were occasions when the I read a journal prior to a meeting and tried to construct some questions around issues they had identified over a series of entries. These questions, however, were never used until the final stages of a meeting. While I emphasized to the participants that this notebook was not intended to be a reflective style journal, two participants (Kate and John) made extensive use of them in this manner. Lesson Observations - Marshall and Rossman (1989) describe observation as entailing, "the systematic description of events, behaviors and artifacts in the social setting chosen for the study." They also caution researchers about making the assumption that behavior is always purposeful and indicative of an individual's deeper values and beliefs. While I observed several lessons taught by each of the participants, these observations were not regarded as a major source of data for the study. They did, however, provide me with 51 questions or issues which I could explore with each participant during an interview. Again, any questions which arose in this manner were held in abeyance until later in the interview process. Further, as I did not want to appear to be continually writing during these observation sessions, on a number of occasions field notes were written after an observation session. Video and Stimulated Recall Sessions During the practicum I arranged to videotape each participant on four occasions as they taught a physical education lesson. In an effort to nullify for pupils the novelty of being videotaped two precautions were taken. First, during all of the videotape sessions the same class was filmed. Second, the first of the four videotaped lessons was not used as part of the stimulated recall process. The aim of the first videotaped session was to assist in acclimatizing pupils to the presence of myself and the camera. Thus, the first videotape was simply given to each participant to view at their leisure. After the first videotape, sessions two, three and four were followed by a stimulated recall session. A stimulated recall session took place within two days of the original lesson and at a time which was convenient to the participant. While watching the video of the lesson participants were encouraged to "talk out loud" about their actions or comments while teaching. These post lesson stimulated recall sessions were audio taped and fully transcribed. Again, to encourage the participants to set the agenda for what was discussed, they had control of the video and stopped and started the videotape at sections which were of interest to them. During the videotaping of these lessons the camera focused primarily on the instruction and actions of the participant. Each was connected to an F M wireless microphone so that the verbal interaction between the participant and their students could be recorded. Phase Three - Post-practicum An interview was conducted with each participant approximately one month after the completion of the practicum experience. The interview was a mix of structured, open ended, and participant directed questions / discussion. I also used this interview as an 52 opportunity to check some of the initial data analysis from each case. III. Data Analysis In many respects, within qualitative case study research data collection and analysis occur simultaneously (Strauss, 1987). As Hammersley and Atkinson (1983) note, ... [Data analysis] begins in the pre-fieldwork phase, in the formulation and clarification of research problems, and continues into the process of writing up. Formally, it starts to take shape in analytic notes and memoranda; informally, it is embodied in the [researcher's] ideas, hunches, and emergent concepts. In this way the analysis of data feeds into the process of research design... Theory building and data collection are diametrically linked, (p. 174). Data analysis for this study was based upon a "constant comparative" method (Glaser & Strauss, 1967; Lincoln and Guba, 1985). Initially, all interviews and stimulated recall sessions were fully transcribed. Through careful reading and rereading of the data, interesting, puzzling or surprising patterns were identified within the data. Rather than fitting the data into previously defined categories of analysis this method of analysis allows categories or 'themes' to emerge from the data. No a priori constructs drawn form the literature were used to guide the analysis. According to Grove (1988) "an inherent problem with the constant comparative method is that the researcher is engaged in using his or her own schemata to induce logically a reasonable reconstruction of the schemata of another person" (p. 279). In essence, Grove's statement is raising the issue of internal validity as it applies to this kind of qualitative case study research. Therefore, a crucial test of this form of analysis is whether the participants whose beliefs and understanding I purport to describe, recognize the validity of those accounts. With this in mind, throughout the study I endeavored to explore with each participant some of the "sense making" I was building from the various sources of data that were being collected. In addition, the writing of each case relies heavily upon excerpts from the interviews conducted with each participant. These findings are presented primarily in a narrative form, with examples of the data being used to clarify and demonstrate patterns and themes. The excerpts have a persuasive function within the text of the thesis, in that they 53 present ways in which the participants themselves described their experiences. Data Analysis Procedures There were three levels of data transformation (Novak & Gowin, 1984): production of verbatim transcripts, the initial framing of potential themes or categories of descriptive data based upon excerpts from the various data sources, and the development of a framework to illustrate the relationship among the themes. The first level of data transformation was the full transcription of the interviews and stimulated recall discussions. Where necessary, any specific responses or issues which required further clarification were identified for use in subsequent sessions. The second level required careful reading and rereading of the transcripts. As this process occurred, key words or descriptive phrases were attached to particular sections of the transcript. In doing so categories or themes within data were tentatively identified and developed in relation to the two research questions. Blumer (1954) refers to these as "sensitizing concepts." They "are an important starting point... the germ of emerging theory, and. they provide the focus for further data collection" (Hammersley & Atkinson, 1983, p. 180). For example, in the case of Kate, early in her practicum she made several references to her comfort in teaching gymnastics and the fact that she felt positive about her teaching of this content. Later, when teaching athletics, she returned to this issue noting how this content was much more difficult to teach and that she was concerned about her unfamiliarity with many of the athletic events she had to cover. These comments 'sensitized' me to the possible importance of this issue in Kate's practicum. Later, when Kate talked about her comforts and concerns in teaching particular content, she noted how her depth of understanding about the content had a direct impact upon the way she taught particular content. Thus, the factor of content knowledge appeared to be prominent in her growth as a beginning teacher. In the case of Kate, content knowledge was a 'sensitizing' category within the data, and I was able to search for other occasions when this issue surfaced within the collected data. The careful sorting and 'cutting and pasting' of the data segments in this manner allowed them to be compared and contrasted across the study and contributed to a third level of transformation. 54 The third level of transformation involved looking for dominant trends and patterns within the study as a whole. It is at this level that claims were made about the nature of the practical knowledge constructed by preservice teachers. In reading the thesis one should be aware that the first two levels of transformation are represented almost exclusively within the four specific case studies. The third level is reported in the final chapter where results from the four cases are drawn together and any substantive issues arising from the study are discussed. It should be stressed that within this analysis process my own conduct was informed by both the research questions guiding the study and by insights emanating from the literature. It should be also be understood that the outcomes described in the study are based upon the participants responses to questions or issues that were discussed, and not upon analytical categories that were defined in advance of the data collection. Member Checks In case study research a specific challenge is to capture and present the world as it appears to the people in it. As Walker (cited in Merriam, 1988) comments, "in a sense for the case study worker what seems true is more important than what is true." The qualitative researcher is interested in perspectives rather than truth per se, and it is the researcher's obligation to present "a more or less honest rendering of how informants actually view themselves and their experiences" (Taylor & Bogdan, 1984, p. 98). To assist this process a member checking technique was used whereby, at several stages during the research, recorded data (e.g., transcripts) and interpretations of the data were presented to the participants. Participants were asked to comment on the plausibility and accuracy of the interpretations that were being made by myself. In addition, as a case was being formally written each participant was provided with an opportunity to comment upon the analysis being constructed. Generalizing from Case Study Research While they have gained a position of acceptance within the educational community, case studies have not escaped the same criticisms as those aimed at qualitative research in general. A recurring question revolves around the issue of to what extent the findings of a 55 case study can be believed, or how applicable are the findings from one case study to another setting? While researchers operating within the "quantitative" research tradition would respond by referring to techniques such as sampling theory, probability statistics and statistical significance, such procedures are not readily applicable to emerging notions of qualitative inquiry, as exemplified by case studies. Of particular importance is the issue of generalizability. Because qualitative case study research is based upon a different set of philosophical assumptions, the problem of generalization can only be discussed if it is reframed to reflect the assumptions which underlie this form of educational research. Rather than transplanting statistical or quantitative notions of generalizability and finding qualitative research to be adequate or inadequate, it only makes sense to develop an understanding of generalization that is congruent with the basic characteristics of qualitative inquiry. One way in which the generalizability issue can be addressed as it pertains to qualitative case study research, is through a case-to-case transference of results. "Case-to-case transfer occurs whenever a person in one setting considers adopting a program or idea from another one" (Firestone, 1993, p. 17.)...In such circumstances "it is the reader who has to ask, what is there in this study which I can apply to my own situation, and what clearly does not apply" (Walker, 1980, p. 34). Thus, "as readers recognize essential similarities to cases of interest to them, they establish the basis for naturalistic generalization" (Stake, 1978, p. 7). These, ... naturalistic generalizations develop within a person as a product of experience. They derive from the tacit knowledge of how things are why they are, how people feel about them, and how things are likely to be later on, or in other places with which this person is familiar. They seldom take the form of predictions but lead regularly to expectation (Stake, 1980, p. 6). According to Stake (1980) this is a particularly appropriate way to think about the conduct and use of research in education, because in many respects it mirrors the ways in which the audience who will read such cases have developed their own understandings about this field of study. Firestone (1993) reminds us, however, that while the transfer of 56 findings from one case study to another is done by the reader, "the researcher has an obligation to provide a rich, detailed, thick description of the case" (p. 18). He also suggests that the researcher has a responsibility to be explicit about the theoretical frame being used to interpret the data so that the reader can judge claims being made. A further way in which case study research can address the issue of generalizability is through the process of "analytic generalization". According to Yin (1989), "in analytic generalization the investigator is striving to generalize a particular set of results to a broader theory" (p. 44). Consequently, "when one generalizes to a theory, one uses the theory to make predictions and then confirm those predictions" (Firestone, 1993, p. 17). The researcher uses a newly constructed or previously developed theory as a template over which are placed the empirical results of their case study for comparison. This form of generalization is not automatic, however, and the theory must be tested through the replication of findings from other cases. Quite often, therefore, a researcher will choose to use a multi-case design for a study. If similar results are obtained from the cases then replication can be said to have taken place. Indeed, it has been argued the replication logic of a multi-case research design can make the evidence from these cases more compelling, and an overall study itself more robust. Case Writing The following four chapters (four through seven) each detail a particular case from the study. In the writing of a case specific reference has been made to the origin of the transcript excerpt and various data sources used within the writing (e.g., Int., Prac, Wk. 5). When reading a case this designation should be understood in the following manner: 1. The first component refers to the source of the data being used. Int. = Interview. Stim-recall = Stimulated recall session. Journal = Participants Journal Entry. 2. The second component refers to the data collection phase. Pre-prac. = Prior to the practicum experience. Prac. = During the thirteen week practicum. 57 Post-prac. = After the completion of the practicum. 3. The third component refers to the specific time period when the data were collected. Pre - indicates prior to the practicum. Wk. 3 - signifies the third week of the thirteen week practicum experience. Post - indicates after the completion of the practicum. Thus, for example, a designation within the text such as: Kate: You feel all surprised when it works because you think 'Wow', I thought this was so bad. But I've definitely realized it's a continuum and there's a time and place for teaching that way and it can work (Int., Prac, Wk. 5). indicates that this is a comment made by Kate during an interview in the fifth week of her practicum experience. The analysis of the data is presented in four chapters. Each case has been written as a separate chapter: Kate (chapter four), John (chapter five), Trevor (chapter six) and Mary (chapter seven). Each case begins by introducing the participant to the reader and presenting some background about their ideas on teaching and learning in physical education. For all the participants in this study, their personal biographies played an important role in their developing practice and knowledge as teachers. They each entered the practicum possessing ideas about teaching and the teacher's role, an image of their practice as a physical educator, and beliefs about the students they would teach. Following this introduction the main portion of each case is given to examining the practicum experience of each participant. Using transcript excerpts, the practical knowledge constructed during the practicum experience, along with the factors which affected the construction of this knowledge, are presented. Each chapter concludes with a summary of the most important points from the case, and serves to review and highlight these features for the reader. 58 When reading the four case studies it is important to keep in mind that when read in isolation, each provides only a partial answer to the research questions guiding the study. Only in chapter eight are the results from the four cases drawn together and any substantives issues arising from the study discussed. 59 C H A P T E R 4 T H E CASE OF K A T E I. Introduction This case is based upon the practicum experiences of Kate who was a preservice teacher undertaking her year of professional preparation at the University of British Columbia. Kate's practicum took place at Mountain View Junior High School in a district outside of Vancouver. During her practicum Kate's primary subject area was girls physical education (grades eight to ten). She also taught two blocks of English. Over the course of her practicum the content covered during the physical education lessons included units on gymnastics (floor routines), dance (square and country), track and field athletics and soccer. Except for the dance unit, all physical education classes at the school were separated into male or female groups. In addition to her teaching responsibilities Kate took on the task of organizing a lunch-hour weight training workshop which occurred twice a week. Kate's sponsor teacher was Emma, who also served as the head of the school's physical education department and had been teaching for eight years. Introducing Kate To 'be a teacher' was a long-standing and important goal for Kate. Talking with her before the practicum, however, it was apparent that teaching represented more than a simple career goal. Teaching provided Kate with the means to act upon her strong commitment to working with people. Kate commented that she had always wanted to do "a job where she could help others" and she believed teaching would provide her with an opportunity to achieve this objective - "teaching always just seemed to be something which I could see myself doing ... I've always wanted to do it. Just working with people is where I see myself" (Int., Pre-prac). To gain experience in her chosen profession, during both her high school and university undergraduate programs, Kate had worked in the community leadership positions as a coach, a lifeguard and a swimming instructor. She recalled: Kate: Ever since I was young I've always put myself in a position where I could teach. I would teach my brother and sister. I would make them sit at the 60 chalkboard in our basement ...[and] I've taught swimming lessons for seven years and I always enjoyed it. And I've found success in my eyes at it so that's why I've continued on (Int., Pre-prac). In trying to account for both her motivation to become a teacher and the specific beliefs she held about teaching, Kate was able to identify a number of factors. First, she felt her parents had been an important influence. Although now retired, they had both been teachers, and Kate recalled that during her childhood there had been a "positive learning atmosphere" within the home. She described how her parents would "help out with things I couldn't understand" and that they took a concerned but not overbearing interest in her learning. Kate was quick to point out, however, that she did not feel she had ever been pushed or guided into the teaching profession, "but I guess when you are around it [teaching] all the time because your parents are teachers, then something rubs off on you" (Int., Pre-prac). Second, Kate referred to her own experiences as a student in school and commented, "when I look back on my own high school experience it's been more positive than — negative ... learning was something I enjoyed".(Int., Pre-prac). As she highlighted what had been positive about this experience, Kate noted the role played by individual teachers who cared about her as a person observing: Kate: The one common denominator with all the teachers I can remember that really stands out in my mind as affecting me, and that I want to transfer on, is the fact that they really cared for me as an individual. That would probably be the thing that I hold to (Int., Pre-prac, emphasis in original). And later she commented, "I knew what teachers did that would push my buttons and make me do things, and which teachers would turn me off" (Int., Post-prac). Third, in addition to her experiences as a student, Kate, like many physical education preservice teachers, had also interacted with a number of coaches. Consequently it was not surprising to hear Kate draw upon these experiences in trying to account for the development of her own ideas about teaching physical education - "Watching how 61 coaches treated me and how I felt under their jurisdiction also influenced my expectations about teaching". For example: Kate: I can think of one swim coach who always stands out in my mind. He was really amazing. He was really enthusiastic and it was so genuine. I would like to be like that, but I am not sure I could pull it off... When I look back on my own education, I've had great coaches and great teachers in the past that have overshadowed the bad ones (Int., Pre-prac). A fourth factor which Kate said contributed to her decision to become a physical education teacher was her strong personal belief in the value of health and physical activity and her desire to see students make "active living an important priority in life" (Int., Pre-prac). Kate was quick to clarify, however, this belief should not be confused with a view that physical education classes should be used to develop high levels of personal fitness. According to Kate, to focus a physical education program on developing high levels of fitness would probably have the same effect as a program aimed towards producing elite performance. Such a program would put most kids in a position where they would probably fail. Rather: Kate: My basic thrust is I want to get them turned onto something about phys. ed. So that they can see some value in it and carry it on in their life. ... I can see the importance of being physically active to a person's health and mental welfare. Like this sounds so packaged ...[I want] them to see the value of finding the time to do some sort of physical activity (Int., Pre-prac). As will be shown later in this case, these biographical factors permeated Kate's practice as a teacher. They impacted how Kate interacted with the students, and how she designed her own lessons to enable her to begin to address these issues. In addition to describing these biographical components of her motivation to be a teacher, Kate was also able to articulate a relatively clear image of the type of teacher that she wanted to become. She stressed the importance of trying to avoid a situation in which she "appeared on a pedestal" above the students, and she emphasized her desire to "break down some of the barriers" which she felt commonly existed between the students and teachers. 62 Again, this image appeared to be firmly rooted in her prior pedagogical experiences. For example, rather than labelling herself as a 'teacher' Kate preferred to use the term "mentor" or "facilitator," and she described teaching and learning as a "collaborative effort" between the students and herself. According to Kate, the problem with using the word 'teacher' was that, for students, it created the impression of a top-down relationship with the teacher looking down upon the student - "When I think of the word teacher I think of teacher directedness because I see that happen so often in phys. ed. ... the teacher in charge making all the decisions.... That's what I really want to avoid" (Int., Pre-prac). Kate believed, however, that in order for physical education to affect the students in the way she wanted, it was essential to get the students to "trust her" and believe she would not place them in situations where they might "physically embarrass themselves": Kate: I mean the way most phys. ed. takes place every time girls put on their [P.E.] strip and walk into a gym it's like they are taking a risk. Right? ... I mean that just can't be a good situation to have and find I am really conscious of not hitting their self esteem (Int., Prac, Wk. 5). Kate argued if she could establish and sustain a trusting relationship with the students then they might respond by participating more openly and actively in a particular lesson and being willing to take risks in her physical education classes. Kate believed that, ultimately, this would result in them having a more positive learning experience. Consistent with these views about how she wanted to teach physical education, Kate stated that "each student should be treated as a unique individual ...[and] be respected for what they can do" (Int., Pre-prac.) rather than what the teacher thinks they should be able to accomplish. In Kate's opinion the majority of students, particularly females, were rarely afforded the opportunity to be successful in physical education. This situation was caused because these students could not achieve the exemplary levels of physical performance which most secondary school programs focused on trying to get students to produce. Kate noted how her own experiences as a student had been positive because she had been athletic and, therefore, "well liked" by her physical education teachers - "When we played volleyball I happened to be good at it so it was fun for me and I liked how the 63 teachers were with me" (Int., Pre-prac). Unfortunately, Kate also recalled how many of her friends "got turned off [P.E.] because they weren't at that [exemplary] level" and could never attain the goals which teachers set for them. This led Kate to declare: Kate: I think it's great if people go into elite sports but I don't see that as my primary role as a P.E teacher... as a P.E. teacher I want to see the fat kids on the side join in and have just as positive an experience as the kids who are good at it [physical education] (Int., Pre-prac). Throughout her practicum Kate held on passionately to her belief that physical education lessons should provide a fun and positive learning experience for all students, particularly those less athletically inclined. In one journal entry made during her practicum Kate elaborated upon this belief and wrote: Kate: I mention a lot that I want my classes to be 'fun' - but my objectives go beyond this. To elaborate, I want their P.E. classes to be fun learning experiences. But if my only concern was for my class to have fun then I'd - .... never do any prep - just walk in and throw them the ball and say 'have a game' or whatever, 'and if you don't want to play just sit around with your friends and talk.' No, my specific objectives differ with the activity, but the key point is I have specific learning objectives and I want them to be achieved with enjoyment (Journal, Prac, Wk. 4). Looking ahead to her practicum Kate was a little unsure about how certain factors or events within this experience might impact upon her development as a teacher. For example, Kate commented that the curriculum at the school was "pretty much defined in advance", and she felt "somewhat limited in terms of my freedom as to what I can teach" (Int., Pre-prac). Kate was equally unsure about how the students might respond to her approach to teaching physical education, or what their ability level would allow them to accomplish. Nevertheless she was generally enthusiastic and optimistic about having the opportunity to put some of her own ideas into action: Kate: By the end of the practicum I want to feel as if I'm really respected by my 64 students and actually getting somewhere with them. I want to walk out of this [practicum] with a good feeling about my choice of profession and the way I am heading as a teacher (Int., Pre-prac). Kate spent the first two weeks of her practicum observing and assisting Emma, her sponsor, to complete a basketball unit. She spent time "just looking at the boundaries she [Emma] set" for student behavior and "comparing her tolerance levels" for noise and behavior to those of her own (Int., Prac, Wk. 2). After the second week Kate assumed full responsibility for teaching the students. II. Analysis of the Case As Kate became fully immersed in her practicum she began to recognize several factors within her teaching which exerted a strong influence on the decisions she made about her 'practice'. Kate's recognition and understanding of these factors formed a large part of her growth as a teacher, and provided the basis for the "practical" knowledge she constructed during this experience. Three of these factors will be highlighted in this case. The first factor which appeared to become particularly important was Kate's increased and differentiated understanding of the content she was expected to teach. 1. Recognizing How Content Affects Practice Kate entered her practicum possessing a relatively clear idea of how she wanted to teach physical education. She quickly became conscious, however, that both the 'nature' of certain content in physical education and her 'depth' of understanding about this content, had a strong influence on both the teaching style she used and the pedagogical decisions she made about her practice. For example, Kate prepared a gymnastics unit based upon the belief she would be able to use a completely "student-centered" style of teaching. While she was able to move some way towards achieving this aim, as she actually engaged in teaching the unit Kate noted, "I'm finding that as I teach there are different times for different types of teaching approach ... like sometimes with new skills it really helps to be direct" (Int., Prac, Wk. 5). In a similar vein but for quite different reasons, during her teaching of a later unit on track and field athletics Kate commented, "some units lend themselves to being more teacher driven than I had thought. ... Most of [athletics] is skills oriented ... and also there is the safety aspect with things like throwing 65 and so a lot of the time you have to tell the kids what to do" (Int., Prac., Wk. 9.). Both of these examples begin to illustrate how Kate's growing understanding of the content of physical education, as defined by the context of the school in which she had to teach, informed the decisions she made about her practice. Kate summarized this development in the following statement: Kate: If I know the content I am able to focus more on working on the affective domain which is the domain I think is very important in teaching phys. ed. Like if I know the content I can get onto higher level things like how are they feeling or is this a positive experience? But when I don't know the content I feel insecure about myself so I'm more inwardly focused and I don't look at getting beyond the skills with the kids.... So for me, knowing the stuff I teach has to be a given so that instead of looking at skills I can think of other things (Int., Post-prac). To further explicate the development of this "practical knowledge" about teaching physical education=we will-examine Kate's teaching of these two content units; a gymnastics unit, in which she was very knowledgeable, and a track and field athletics unit, in which she was less knowledgeable. Taking Risks in Teaching Gymnastics The first unit Kate had responsibility to prepare and teach was gymnastics for a class of grade nine girls. In many secondary schools this activity generally consists of teaching students to perform on a variety of formal or Olympic gymnastic apparatus (e.g., vaulting, balance beam, pommel horse). In my own experience, a combination of students undergoing a period of rapid body growth, the lack of specialized equipment, and inadequate experience on the part of the teacher, has led to gymnastics being generally disliked by a majority of students. Indeed, prior to beginning her unit Kate "was told by other phys. ed. teachers that gymnastics is not an easy sport to teach" (Journal, Prac, Wk. 2), and where possible it had been avoided by other members of the department at Mountain View Junior High School. 66 Given this context, one might have expected Kate to adopt a conservative approach to teaching this unit by sticking closely to the department's curriculum guide, and using the lessons to prove to her sponsor and students she was a capable gymnasium manager. What followed, however, in the opinion of this researcher, was an innovative and creative unit in which Kate taught a series of lessons that adhered more closely to the principles of educational1 0 than formal gymnastics. Over the course of the unit Kate set students the task of working with a partner to create, choreograph, refine and perform a short gymnastic floor routine (approximately one minute) to the music of their choice. The routine had to include certain gymnastic elements (e.g., a number of rolls, jumps and balances), but the order and style of execution of each movement was in the hands of the students. In addition, Kate built into the unit opportunities for students to use some of the formal gymnastic apparatus, such as the balance beam. She emphasized to the students, however, that these activities were not the main focus of the unit and would not be used in the evaluation process. In preparing the unit Kate felt confident in her knowledge about gymnastics. She described herself having "a good feel for how things would go" (Int., Prac, Wk. 3) and for the kind of activities in which she could engage the students. Part of Kate's confidence stemmed from her previous experiences in gymnastics as a participant and coach at a local community club. Perhaps because of this background Kate challenged herself, and believed it would be possible, to teach the entire unit using a "student-centered" style of teaching. In justifying this decision Kate felt this was an appropriate and realistic goal because: Kate: With this activity [floor routines] and the way I have it there's not really one correct way to do it. So hopefully it will allow the students to be creative ...[and] I will be able to teach them in a way that helps them (Int., Prac, Wk. 3). 10. While formal gymnastics focuses on the execution of specific apparatus techniques, educational gymnastics is oriented towards helping students explore concepts such as movement and expression. It usually requires students, working individually or in small groups, to create patterns of movement into which they incorporate certain recognizable gymnastic skills such as balancing, jumping etc. 67 Kate's prior experiences also made her aware of certain obstacles she might encounter in trying to make the unit successful. For example, Kate indicated that one hurdle she would probably have to overcome was that gymnastics tended to be an "intimidating sport for kids, especially non-athletic kids" (Int., Prac, Wk 3) and particularly for female students. Kate also commented that she believed most students would not have experienced much success in their previous exposure to this activity. Interestingly, after her practicum when Kate looked back upon the unit as a whole, she said that she had taken both of these factors into consideration when she had designed the unit: Kate: Like in gymnastics I think there are a lot more psychological barriers you are dealing with ... I figured they would have all this baggage they would be coming in with from their past experiences in doing gymnastics that I would have to deal with when teaching it so I thought a lot about how to get around this to make sure they felt good about doing it (Int., Post). Kate also had a clear plan of how to evaluate the students. In a manner consistent with her beliefs about teaching she designed an assessment procedure which included direct input from the students. They had the opportunity to self-assess a videotape of their final performance (Kate requested me to videotape this final session which I willingly did). Kate also integrated other novel but important features into the unit. For example, to assist her to monitor how the students were feeling about the activities, she designed a small feedback sheet on which the students could periodically and anonymously respond to events that were taking place - "Of course this idea has its shortcomings, i.e., the students may not be honest etc. But it will be an interesting experiment and it will hopefully help some students" (Journal, Prac, Wk. 2). When she began the unit, initially the lessons did not flow as smoothly as Kate would have liked. She had anticipated that the students would respond enthusiastically to being given responsibility for their own progress. The students, however, found it difficult to work on their own initiative and often were unable to make progress in designing suitable routines. As Kate noted after her second lesson: 68 Kate: I was really unhappy with the lesson. It wasn't structured enough for beginning gymnasts -1 had them sort of experimenting in a scatter formation and I had envisioned everyone on-task ... in my eyes the lesson was a disaster (Journal, Prac, Wk. 3). What was equally troubling for Kate was the amount of time she spent during each lesson "putting out fires" and having to "take charge." Kate felt that over time this situation would undercut her efforts to develop a trusting or collaborative relationship with the students, something she believed to be important in her teaching. As she considered how to address these concerns, Kate realized that part of the problem was caused by the fact she had not taught the students how to take responsibility for their own learning. Therefore, rather than dismissing her objectives for the unit as too idealistic and guided by her previous experiences in coaching gymnastics, Kate felt comfortable in modifying the way in which she might achieve them: Kate: So I thought there has to be more than one way to skin-a-cat here. So I thought about how to change somethings ... [and] I felt ok doing this. I had a _ few ideas.about what to do. You know, teaching gymnastics is not new to me! (Int., Prac, Wk. 5). For example, Kate decided to change parts of her lesson outlines to incorporate what she described as a more "teacher directed" approach. This allowed her to present ideas to the students which they could work into their routines. Thus, Kate had been able to quickly identify the problem confronting her, and then develop an alternate plan of action for the remaining lessons: Kate: So I had to pull back and really change my approach for a time and get really teacher directed ...[but] I know I'll get more student centered later on again. ... Like this is just a step backwards now to take steps forward later. (Int., Prac, Wk. 5). As she implemented these changes Kate began to recognize that a "teacher directed" style of teaching appeared to have a valuable role to play in her practice. Prior to the 69 practicum she had dismissed this style as having little value in her teaching because it tended "to be too authoritarian" and it created a "them and us" relationship between students and teachers. After using this style to teach part of the unit Kate commented: Kate: You feel all surprised when it works because you think 'Wow', I thought this was so bad. But I've definitely realized it's a continuum and there's a time and place for teaching that way and it can work (Int., Prac, Wk. 5). Initially, this insight surprised Kate. She commented that during the university coursework component of her program "somehow the message has come across to me that teacher-directedness is ineffective and passe" (Journal, Wk. 3). When combined with her own beliefs about teaching, this message had reinforced her decision not to use such a direct style within her own practice. As she taught this unit, however, Kate later acknowledged that important practical decisions had to be made about how to teach certain content. Thus, Kate began to see the need to adjust her style in light of the nature of the content she was teaching, and her objectives for a particular lesson or unit. While these events could be interpreted as a preservice teacher subtly adopting a "pedagogy of necessity" ^Tinning, 1987), I do not believe this was the case. Kate's pedagogy was not a "necessary" one being dictated by factors outside of her control such as the traditions of teaching physical education or the demands of a sponsor. Kate still very much controlled and owned her practice during the practicum, and she planned and did eventually return to a more student-centered "pedagogy of the possible." While she continued to use, at times, a more direct style of teaching, Kate also described herself "looking for opportunities to let go" (Int., Prac, Wk 5.) and allow the students to take responsibility and control their own learning. For example, in a lesson I observed towards the end of the gymnastics unit, Kate appeared to have successfully achieved this transition. She struck an excellent balance between offering suggestions and guiding the students' progress, and between taking control of the lesson but not dominating its flow. During the lesson Kate used the warm-up period to review movements the students could use in their routines. She then challenged them to perform a series of short tasks e.g., complete a roll, followed by a jump, completed with a balance. At this stage of the lesson Kate 'directed' the students to perform certain activities. Kate 70 then gathered the class together to talk about their progress and reinforce her expectations about what they were trying to achieve. Students were also encouraged to share their successes and ask questions about what they were trying to achieve. Incidents such as this were important to Kate because they provided her the opportunity to "talk with the students rather than at them" (Int., Prac, Wk. 5). Kate then provided opportunities for the students to take some responsibility for their own progress. She divided the class in half, one group going with their partners to refine their routines, while the rest went with Kate to work on the balance beam (later in the lesson Kate reversed these groups). To assist the students who were practicing their routines Kate had produced a series of wall charts to which they could refer for ideas. As I observed the students work cooperatively with their partners there was a bustle of activity and action. Groups took turns playing the cassette music for their routine, and they spontaneously offered each other feedback about their performances. The students appeared comfortable working on their own initiative and Kate needed to provide only an occasional comment from her position close to the balance beam. When Kate and I were able to talk about her teaching of this unit it also became apparent that there was a variety of subtle ways in which she thought about her practice. Kate appeared to make important use of these practical and somewhat tacit insights to inform her teaching. For example, in outlining some of the decisions she made prior to and during a lesson Kate commented: Kate: I think a lot about the formations I am going to use. A m I going to have the kids in a circle? Should I be part of the circle? Wi l l I be standing or kneeling so I am on their physical level and not standing above them. Because I think that says a lot about you as a teacher. What are you telling someone by your body language. David: Is this all in the planning? Kate: Yes mostly, but sometimes it just flashes into your head as you teach ... like for me its just the thing to do. It just feels right. (Int., Post). In addition, Kate noted "I always try to make sure that I acknowledge each student during a class. Even if it's a smile or a glance or whatever. Anything that acknowledges I 71 have seen them" (Int., Post). This tacit understanding of her practice was brought to the surface for Kate by having to teach real students in a real setting. While she had ideas or images about how her practice might look, it was only through direct interaction with the students that Kate was able to articulate, refine and transfer her tacit understanding into real actions and practical knowledge. From my own position as a non-supervisory observer I felt the unit had been an undoubted success. Kate had been willing to take the risk of teaching a secondary school gymnastics unit in a non-traditional way. As a result of the experience she felt she had "grown as a teacher", and by the end of the unit she described herself being "more comfortable" at living with the uncertainty of how a lesson might flow, capable of making "on the spot decisions", and "better at picking up how things are going": Kate: I can sometimes see things that are going to happen. Like we talked about that 'teachable moment' and now I can see it ...[but] I am sure I still miss a lot (Int., Prac, Wk. 5). _. .Kate also described herself as sometimes "winging it" through parts of a.lesson. In clarifying this statement Kate stressed 'winging it' did not mean being unprepared: Kate: It's like you are not sure how the students will react and so you don't know the exact course the lesson will take ... and so you have these options in your head ... like you have to be flexible (Int., Prac, Wk. 6). Again, these comments would appear to be a indicative of a tacit dimension to Kate's understanding and knowledge of her practice as a physical educator. The fact she was able to demonstrate this "knowing-in-action" (Schon, 1987) also indicates she had acted upon this tacit understanding and begun to construct knowledge that was practical, oriented towards her practice, and which resided within the action setting itself. During Kate's teaching of the gymnastics unit when I asked her to describe or talk about her practice, she responded in a clear and insightful way. This ability.was particularly evident when Kate outlined her rationale for changing segments of her 72 lessons to incorporate a more teacher directed style. She was able to identify problems confronting her, generate possible solutions to them, and anticipate the consequences of following a particular course of action. But as we shall see, during Kate's teaching of the track and field unit such acumen was not always possible. Indeed, her teaching of this unit offers an interesting counterpoint to the tacit dimension of the practical knowledge she demonstrated while teaching gymnastics. Track and Field Athletics- Going With What Works If being 'flexible' and 'adaptive' were characteristics of the way Kate taught gymnastics, then acting 'methodical' and 'predictable' may well capture her approach to teaching track and field. In contrast to her unit on gymnastics Kate's lessons in track and field were more 'skill' oriented, her teaching style was predominantly managerial and extremely direct, and the students appeared less intrinsically motivated and enthusiastic about the activity. Kate quickly recognized this situation, and commented about this concern to the point of describing her teaching of track and field as "a total violation of my conscience" (Stim-recall, Prac, Wk. 11). During the unit Kate noted that perhaps the nature of track and field did not lend itself to her preferred "student-centered" style of teaching, a belief that Kate used to cushion her decision to be more direct. Before teaching this unit Kate had anticipated that it might present her with certain problems which she had not encountered in teaching gymnastics. For example, Kate was concerned about her unfamiliarity with track and field and the fact she had no previous experience teaching activities such as discus, javelin or long jump. As a result, Kate believed it would be difficult to prepare and teach the type of creative and challenging lessons which had been a feature of her gymnastics unit: Kate: In my sports of expertise I find the planning of the lessons much easier ...[but] the next units [square dancing and track and field] will be even more challenging -1 don't know anything about it really (Journal, Prac, Wk. 4). As the unit began this concern remained uppermost in Kate's mind. Towards the completion of one interview, I asked Kate to contrast her earlier teaching episodes with her current efforts, and also to begin to explore some of the ways in which her practice 73 had changed as a physical educator: Kate: Well there are a few things that I feel good about. You know my management is coming along. But let me start with something that has struck me just recently, and that's I don't feel like I know my content as well as I would like to. As well as a seasoned teacher does (Int., Prac, Wk. 9). This issue, feeling unsure about the content she had to teach, had not been a problem for Kate during the gymnastics unit. It became a recurring theme as she taught aspects of track and field. Later in the unit this concern surfaced again in a slightly different form. Not only was Kate unsure about how to teach athletics, she was equally hesitant about what to say to students while they trying to improve their performance. Before viewing a videotape of herself teaching a lesson on javelin and shot, Kate commented that one goal she had set for herself was to provide more "skill specific feedback" to the students. As she watched the video Kate observed how this had been difficult to achieve: Kate: Well like here I am stood watching them throw.... I should be helping them - . ,-to improve but I'm not sure what to say.... It's tough to spot what's happening as they throw ... so I can't really give them good feedback (Stim-recall, Prac, Wk. 11). Kate's teaching of this unit was further hampered by the limited range of facilities and equipment which were available for her to use. For example, having only one long jump pit and a class of twenty five students created a problem she found difficult to work around. In addition, during any given teaching block three or four different classes needed to use the equipment and to avoid conflicts each class was forced to follow a schedule which dictated the order in which the activities were to be taught. A combination of these factors, magnified by her inexperience with and knowledge of the content, pushed Kate to rely much more heavily on her sponsor for ideas on teaching the unit. Kate relied more and more upon Emma's guideline as to which activities needed to be covered, the order in which they should be taught, and some specific ideas about how she might organize the lessons. Although Kate felt restricted by this format, she observed that it "seemed to work" and that it kept the students "on task." 74 As the unit reached its mid-point Kate became increasingly frustrated by what was taking place. She found it impossible to rationalize teaching the unit in the way Emma had suggested. For example, in order to cover the required material, Kate had to begin every lesson by testing the students' abilities to run certain distances (e.g., 400m, 800m 1500m etc). These times were subsequently recorded and formed a large part of the evaluation for the unit. As Kate succinctly pointed out, these activities completely undercut her own beliefs about the value and focus for teaching physical education: Kate: Running like that makes them feel so bad about themselves. ...[And] this one kid who shone for me in the aerobics and gymnastics came up and said "I hate phys ed. I'm no good at it. I can't get a good score (Stim-recall, Prac, Wk. 11). Further, Kate described how her role had been reduced to "administering the runs and recording times", and she felt her growth as a teacher had stagnated - "sometimes I feel like I've gone backward. ... its just embarrassing to watch myself" (Int., Prac, Wk. 9). During her review of the same videotaped lesson Kate despairingly commented, "I find most of what I'm doing is managing" and making sure everyone gets a chance to throw -"I'm not sure how much I'm actually teaching them anything" (Stim-recall, Prac, Wk. 11). Indeed, an interesting feature of Kate's analysis of her teaching was that her language became more technical and 'textbook' oriented. For example, in describing one of her lesson's she commented: Kate: Well it is safe and well organized.... I have control and most of the kids are on task. ...[and] I got through what I needed to and discipline was not a problem ... most of the time the kids were busy so it was. Ermm David: Was it a successful lesson? Kate: Lets put it this way, Emma was happy with it! (Int., Prac, Wk. 9. emphasis added). 75 Kate also commented that she was surprised and somewhat discouraged that during a lesson she still had to refer regularly to her written plans. Whereas her earlier lesson plans for gymnastics had been flimsy ideas and a skeleton around which to build a lesson, the lesson plans she prepared for track and field were a crutch upon which she relied to get through a class: Kate: It sort of scares me after all this time that I still rely so much on my lesson plans.... Here [referring to video] I'm trying to sort out what to do next. Like how much time did I plan for this rotation ...[and] I feel like I'm just about keeping one step ahead of them ... like it's scary to still have to teach that way (Int., Prac, Wk. 11). Although she remained confident about being able to control the students and keep "kids on task," Kate's personal goals did not extend beyond maintaining this level of technical competence. For example, before watching the videotaped lesson on javelin and shot putt, I asked Kate to outline what she wanted to achieve: Kate: -So my goal was they would walk away being better at throwing javelin and shot. David: How does this fit into the overall unit and what you wanted to do? Kate: Hmm. Well, it's the next thing we had to cover... but like it's difficult because as I've been teaching, I've been trying to figure out why we teach track and field. Like why is it in the curriculum? Is it so the kids get better coordinated? ... maybe we want them to run so that's ok. But the field stuff just doesn't seem to fit ...[unless] its just so they experience it, but in that case why do we need a phys. ed teacher? Right? (Stim-recall, Prac, Wk. 11). What Kate appeared to be expressing was a great deal of self-doubt over her knowledge of the content of track and field athletics. Throughout the unit she continued to feel uneasy about her teaching of this content and, in addition, void of ideas about how differently she might approach things. Kate had a large amount of material to cover and a limited amount of time and facilities available. The more she deliberated about her teaching of this content, the more Kate became resigned to 'going with what works' and 76 relying upon a "pedagogy of necessity." Kate commented "some units lend themselves to being more teacher driven than I had thought. Most of [athletics] is skills oriented ... and also there is the safety aspect with the throwing events ... so a lot of the time the best thing is for you to tell the kids what to do" (Int., Prac, Wk. 9.). In the end Kate concluded: Kate: I honestly believe that if I said to Emma I am really unhappy with the way track is going and I hate this and wanted to change it, I am sure she would let me ...[but] I guess as you go along you learn the most efficient process for teaching this [athletics], and this one seems to work. ... You can experiment all you want but you are just trying to reinvent the wheel (Int., Prac, Wk. 9). Kate's limited experience in teaching athletics, coupled with the technical nature of the content of track and field, resulted in her teaching being more direct and authoritarian. This disturbed Kate to the point where she questioned her very desire to become a physical education teacher at the secondary level. After further consideration, however, she rationalized the problem as being somewhat inevitable. Kate commented that her lack of content knowledge about athletics,, coupled with problems of safety and lack of facilities, had forced her to keep a tight rein on the students: Kate: For me it [teaching athletics] was really frustrating after the way the gymnastics had gone. Like with the gymnastics I felt really comfortable dealing with the students and just teaching as I went along .... [but] athletics was a whole new ball game. It just felt like I was in a straight jacket. Like it was so regimented.... I just hated it (Int., Post). I believe there was certainly a tacit dimension to the practical knowledge Kate began to construct about her practice as she taught gymnastics. Although she did not refer to it directly in these terms, this feature of her developing knowledge was brought into focus for Kate as she taught track and field, a unit in which she became much more technical and less flexible in her teaching. A further example of the practical knowledge constructed by Kate centered around 77 her growing understanding of the students she taught, and Kate becoming increasingly cognizant of how the school functioned as a whole. This is examined in the second of the three factors that highlighted the growth of Kate's practical knowledge, and is entitled "Seeing patterns in school life". 2. 'Seeing' Patterns in School Life During the first few weeks of her practicum Kate described herself as "gradually getting to know the kids" (Int., Prac, Wk. 3) and beginning to be able to identify differences in the makeup or character of certain classes. Kate used these insights to establish a "good rapport" with the students and develop "a feel" (Int., Prac, Wk. 3) for what she could expect from each class. While she continued to increase her knowledge about the students, there were occasions when Kate was surprised and puzzled by the attitude they exhibited during a particular lesson. She suggested a number of reasons to try and explain this phenomenon. Initially she thought it was a case of the students "testing out a rookie teacher" (Int., Prac, Wk. 5) to see how far they could push her, or that perhaps their sometimes unpredictable behavior was typical of secondary school aged students and, therefore, to be expected. While both these reasons probably held some validity, Kate felt that neither of them could fully account for and explain why the students sometimes acted as they did. Nor did they help her to predict the occurrence of such behavior. During the final weeks of the practicum, however, as Kate became more comfortable and experienced with her role as a teacher, she described herself developing a feel or sense for the regular flow and pattern of school life. As she became sensitive to the existence of these patterns Kate recognized how interruptions to this flow could sometimes trigger a reaction from the students. For example, she noted how occasions such as the start of a new teaching block, returning to school after a holiday (e.g. spring break), or even changes in the weather, could potentially effect the students behavior during her physical education lessons. With her increasing experience as a teacher at the school, Kate began to construct practical knowledge which assisted her to recognize and understand these patterns. By applying this knowledge to her practice Kate was able to begin to anticipate situations when students might "act up", and thus she became a more effective teacher. I will now illustrate in more detail how this knowledge was developed. 78 Like most preservice teachers, as Kate began her practicum she knew very little about the personalities of the students she had to teach and she was unsure about the general character or makeup of each class. As a result, she tried to anticipate how the students might react to her lessons and described her explorations as "poking around in the dark" (Int., Prac, Wk. 3). Kate did believe, however, that her explorations were informed by an intuitive sense of pupil behavior: Kate: I think I have a knack for working kids out ...[and] figuring out what makes them tick ... so hopefully that will help (Int., Prac, Wk. 3). By the mid-point of her practicum, after she had taught a full unit in gymnastics and was team-teaching a dance unit, Kate commented "I don't feel like I'm going in blind anymore" (Int., Prac, Wk. 7). She felt she had developed a good working relationship with the students and had "a feel" for what to expect from each class. These practical insights, which had been constructed by Kate as a result of her direct interaction with the action, were then applied to her practice: Kate: I'm learning that if I had a lesson plan that worked for block two, you can pretty much guarantee that it's not going to work or have the same effect in block five.... Different classes give you different situations to deal with.... no two classes are the same and you have to think about this in your teaching (Int., Prac, Wk. 7). These developments did not particularly surprise Kate. She believed that getting to know "what makes students tick" was an advantage of being in one school for an extended period. On certain occasions, however, Kate observed that for no apparent reason the students would "act up" and exhibit unusual attitudes or behaviors during her lessons. While Kate had found it relatively straightforward to build effective working relationships with the students, she found it difficult to identify what caused them to occasionally "get in these funny moods when they just don't respond to what you are trying to do" (Int., Prac, Wk. 9). 79 Kate explored a number of reasons in attempting to account for the occurrence of these incidents. For example, she speculated that perhaps this was a feature of working with adolescents - "kids at this age are all hormones, they seem to act for strange reasons" - or maybe it was a case of the students "testing me out" and "seeing how far they can push the boundaries" (Int., Prac, Wk. 5). Kate even questioned if the problems were a reflection of her own personality or teaching style: Kate: I am slowly learning to take things less personally. But I am still trying to find out if I am behind it, because sometimes you cannot discount that you are to blame. But these kids are real barometers, they can change day by day. ... It's not a thing I dislike, it's just uncomfortable sometimes (Int., Prac, Wk 9). It was not until the later stages of her practicum, as Kate became more familiar with the ebb and flow of school life, that she began to tentatively identify certain factors outside of the immediacy of the gymnasium or teaching setting which had an effect on her practice. For example, Kate recognized how interruptions to the regular flow of ~ activities which constituted daily school life, could initiate a reaction from the students. In a lesson she taught after the spring break Kate observed how it had been difficult to get the students to apply themselves - "they just wouldn't settle down" (Int., Prac, Wk. 9). As she thought about these events, instead of looking at her own teaching or the immediate behavior of the students to explain their conduct, Kate began to see how the larger context of school within the lives of the students could account for the difficulties: Kate: I am learning to adjust my expectations ...[because] it was the first day after the break, they hadn't seen their friends for a while and they were excited to be back and it was sunny out. It's like new for them to be in school again.... And I was hard on myself. I had higher expectations for what we should achieve. But I hadn't even considered all those things could change them (Int., Prac, Wk. 9). Statements such as this suggest that Kate had begun to construct practical knowledge which allowed her to recognize and interpret the everyday patterns of school life. She 80 also recognized the value and need of looking beyond the immediacy of her teaching for knowledge that could assist her to better understand her practice. Kate was then able to apply this knowledge to inform the planning, teaching and evaluation of her lessons, and in so doing she developed the capacity to anticipate situations when students might "act up". In effect, Kate had begun to see the 'bigger picture' and took an important step towards becoming a more effective teacher. During the final phase of her practicum Kate's use of this knowledge was clearly evidenced in her preparations for certain classes: Kate: I know with this grade nine class after lunch, like I am thinking this is day one of the rotation so this will be kind of a bad class. So I think through it that way. And I think so now we're going to have do this it's going to have to be more structured for them because they won't be able to handle me giving them too much choice (Int., Prac, Wk. 12). A further example of Kate's application of this knowledge was evident when she described how she had changed one of her lesson plans within minutes of the lesson beginning. As the students were getting changed to participate in a soccer lesson, Kate indicated that she could "just feel" they were not ready for the sort of lesson she had prepared: Kate: With today's soccer class I basically threw my lesson plan out of the window. Because the mood they were in and what they were saying about the field. Then attendance took way too long and the warm up and things were just all over the place (Int., Prac, Wk. 12). It is important to note Kate did not begin to make sense of these events until the later stages of her practicum. Only after spending two months in the school and becoming fully engaged in the act of being a teacher, was Kate able to anticipate the potential occurrence of these events. Therefore, the practical knowledge which Kate was able to construct grew out of her interaction with the action setting, and it assisted her in solving a problem which had a direct bearing on her practice. This knowledge was embedded within the everyday routines of school life and was only recognizable to Kate as she became fully engaged in her role as a physical education teacher. Further, while this 81 knowledge may often remain unspoken, it is evident in the thinking and actions of teachers and is an important part of the overall knowledge that teachers bring to bear upon their practice. An additional factor which appeared to promote the construction of practical knowledge, was the juxtapositioning of certain events which provided Kate with a clear but intriguing contrast to her teaching of physical education. There were two events which provided this contrast: her sponsor's way of teaching, and Kate's teaching in her second subject area. Both situations helped Kate to become engaged in an "internal dialogue" (Goodman, 1988) in which she attempted, often successfully, to make sense of her own practice. 3. Contrasting Contexts: My Sponsor's Style and Teaching English At different times during her practicum Kate experienced the extremes of being left completely free to plan and teach her physical education lessons as she wanted, or having to do exactly as she was told by her sponsor. For some preservice teachers, circumstances such as these can become demoralizing and frustrating, particularly when they feel they Jiave lost control and ownership over their own developing practice. Kate, however, used these situations to stimulate her into thinking about her own practice. Consequently, on occasions when she was given either little guidance or felt pressured to teach a particular way, Kate appeared to learn something about teaching physical education. For example, Kate noted that being left alone was beneficial because it gave her the opportunity "to try your own ideas and see what works and what doesn't" (Int., Prac, Wk. 10), while in situations when she felt pressured Kate observed: Kate: When you are forced to do it someone else's way in a way that's good too. Because you can say I don't like this. Well, why don't I like it? I don't like it for these reasons. So you can learn from that too ... [and] regardless of our teaching styles there's always things that work structurally, like if you set up the kids a certain way you know you will get most of them on task ... I think you learn by doing it their way because you can see some merit in what they are doing as well (Int., Prac, Wk. 10). 82 It is important to recognize that Kate's willingness to personally wrestle with these issues was an essential ingredient in turning them into learning opportunities. For many preservice teachers, the anxiety of being constantly evaluated combined with the pressure to teach and organize their lessons in a particular way, stifles the potential for any learning. At times, this also happened to Kate and she noted that "sometimes I do feel like I have to play the game and I find it really frustrating when this happens" (Int., Prac, Wk. 7). The saving grace for Kate, however, was that she was still able to exert some control over these events. Further, given her belief that she was not failing her practicum, Kate used these situations as a chance to articulate the differences between herself and Emma, and to confirm what she liked and disliked about her sponsor's teaching style and why. Kate also viewed each episode as an opportunity to further clarify and refine her own beliefs about teaching. Indeed, it may well have been at these junctures that Kate was able to begin to make her tacit understandings more explicit than had previously been the case: Kate: Like I've stated. I'm more student centered and she's much more teacher directed and less empathetic.... [And] having tried to be direct, I want to stay .-, - more my way. Like I'd say [Emma] is more of a typical phys. ed. teacher style ... [but observing] some things help. Like with the evaluation. She says sometimes "I've got to put my foot down". And having done it her way I guess she is right because otherwise the kids will take advantage (Int., Prac, Wk 7.). These statements should not be taken to indicate that Kate and Emma did not get along during the practicum. Indeed, they appeared to develop and sustain a very amicable working relationship. According to Kate, however, they did not engage in any "meaningful conversations" about issues related to Kate's professional development: "she really doesn't help me to make sense of anything" (Int., Prac, Wk 7.). The contrast provided by the way her sponsor taught physical education stimulated Kate to think about her own practice and assisted her to further develop an understanding of the type of physical education teacher into which she wanted to mature. Thus, the contrast provided by her sponsor enhanced Kate's capacity to think about her practice. 83 A second situation which also advanced this process, was the contrast provided for Kate by her teaching a second subject area. During her practicum, Kate was also responsible for teaching two blocks of English, and on several occasions she made reference to the difference she perceived to exist between teaching these two subjects: "well I find in English you can do that but in phys. ed. it's not the same.:.", or "it's harder in phys. ed. than English because...". In one instance this comparison led Kate to question whether physical education was a subject suited to her "student centered" style of teaching: Kate: Like my style, I used the same one across the board for English and phys. ed.. But I find in phys. ed. you are dealing with issues you don't have to deal with to such an extreme in the classroom. For one thing you have a lot more management things that sidetrack you and subtract from your teaching. Things like the transitions and equipment. In the classroom a lot of the physical things you have to think about [in P.E.] aren't there (Int., Post.). One product of this contrast was Kate's increased awareness of what the students expected from her as a physical education teacher. For example, Kate noted how her role as a teacher was different in English than in physical education, and she understood how this difference needed to be taken into account during her teaching: Kate: I am finding that a lot of the time we [physical education teachers] act as counsellors, especially with girls P.E They won't come to you in English and say I have a problem, but you hear about it much more in phys. ed. (Int., Prac, Wk. 7). As she considered why this took place Kate noted that students had to "physically trust" physical education teachers: Kate: They have to trust you. There is no where to hide in the gym. You have to perform in front of everyone. But in English you can get through more easily without being noticed (Int., Prac, Wk. 7). 84 As Kate became more attuned to these differences she recognized the need, at times, to engage the students on a more personal level. In addition, Kate became increasingly conscious of not putting students in situations in which they felt intimidated, and she constructed a clearer understanding of both what the students expected from her physical education lessons and what she might be able to achieve as a physical education teacher. III. Case Summary Kate began her practicum with a clear image of the type of teacher she wanted to be. Rather than labelling herself as a teacher Kate preferred to use the term "mentor" or "facilitator", and she described teaching as a "collaborative" enterprise. Much of Kate's energy was directed towards representing this image within her practice. As Kate tackled this problem she realized it would not be as straightforward a task as she had anticipated. Kate's recognition and understanding of these factors formed a large part of her growth as a teacher and provided the basis for the practical knowledge she began to construct. Kate recognized how factors such as the nature of certain content within physical education combined with her depth of understanding about this content, could impact upon the pedagogical decisions she made as a teacher. For example, Kate was willing to take risks An teaching gymnastics, an activity in which she was very knowledgeable and had prior experience in coaching. On the other hand, while in teaching track and field athletics her teaching strategy was to go with what works, adopting instead a more methodical, deliberate and tightly structured style of teaching. Kate teaching of gymnastics also revealed a tacit dimension to the nature of the practical knowledge she constructed as she responded to new and novel situations. Through her interaction with the students on a daily basis Kate was able to more closely connect the content knowledge she had about gymnastics with the context in which she had to teach. As she engaged in making sense of these events Kate was able to articulate, refine and apply these tacit insights to her practice as a whole. A further example of the nature of the practical knowledge constructed by Kate centered around her understanding of the context in which she was teaching. Kate indicated how she had begun to identify patterns in school life which had previously been unfamiliar or unrecognizable to her. She commented how this factor also had to be taken 85 into account as part of her decision making process as a physical education teacher. As she did so Kate was able to see the 'bigger picture' of her practice. She began to make sense of her teaching in ways that she had previously only been able to "just feel". Throughout her practicum Kate played an active and important role in constructing valuable knowledge about teaching. This constructive process was particularly productive for Kate when she was able to consider her practicum experience as a whole. Thus, a feature of the practical knowledge constructed by Kate was its thematic rather than incidental character. This knowledge, which grew out of Kate's direct interaction with the action setting, may only have been recognizable to her after she became fully engaged in her role as a teacher. The following comment made by Kate relatively early into her thirteen week practicum captures quite succinctly how she saw the problem of 'learning how to teach' and the importance of learning from experience: Kate: Well, my whole feeling was you go to teachers college, you get some tools and then you go out and teach. Like you've learned how to prepare a lesson and you've learned a few hints on discipline. But those kinds of things only help to a point and once you get into it you have to be the kind of person who can act on your feet and not only do the skills part of a lesson, you have to facilitate all these other things that are happening at once. I remember in P O T 1 1 , they were talking about multidimensionality and simultaneity and all those things a teacher has to deal with. ... And now I am in school everyday there's new things that strike me and I think why didn't I think of that before. But you can't. It comes with being in a lesson teaching (Int., Prac, Wk 3). At the same time there were other aspects of Kate's practicum which appeared to be important factors in assisting her to make sense of these experiences. For example, at different times during the practicum Kate swayed between being left completely free to plan and teach as she wanted, while on other occasions she felt pressured by her school sponsor to teach particular content in a particular way. The contrast provided for Kate by her sponsor's teaching style enhanced Kate's capacity to think about her own practice. 11. POT is an acronym for a course titled "The Principles of Teaching" which was completed by preservice teachers during their period of university coursework prior to the practicum. 86 Kate also found the differences that existed between teaching physical education and English, her second teaching area, further assisted her to clarify what she might be able to accomplish as a physical education teacher. 87 C H A P T E R 5 T H E CASE OF JOHN The organization of this case is similar to that presented in the previous chapter (the case of Kate). The case begins by 'Introducing John' to the reader and outlining 'John's Beliefs About Teaching. The case continues with an analysis of his practicum experiences. The first section titled 'Seeing Myself The Teacher', describes the image John held of himself as a teacher. This image is examined in some detail as it proved influential in determining the practical knowledge John constructed during the practicum. Following this are sections titled 'Drawing the Line' and 'Making Content Understandable.' These provide thematic illustrations of how and why this practical knowledge was being constructed and highlight some of the factors which influenced this constructive process. The chapter concludes with a summary of the case. I. Introduction John's practicum took place at Valley High, a large secondary school of over 1,200 pupils (grades eight to twelve) in a suburban school. The school was well equipped for teaching physical education with two large sports halls, weight training and wrestling rooms, and a number of field hockey, soccer, and rugby fields. Within the community the school had an excellent reputation for producing competitive sports teams, particularly in basketball and wrestling - "basketball is God out here" (Int., Prac, Wk. 3) - with all school teams being well supported by the staff, students and parents. During his practicum John taught units on rugby and basketball and assisted in coaching the junior (grade 8/9) wrestling team. His second subject area was biology which accounted for one third of his teaching load. John's sponsor teacher for the physical education component of his practicum was Len who had taught at the school for over fifteen years and had previously supervised a number of preservice teachers. Although John's major teaching area was physical education the university had assigned a science education faculty advisor to supervise his practicum. Interestingly, John would later comment in his journal, "my faculty advisor has only affected my views of teaching in science. She knew about the methods things we had done etc.... I don't think she had 88 any phys. ed background and overall I would have to say she had no effect on my style or the way I taught phys. ed." (Journal, Prac, Wk, 6). Introducing John Both prior to and during the practicum John expressed several strong beliefs about the purposes of a secondary school physical education program. For example, he stated that in addition to helping individuals to become more athletically skillful and physically fit, physical education should focus on promoting goals that would fall within the affective domain - "P.E. should be about allowing kids to develop the social aspects of themselves and make them feel good about participating in physical activity" (Int., Prac, Wk. 4.). As John commented after his practicum: John: Kids who leave school take with them a package of knowledge, and the way they feel about themselves. Eventually they lose most of the package of knowledge. You don't lose how you feel about yourself. ... For the most part English and science address the package, but phys ed. addresses the thing they carry it in and how they feel. ... I'm still convinced that's where it has to -....... contribute and where I have to [focus my] teaching] (Int., Post-prac). Throughout his practicum John spent time considering how to transform his beliefs into a plan of action he could use to guide his practice, and it was this interactive process that sparked John to begin constructing knowledge about teaching. As his practicum progressed, however, it became evident John's practice was also being guided by something more encompassing than a series of beliefs about the purposes of a physical education program. He appeared to hold a strong image of himself as a teacher, and this image was also extremely influential in shaping John's thinking and actions during the practicum. For example, it provided a blueprint against which he could compare and understand his own teaching, and it provided a means for him to interpret and make sense of the practice of other teachers such as his sponsor. According to John, an important part of his image grew out of his ability to develop and sustain a series of equitable and trusting relationships with the students. He viewed these relationships as the foundation upon which he could build his practice as a physical educator: 89 John: For me it's important, probably mandatory, to establish some kind of relationship with them ... It forms a sort of base and once you have this in place you can do other things like working on self esteem or self confidence ... I often thought about how well I was achieving this (Int., Post.). Throughout his practicum John attempted to 'make sense' of his practice by filtering events through a combination of the image he held of himself as a teacher and his beliefs about teaching physical education. As he became actively and fully engaged in this process, John was able to construct valuable professional knowledge about teaching. A significant characteristic of this knowledge was that it was embedded within and emerged from his practice. Indeed, rather than relying on the use of theories or information he had encountered during his teacher education coursework, John constructed practical knowledge about teaching physical education through his direct interaction with the practice setting. Before exploring this development in more detail, I will present a fuller account of John's beliefs about teaching. John's Beliefs about Teaching Physical Education • ..... In his desire to "interact with people and help them develop" (Int., Pre-prac), prior to deciding on career in teaching John had explored the possibilities of joining either the R.C.M.P. or becoming a community social worker. While he felt both of these jobs might provide him with the opportunity to fulfill his desire, John also noted that they involved dealing primarily with "people who don't want to be there or who don't see you as helpful" (Int., Pre-prac). With regards to teaching, however, John noted: John: I realize school is mandated, but for the most part kids like the social experience of being in school, and for me teaching has the potential to be more positive than other things like social work (Int., Pre-prac). Aligned with his belief that school should be a positive experience for students, John stressed that physical education could make a significant contribution towards meeting this goal by providing a "fun, motivating, and successful environment". Although most physical education preservice teachers would probably hold a similar view, two factors appeared to set John apart from preservice teachers I have known. First, John had a clear 90 understanding of how he was going to create a positive experience for the students. Second, he appeared to have a firm grasp of some of the pitfalls involved in teaching physical education that might stop him achieving this goal. For example, it has been my experience that the competitive sports performance background of many physical education preservice teachers often leads them to equate fun with competition. That is, they believe that inherent within a competitive situation is the element of fun. Therefore, they transfer this understanding into their teaching in the belief that the most effective way of ensuring students have fun is to assist them to perform a particular sporting skill or technique in a competitive setting. While effective for some students, this context certainly allows and probably encourages students to compare their abilities against those of their classmates, and ultimately classify themselves as unsuccessful. This was a situation John wanted to avoid at all costs. He consistently referred to the value of using physical education to help students to develop feelings of "self confidence" and "personal self worth". According to John, putting students in one competitive situation after another would completely undermine this process: John: Building self esteem and self confidence. That is my umbrella objective. . Everything I do and the way I do it is to try to help kids feel better about themselves and be successful. ... So I have to steer away from too much competition where the good kids [athletes] win out (Int., Prac, Wk. 4.) John also went on to state success in physical education should not to be defined solely in terms of individual athletic performance, nor measured by students comparing themselves to other students. To counter this outlook, he passionately stated that students needed to be taught how to recognize their "personal successes" regardless of the level of expertise they reached: John: The reality is that for some kids P.E. is a positive experience because they are popular, athletic and dominating. But some of the ones who aren't athletic and that don't experience that success, they have to be taught to recognize their successes, taught to recognize their improvement, and taught to recognize that for them participating and feeling good about participating is the reward and is a success. (Int., Prac, Wk. 7., emphasis in original) 91 Accompanying his efforts to downplay the role of competition in his lessons, John also commented that a secondary school physical education program should have a more recreational focus than was commonly the case. He argued that a recreational focus would provide a less intimidating and less threatening environment for the students while they were in school. In turn, this might encourage more students to maintain an interest in physical activity after graduation: John: I mean in phys. ed. context you are not going to turn anyone into a quality athlete, that's not the point right! So you should have a recreational focus ... a focus on how you can use these sports as part of an active lifestyle after leaving school (Int., Prac, Wk. 1). In John's opinion, while most secondary school physical education programs met the needs of athletic and dominant students, they had become less attentive to how to involve middle to low skilled students in a series of worthwhile physical experiences. While he acknowledged that some students enjoyed and even thrived upon a competitive environment, John believed physical education had drifted too far along the recreational -competitive continuum in support of competitive sports activities, particularly team sports. For example he described a typical lesson at Valley High as being "run very much like a [team] practice. Very structured and very regimented " (Int., Prac, Wk. 1): John: Currently P.E. in this school is skills based, which reflects trying to produce a good athlete. I think you have to ask why? As I see it that isn't the school's job (Journal, Prac, Wk. 8). He felt this competitive and structured emphasis was particularly evident in the evaluation procedures being used at the school, "where we look at who can score ten baskets in a minute or something like that" (Int., Prac, Wk. 8.). John said that tests such as these left most students feeling discouraged about their efforts. He also insightfully pointed out how this problem was magnified in physical education because of the visual and public nature of the subject - "unfortunately if you're not very good at phys. ed. it's really difficult to hide.... more so than it is in math or science. In P.E. everyone can see 92 it. It's obvious when you can't do something" (Int., Prac, Wk. 3). He further remarked that it was perhaps at this time many students began to descend "that downward spiral that leads to non-participation and eventually dropping out of sport or physical activity" (Int., Prac, Wk. 1): John: I think using performance as the primary criterion for assessment is potentially very damaging, especially for the kids who need P.E. the most.... Whether you can perform a skill or not is something different to actually understanding it. (Int., Prac, Wk. 1). As a result, reducing the emphasis on competition and "pure athletic performance" was an objective which underpined many of the important decisions John made about his teaching. It certainly influenced how he planned his lessons and how he evaluated his success as a teacher. John was also resolute in his belief that physical education was a subject ideally suited to the accomplishment of his goals as an educator. For example, he said the very nature of the subject lent itself to a greater degree of social interaction between himself and the students, and amongst the students themselves. Thus, there were more opportunities for addressing goals situated within the affective domain - "It's very obvious to me that phys. ed. is a setting where kids are more social [and] the method of interaction between myself and the students is more social, more personal.... So in the end I think it [P.E.] lends itself to working on the affective domain (Int., Prac, Wk. 4). Consequently, when the students came to one of John's lessons the goals were not the same as those associated with a more typical skill or sports-oriented physical education curriculum. His goals were drawn from the affective and cognitive domains, as well as the traditionally dominant psychomotor area: John: I think they should experience something that can help them to feel good about themselves. You know build their self esteem and self image ... [and] so I direct my teaching to do this. Improving someone's skill level is there but for me it's secondary. (Int., Pre-prac). This was a belief John reaffirmed after the practicum, stating: 93 John: You are using sport as a medium to show someone what it's about to be a good person. It could be about working hard and achieving a goal; it could be about being in a group and achieving a goal. It's about caring and respect for yourself and others. It's about competing but cooperating. The problem arrives when everything is competition. Then kids fail and we [P.E. teachers] fail (Int., Post-prac). One way in which John increased the possibility of achieving these objectives was by focusing his lessons on "teaching and testing for cognitive understanding rather than performance" (Int, Prac, Wk. 1). By moving his lessons in this direction John believed it would reduce the emphasis on athletic excellence and give all students an equal chance to learn and be successful. Therefore, within each lesson John put a lot of thought into the organizational and management strategies he employed. For example, during his basketball unit, to reduce the emphasis on direct competition between students, he integrated pockets of organized free time into several lessons. At these junctures students could work with a partner of their choice to play a simple 1-on-l game or practice a skill he had previously taught. It should be stressed that John carefully worked with the students to clarify his expectations for these free time slots and in the lessons I observed the students used the time appropriately. John, on the other hand, used these situations to strategically and diligently interact with some of his "less athletically" inclined students. Again, these actions were consistent with John's beliefs about teaching and the image he held of himself: John: So I know the skilled players will get on with their own thing. So that gives me time to get round some of the others and see how things are ... Sometimes we don't even talk about P.E., or in this case basketball.... It's just a way of finding out about them. What's bugging them or whatever ... I just think it lets them know who I am (Stim-recall, Prac, Wk. 10). On those occasions when he did incorporate a competitive element into a lesson, John was extremely careful about which students he allowed to work together. Although this sometimes meant he had to make visible decisions about who played with who, John 94 said: John: Kids aren't stupid. They know when you divide them into a good and not-so-good group for a game. I think a key is to spend time, lots of time, helping the weaker students. ...[and] Hopefully they will buy into this as a way of having a good experience ... anyway, good kids play on teams! (Int., Prac, Wk. 7). John also changed the design of the evaluation he gave students at the end of a unit. Although his options were limited by the structure in place within the department, he tried to reduce the emphasis on testing for physical performance and increase the cognitive elements. His rationale for doing this was that it gave all students a chance to prove that they understood something about physical education and to achieve a good grade. Again, this meshed with John's beliefs about using physical education to promote self confidence and a positive self image. Teaching for cognitive understanding also forced John to reorganize and structure his own knowledge of the content he taught. For example, although the curriculum forced him to teach basketball and rugby as separate .... units,John tried to.link them together conceptually and build connections between the two. Thus, although the skills were different in each sport, there were several occasions when John stressed the tactical similarities between them, e.g. how to execute a 2-on-l in both sports, or how to use space. John often compared the activities or skills he was teaching to those involved in ice hockey, an activity in which he has some considerable coaching experience. No doubt, these coaching experiences influenced his practice as a teacher, and is a factor I will explore later in the case. As he attempted to act upon his beliefs and address the concerns he had about how physical education was commonly taught, John bemoaned the lack of alternate ideas to which he had been exposed during his professional coursework. As John declared, "I'd hoped to see different strategies for teaching P.E Like I've seen some in science". However, he described the methods class as "very, very traditional. Like here are fifteen sports and the major things you want to teach and evaluate. Here's a plan etc. ... Nothing too stimulating (Int., Pre-prac). In addition, for seemingly legitimate reasons, John's sponsor was comfortable letting John "go his own way" and get on with the job. 95 According to John, his sponsor, Len, was supportive but "pretty much set in his ways". Consequently, while they might discuss the technicalities of a lesson, such as organizing students to move equipment or safety issues while teaching in the gym, they never "matched philosophies" (Journal, Prac, Wk. 6). Further, his faculty advisor "basically relies on Len because she has no phys. ed. background" (Int., Prac, Wk. 7). This left John trying to design his own remedies about how to teach the content in a manner that was consistent with his beliefs. However, despite these potential barriers, John remained firm in his belief that physical education was a subject area well suited to the accomplishment of these objectives. The differences that existed between John's ideas and beliefs about physical education and the curriculum in operation at Valley High, also created certain tensions for him. For example, John was frustrated by the department's emphasis on extra-curricular 1 2 rather than teaching activities, and by the constraints of a department evaluation structure weighted in favor of each individual student's skill performance. In John's case, however, he was able to use these tensions to further clarify his own thinking about his practice. His sponsor put no pressure on him to teach a particular way, and quite .early in the practicum decided he was comfortable leaving John to teach on his own. I believe that for a less forthright individual than John, circumstances such as these might have resulted in the practicum deteriorating into a frustrating and unproductive experience. But John used these experiences to refine his own thinking about teaching and develop a realistic sense of what he might be able to accomplish as a physical educator. Further, to a large extent the solutions or strategies John implemented were developed in situ, and were sensitive to the context in which he was operating. They were based upon insights he had accumulated about the students he was teaching, and drew upon the image and beliefs he held about teaching. To a certain degree John was able to "strategically redefine" (Lacey, 1977) his practicum experience and introduce new and creative elements into the setting in which he was teaching. While John admitted his ideas "were not exactly from the mainstream" (Int., Post) of how people saw physical education, he remained firm in his belief that developing "self 12. Throughout this thesis the term "extra-curricular" refers to inter-school competitive team activities such as basketball, rugby, field hockey etc., and not to recreational activities such as camping, hiking or kayaking. 96 esteem" and "personal self worth" was an important but often overlooked component of a student's education. Indeed, well after completing his practicum John's beliefs about this issue remained unchanged. In a 'professional growth plan' which John wrote and I assisted him to implement during his first full-time teaching position after graduation, he made several references to wanting to develop each student's "self esteem" and ensure he created "a positive learning environment for all students" (John, Professional Growth Plan). Finally, in a somewhat ironic twist, John noted that the most influential of his beliefs about teaching physical education appeared to stem from his work as an instructor in a summer ice hockey camp for elite level players. As he pointed out, however, while the hockey school attempted to help players improve their skill, it also put a large emphasis on developing each individual's social skill: John: One week of sending them to camp isn't going to make them into great players. But what it can do is improve their skills as a person. So we teach them through hockey about caring, about respect, and being a supportive - group member as well as trying to improve some of their skills (Int., Pre-prac). John had instructed at this camp for a number of years, eventually assuming a senior position which involved planning certain camp activities. According to John, in many ways this represented his first taste of curriculum development. As he continued to take a more active role in ensuring the goals of the camp were met, John also began to consider how the ideas he witnessed in operation at the camp might be transferred to his own situation as a beginning teacher: John: I think it was at this time [at the camp] I first thought about the idea that phys. ed., beyond any other area and any other subject in school, deals strictly with what everyone would call the 'affective' domain. Attitudes and values. And if the world needs a lot of good people then phys. ed. would be the place to be because I feel I can contribute that way. I think the content material is secondary to the fact that this is the medium you can use to teach 97 kids about self esteem and self respect (Int., Pre-prac). Interestingly, as John entered his year of teacher preparation, he had also started to become involved in the coach education process within the British Columbia Hockey Coaching Association. In this position he was involved in the organization and delivery of coaching workshops, and in the evaluation of novice coaches. In many respects this experience was similar to the teacher education process he was undertaking, and John's experiences as a coach educator may have contributed to John being able to describe his beliefs about teaching in such a clear, unambiguous and insightful manner. John's beliefs about teaching physical education remained stable throughout his practicum and directed much of his growth as a beginning teacher. His experiences working at the hockey camp provided him with a strong set of theoretical ideas or preconceptions about what the focus of a school physical education should be. Having talked with John prior to, during, and after the practicum, I also believe that these other experiences were more influential than the coursework portion of his teacher education program in determining the direction of his growth as a teacher. In John's case they enhanced -his development as a teacher and his ability to construct knowledge about his practice. The practicum provided him with an opportunity to test and transform these theoretical ideas into a form of practical action. II. Case Analysis Before providing some thematic illustrations of the practical knowledge John began to construct, I will outline more fully the image he held of himself as a teacher. This factor had a significant impact on the development of this knowledge and is of critical importance in understanding how and why this knowledge was formed. 1. Seeing Myself The Teacher On several occasions during the practicum John made reference to a vivid image he held of himself as a teacher, something he worked towards trying to recreate in his own teaching. Within this image John saw himself being able to "connect with students" on a personal level and that his task was to "guide" rather than direct the students actions (Int., Prac, Wk. 4). He pictured himself working in partnership with the students to help them 98 develop a positive outlook towards themselves and their participation in physical activity. In addition, he described himself having established "a good working relationship" with the students, something he believed was an important prerequisite to acting upon his image and beliefs about teaching. Without nurturing these relationships John maintained the students would not "trust me", something which would in turn impair his chances of helping them become more confident and assured about participating in his lessons: John: To teach and do the things I want, it can't be a situation where I am separate from them. You know, like teachers verses students (Int., Prac, Wk. 4). According to John, the first step in developing these relationships was to establish a "good rapport" with each class. How to develop this rapport was an important piece of practical knowledge for John. This understanding would provide John with a starting point from which he could begin to tackle the problem of how to help students feel positive about themselves and their participation in physical education: John: One of the most important styles I saw to being a good P.E. teacher was developing a good rapport and communication chain with the students. ... If I expect to positively affect their self esteem or self worth etc, this is absolutely essential (Journal, Wk. 6). With this objective in mind, early in his practicum John made a conscious effort to purposefully observe how other teachers in the school interacted with and developed a working rapport with the students. For example John noted, "I like the way Lundy 1 3 works with the kids. They respond to him and he seems to enjoy himself when he teaches them.... I think he has an excellent rapport with them" (Int., Prac, Wk. 4). He also carefully observed how Len, his sponsor, worked with the students: John: Len has taught for twenty years. He is great with the students. A motivator, a friend, yet professional. I respect the rapport he has with the students. They banter yet respectfully (Journal, Wk. 3). 13. Mr Lund was a teacher at the school who became a good friend of John. John sometimes had the opportunity to observe him teach and interact with the students because he taught science which was John's secondary teaching area. 99 While John was able to visualize the kind of rapport he wanted to develop and he described having "a feel" for how it would play itself out within his teaching, he was less sure about how to establish it with the students. While his coaching experiences had provided him with a strong tacit sense of what good rapport felt or looked like, they had not equipped him with any specific strategies he could use in establishing this in a high school setting - "in coaching it's just something that comes naturally. I think the players you work with expect it... I don't know. Maybe it's the same in teaching (Int., Pre-prac). In addition, as John indicted, working with a captive audience of hockey players towards an agreed goal was a different challenge to dealing with a group of adolescent secondary school students. As a result, at this stage John did not have a clear plan about how to build a rapport with the students, and he relied almost exclusively on his own intuition about how to proceed. Indeed, this might be indicative of the importance of a tacit dimension in learning how to teach, particularly early in the practicum. To disregard this tacit understanding may have proven to be a major error: John: I think I have a good feel for what it [rapport] should be like and how they should be responding to me. Sort of just a personal feeling about this and that ... [and] I think I'll know when I get there. But it's tough to describe and write down like the four steps to reaching it, especially to them. (Int., Prac, Wk. 4). While John remarked about how he liked the way his sponsor interacted with the students, he did not feel it would beneficial or possible to try and copy him - "I like his rapport, but I can't just take it verbatim. He's him and I'm me. I have to develop that sort of thing for myself" (Int., Prac, Wk. 4). John noted that the rapport you established was a reflection of your personality and the environment in which you were operating. John's comments are perhaps indicative of an underlying belief that the knowledge and understanding of how to build rapport could only emerge through direct daily interaction with the students. In addition, the development of this knowledge required John to deliberate on his actions over time and it could not be captured by a simple procedural or guiding statement. John, however, remained optimistic about his ability to 100 build rapport with the students and for the present hoped the students would respond positively to his authentic rather than contrived style of teaching: John: I think P.E. teachers have a special rapport with students. ... Usually this is a product of the fun, less structured, environment. But it's also a product of me. Me as a participating and friendly teacher who genuinely wants them to have a positive experience. That's where I want to be (Int., Prac, Wk. 4). As he became more confident in his ability to work with the students, John referred to a ploy he had begun to incorporate in his teaching by which he actively searched for opportunities to connect with individual students, and "do those little things" (Int., Prac, Wk. 6) to help build a rapport and genuine relationship with them. For example, during a stimulated recall session he pointed out how he consciously tried to acknowledge the presence of certain students in his lessons. While reviewing a videotape he stated: Video: "Good sty-ell Nath. Good sty-ell " u John: Like there, in a humorous way I am just trying to reinforce Nath[aniel] for his participation because he is one of the kids who is a bit messed up. He arrived from Czechoslovakia two years ago and is still having trouble assimilating. (Stim-recall, Prac, Wk. 6). To an uninformed observer a comment such as the one made to Nathaniel may have sounded relatively insignificant within the overall flow of a lesson. A little later, however, as John reviewed the video of the same lesson, he revealed the extent to which these remarks were carefully planned and delivered to help him move a step closer to putting into action his teaching image: John: There's a reinforcement to Jeff. Just a quick one. He is the big gangly kid. [John points to video] He doesn't necessarily like P.E. as much as he should so I make a point of trying to single him out when he does something well. . . [and] that contact, that connection during a lesson helps to build up that 14. "Good sty-ell Nath. Good Sty-ell" is a comment John made while teaching a rugby lesson. The statement that follows is John's reaction to hearing this comment as he reviewed the videotape. 101 communication link [because] ... in the end I believe it's those little things that add up and count! (Stim-recall, Prac, Wk. 6). The influence of John's image in guiding his actions was further evidenced in how he talked about his practice. These examples are also illustrative of the way in which John had begun to move the process of building rapport and connecting with the students from an intuitive to an action level. Another incident with Jeff, the same student who did not really enjoy physical education, provides further evidence of John's growing ability to direct different situations towards the accomplishment of this goal. During a basketball lesson he gave Jeff permission to go to the washroom. Sometime later when Jeff reappeared in the class having taken an excessive amount of time, instead of severely reprimanding the student as he felt his sponsor would have done, John turned the situation into an opportunity to learn more about Jeff. He discussed the situation with Jeff and they agreed that he owed John some time after school: John: So I asked him if he would help me tidy some things up after school. But that was just an excuse to be able to talk to him. So we had a heart to heart and talked about how I could make P.E. better for him and how he could make it better for himself and again it's just me.... Who knows, right, maybe it is all pie in the sky (Stim-recall, Prac, Wk. 6). To further enhance his growing rapport with the students, John also worked diligently to learn something significant about the character or background of the students he taught. He familiarized himself with which students were having trouble behaviorally or academically in the school, and also which individuals had a reported history of non-participation in physical education. John used these insights to inform the way he interacted with individual students. For example he was conscious of not being critical of individuals such as Jeff, and he recognized how certain students reacted differently to the way he communicated with them: John: You get to see how different individuals respond, even different classes as a whole. ... Like every kid, before a comment I think now about who I am saying it to. ... it can be really important with those kids in the lesser skilled 102 class 1 5 (Int., Prac, Wk. 7). In many respects John appeared to have developed an insider's view into the lives of the students he taught. In doing so he became even more sensitive to the kinds of experiences individuals were having in his lessons. Indeed, the knowledge of how to communicate with different students was important to John and consistent with the image he held of himself as a teacher. Further, it assisted him to build a rapport with the students, and while initially unsure about how to achieve this goal, John gradually became more confident in identifying situations and strategies he could use. Thus, he succeeded in moving the construction of practical knowledge about teaching physical education the way he wanted, namely building a rapport with the students, from an intuitive to an action level. While John did not find it easy to express this growing knowledge, he found the videotape and stimulated recall sessions to be especially useful in this regard. These sessions appeared to help him describe and explain what he was learning about teaching physical education. Indeed, of the four participants in the study, I spent the most time reviewing videotapes with John as he took great interest in stopping the action and talking about what was taking place. As he later commented: John: Watching and talking through the video every so often helped me get a handle on things.... It forces you to think about what's been happening and see how things come together.... Like am I doing what I say I am? That's really important to do (Int., Post). While continuing to grow professionally, one issue which remained a concern for John was how to assess if his teaching style or methods were having a positive effect on the students. As John stated, "it's all very well doing what I am, but is it working? Do kids feel better about themselves? (Int., Prac, Wk. 7). Unfortunately, John had few means to evaluate the effectiveness of his methods other than relying on his own gut reaction and the way the students were relating to him: 15. During his practicum John differentiated between two diverse classes of students that he taught. He referred to these as the "better skilled" and "lesser skilled" classes. The contrast provided by these classes triggered a number of interesting conversations/discussions during the practicum. 103 John: Its difficult to evaluate day by day like how's your self esteem. But I see changes from when I started a month ago, definite changes in the way some kids relate, partly to me, but also to the phys. ed. experience. ... And if a kid isn't participating I sort of try to hold them back for a few minutes after class and find out what is going on and how I can make it a better experience for them (Int., Prac, Wk. 7). While this remained problematic for John, by the conclusion of his practicum he had been able to more clearly define, put into action, and confirm the image he held of himself as a teacher. In doing so John was also able to begin testing the practicality of his beliefs about teaching physical education. As he accepted full responsibility for teaching particular classes and he interacted with individual students daily, John encountered certain problems in transforming his image and beliefs into action. These problems appeared to present themselves as a series of 'how to' questions. For example, John had to resolve how to instruct in a manner that encouraged the development of self esteem while teaching a subject which traditionally stressed and promoted individual athletic performance, competition, and extra curricular activity. As he identified and tackled these problems John began to construct practical knowledge that allowed him to become a more accomplished physical educator. This knowledge became practical when he used it to inform his practice and help him act upon the image and beliefs he held. Two thematic examples of this knowledge, namely 'Drawing the Line' and 'Making Content Understandable' will now be examined in greater detail. 2. Drawing the Line As a beginning teacher John felt it was important for him to establish certain management routines and standards for behavior which the students could identify. He described their establishment as a necessary but not sufficient prerequisite for successful teaching, and a "hoop to be jumped" (Prac, Int., Wk. 3) in proving to his sponsor and faculty advisor he was a competent preservice teacher. John was quick to explain, however, that he did not view this as a top down process whereby his rules were simply .104 imposed upon the students. In contrast, he described the development of these routines and behavior standards as a negotiated process through which the students and he built "more of a mutual understanding of what is and isn't o.k." (Prac, Int., Wk. 3). In his biology classes John had little difficulty in quickly developing these aspects of his practice. He commented that in a science classroom the "expectations of what should take place are more clear cut... more academic" (Prac, Int., Wk. 3). Their development was not as straightforward in his physical education lessons. John described physical education as different to classroom subjects, such as biology, because it did not have any ready made management devices or behavior standards built into its format: John: In biology the labs, desks, using pens, there's a lot of management built into those things. Kids know where to sit and if you want kids to settle down quickly you can just sort of say 'do questions one to four'... In P.E. you can't do that. They come to class with their strip and often they don't know where they'll be or what they'll be doing. So you really have to develop a whole range of fundamental issues over how to deal with these things.... Over how to start and stop a class. What you expect as they get changed ... Plus that can all change if the weather changes (Prac, Int., Wk. 3). John also commented, "obviously the environment of being outside or in a gym is different,... [and] the students expectations are different". Further, he remarked that the standards are not the same during a physical education lesson - "for one thing it's okay to make noise ... [and] they expect to talk to each other during a lesson" (Int., Prac, Wk. 3). Consequently early in his practicum John stated, "right now my own ideas are wavering a little about what is acceptable" (Int., Prac, Wk. 3): John: And one of the tough things for me is drawing the line between what is fun and acceptable behavior and what's not... and I think the students have to get to know where the line is! (Int., Prac, Wk. 7., emphasis added). I also believe the issue of where and how to draw the line was further complicated for John by the distinct and strong image and beliefs he held. These factors led John to 105 promote a teaching style and interact with the students in manner which many of students were not familiar. John acknowledged that his self described "laid back, open, approachable, but still focused teaching style" (Int., Prac, Wk. 11) might create potential management and behavioral problems that a more traditional approach would not: John: Like I'm also seeing how my approach can open some things up and begin to create some concerns. Dave: In what way? John: Well, I feel it's natural to talk with the students and communicate with them on an even level. But I don't think they are used to that. Certainly not in phys. ed. ... [and] some of them, especially in that low skilled class, I don't think they know how to react. At times I don't think they know what to make of me or what will make me lose it and I think that can make them a little unsure of things. (Int., Prac, Wk. 7). Thus, the issue of where and how to 'draw the line' was one which grew out of and took shape during John's practicum. While he expressed an understandable desire to establish himself as a credible class manager, John was equally cognizant of the need to guard against being too authoritarian and running his physical education lessons in an "autocratic drill sergeant style" (Int., Prac, Wk. 3). Such an ironhanded approach, while possibly more straightforward to implement and monitor, also had the potential to create a rift between the students and himself. The consequence of such a rift would have been to make it extremely difficult for John to develop the kinds of relationships he believed were a crucial first step towards encouraging students to fully participate in his lessons. As a result, John described the situation as "a bit of a high wire act" (Int., Prac, Wk. 5) where he had to be careful of being neither over controlling nor too friendly: John: Its tough because at first you have to really fight from going the other way and clamping down on everything. ... [Because] if I do that it might be the end of it right there. It would be a me and them situation (Int., Prac, Wk. 5). In tackling this problem John described a mental blueprint he had begun to work from in which he pictured management and discipline being divided into different levels. 106 John used this blueprint, one he had implemented successfully at the hockey school, to try and reduce a complex issue into a manageable form. For each of three levels of management structure, John outlined strategies he had devised to overcome particular problems. The first level contained strategies to deal with "the b.s. parts of the job ... the things that can drive you nuts" (Int., Prac, Wk. 11). This included all the "administrative stuff" such as taking attendance and dealing with the no strips1 6. For example, for students who did not bring their strip, John prepared a series of library assignments with each exercise coordinated to match the content he was teaching. Under the supervision of the librarian, students could complete an assignment and receive a partial credit for the class they had missed. Interestingly this strategy was implemented by John independently from his sponsor teacher or other members of the department. According to John they frequently chose a "more confrontational method" of dealing with such students and gave the students a zero mark for any classes they had missed. While he agreed there was a point beyond which "you have to be careful about getting taken for a ride" (Int., Prac, Wk. 11), John argued a more confrontational approach did not benefit the students, and in the long run probably produced some friction between the students and teachers. Although the assignment system took him some time to organize, John saw it as a practical solution to a real problem and one that fell in line with his beliefs about his role as a physical educator. Overall, strategies within the first level of management structure facilitated John being able to "get my own system in place" and clarify his expectations to the students for their behavior. At the second level John focused on issues which arose once the students were in the gymnasium or outside on the playing fields - "at this level I think about the general guidelines about how a lesson operates ... like how my drills work" (Int., Prac, Wk. 11). In developing this second level John drew upon his coaching experiences, particularly those at the hockey school: John: My experiences coaching definitely came into play here [at this level]. ... At 16. In physical education the term "no strips" refers to students who are physically able to take part in a lesson but do not bring the correct clothing to allow them to participate. 107 the hockey school we would always spend time on getting kids used to the system. Like here's a drill. This is what we expect you to do - bang, bang, bang. Go do it (Int., Prac, Wk. 11). The most noticeable strategy John employed within this second level was his use of certain key instructions for handling a class. During one of his first outdoor lessons I observed him teach on rugby, John used the warm-up as an opportunity to reinforce some of these instructions. As part of the warm-up, on a number of occasions, he deliberately dispersed and quickly recalled the students to check they understood what was required and to test their response to his directions. In effect, he cleverly disguised his implementation and reinforcement of these routines as a game within the warm-up portion of the lesson. A less obvious but equally important second level strategy that John incorporated into his practice was to build a consistency or pattern into the way he organized and taught different content. John claimed that whether he was teaching basketball or rugby it should be possible to present the material using a similar format. Upon reviewing a rugby lesson he stated: John: I try to make the progressions logical in building things up. ... Get them used to working in small groups and co-operating before putting it into a some form of game (Stim-recall, Prac, Wk. 5). Later as he reviewed a video of a basketball class I asked John to outline some of the , factors he took into consideration in planning and executing the lesson: John: This is their first class inside so again I am trying to get them used to a set way of how things work. ... [And] a lot of things carry over from rugby.... Like using progressions and how I build things up. That's essentially the same and it would be for most [units] I teach (Int., Prac, Wk. 9). John labelled these first two levels as "stepping stones" to the third - "they provide a framework or scaffolding on which I can hang the instruction and hang the 108 reinforcements and the communication I have with the kids" (Int., Prac, Wk. 11). As such, his goal was to make the student's response to these strategies as automatic as possible: John: The first two levels are where I can save a lot of time. So I've been fairly firm in handling things ... [because] If I can get these management routines in place, like bang bang bang, then ultimately I get more time to work with them in a lesson and this part looks after itself (Int., Prac, Wk. 11). John noted that by themselves the first two levels were not sufficient for learning to take place. High quality teaching and learning required a third level of structure. While John referred to this third level as part of his management scheme, his description situated it more closely with his instructional ideas. Thus, the third level strategies supported: John: How I ask them to do things ... the reinforcements and feedback I give once a drill is working ... [and] how I build the communication with the students (Int., Prac, Wk. 11). It was only when working at this third level that John believed he could begin to realize his teaching image within his practice. Strategies at this level were focused on assisting him to build a rapport and relationship with the students, and to integrate into his practice "those little catches that help develop someone's self esteem" (Int., Prac, Wk. 11). Designing and implementing these third level strategies, however, proved more problematic than had those at the previous two levels. 'Drawing the Line' in terms of acceptable behavior and interaction between himself and the students was less clearly evident. For the most part, the dynamics of John's interaction with the students was something with which the students were not familiar. He described wanting his relationship with them to resemble a partnership, and during the practicum he commented upon the importance of "talking with students on their level" (Int., Prac, Wk. 7) and giving them some sense of ownership and responsibility over what was taking place. This would be a 109 difficult task for even an experienced teacher and it was one with which John continued to wrestle with upon completing his practicum. The students, particularly those in the low skilled class, were probably more accustomed and perhaps at ease, with a more traditional teacher-student relationship in which the guidelines for interaction between the teacher and themselves were well defined and consistently enforced. In addition the 'affective' goals which John set for his program may have been puzzling to many students, who were probably more acquainted with goals that were strictly performance oriented. For his part, John noted that "learning to live with the fuzziness" of a situation like this was part of what he was learning about teaching. Indeed, when I asked John to describe how he established his own standards his language quickly slipped into its earlier intuitive tone: John: In many ways you work it out as you go. You can talk about it at the start but it really gets developed as you go. ... A lot of times students only find out where your line is by testing it. It doesn't hold any water until they test it... You know in your head where it is but trying to actually describe it to a bunch of students is really tough I find (Int., Prac, Wk. 11). While he conceded there would be some initial confusion over getting the students to understand his way of working, John believed that in time the process would work itself through. Unfortunately he was unsure if a thirteen week practicum provided an adequate period to build such a mutual understanding. The issue I have designated as 'Drawing the Line' provides an example of how the practical knowledge John constructed was grounded in and emerged from his interaction with the action setting and had a direct impact on his practice. It also reveals the degree to which the practicum was only a first step in John's professional development as a teacher, and adds weight to the role his prior pedagogical experiences as a coach played in his growth as a physical education teacher. Another example of John's growth is illustrated through his increased understanding of the content he had to teach and the strategies he had to use to make this content understandable for the students. 110 3. Making Content Understandable As was described earlier in this case John held some distinct ideas about what the focus of a secondary school physical education program should be. One idea he frequently talked about was that physical education should emphasize the cognitive as much as the physical strand to its content. According to John , the cognitive side could include content from two areas; first about health, nutrition and fitness - "which is all part of developing a healthy active lifestyle"; and second, "knowledge about performing a sport" (Int., Prac. Wk. 1). In clarifying what he meant by "knowledge about how to perform a sport" John stated that this should not always be sport specific skill information, like how to shoot a basketball. He argued that this knowledge should have more of a conceptual emphasis: John: If I was designing my own course I would not approach it as a six week unit in a sport. I would do six weeks on racquet sports, or on team sports. Like we would look at the similarities between basketball and soccer. I'd be teaching concepts. (Int., Prac. Wk. 1). John also stated that he "had even thought of going beyond this and.trying to make an integrated P.E. 12 Biology 12 course" (Int., Pre-prac), or even an alternate P.E. 11 course based on health and physiology information so that "students who are bothered about the fact that P.E. is run by jocks will have every opportunity to succeed in this class" (Int., Pre-prac). During his practicum John had no direct opportunity to change the curriculum and teach lessons on health or nutrition. In addition he was restricted by the P.E. department's policy of teaching discrete activity units on different sports, i.e., five weeks on rugby followed by five weeks on basketball etc. Within this context, however, John still attempted to challenge the students cognitively as well as physically. As he did so John was forced to rethink his approach to certain parts of his practice. In addition to considering how he planned and organized his lessons (as evidenced by his avoidance of overly competitive activities), John also put a lot of thought into how he explained the content to the students. For example, John noted that he had been forced to think quite intensively about how to make the cognitive component of his lessons intelligible to the 111 students: John: I've thought a lot about how to present the information to the students. Like how to make connections between the sports or build this cognitive understanding. Like how to get them to understand what I'm telling them ... It's tough though because I'm not sure what level to go at. Who knows, it might even be impossible given how things are structured here (Int., Prac, Wk. 11). Thinking about his practice in this way was a complex issue for John, and it was certainly not one he was able to resolve during the course of his practicum. What he appeared to have identified and begun to grapple with, however, was an important problem which confronts almost all beginning teachers. The problem of transforming their knowledge 'that' into knowledge 'how'. As John began to tackle this problem and make his knowledge about the content he had to teach understandable for the students, he was engaged in constructing practical knowledge about teaching that was contextual, action oriented, and connected to his practice. In many respects this knowledge resembled, in its.very.earliest form, the category of knowledge which Shulman has labelled as 'pedagogical content knowledge.' While John never referred to it by this title he did comment about its importance in his teaching: John: As I see that's teaching [John laughs]. That's the way I have always seen the job . Taking what you know -1 mean you should have a knowledge base about the sport or subject like in science - and expressing it so the kids understand it or allowing them to manipulate it in a way they are going to learn it (Int., Post). For John, a key ingredient to being a successful teacher was to make his knowledge and what he believed to be important in physical education understandable for the students. One way he attempted to make this connection and assist students to "manipulate" the information was to present it to them in ways that made it relevant to their lives: 112 John: I have been concentrating on trying to relate things to sports they play, like what's similar between rugby and basketball.... But with the lower [skilled] class, there aren't many kids who play as much. So I try to relate it more to sports they see on T.V. ... Like I know most of them watch hockey (Int., Prac, Wk. 7). Again, the videotape and stimulated recall sessions were powerful tools in uncovering some of John's growth in this area. I believe they enhanced and supported John's analysis of his practice, and assisted him to situate specific instances of his teaching within the bigger picture of what he was trying to accomplish. Thus, overall, the videotapes enhanced John's efforts to construct practical knowledge about his teaching. For example, during a video review of a rugby lesson John commented: John: So here with the lineout. I am relating it to a jump ball in basketball. Like this is a basketball school so all the kids know what you are talking about. Plus this group has some good basketball players in it and by doing that I think it helps them understand what to do (Stim-recall, Prac, Wk. 6). Throughout his practicum John routinely attempted to translate the knowledge he wanted the students to learn into a language that was appropriate and understandable to them. He also began to tailor his instruction to the particular groups he was teaching. For example, he described using a strategy of "smaller more sequential progressions" with the low skilled class, but speeding up the rate at which they moved through the progressions. He also commented: John: Like now as I teach, I know the progression that works well, the main route. And I know a few side routes to bring people along, 'oh they don't get this well we'll do this' and then come back to the main road. And I feel confident in assessing if they understand it or not and moving on (Int., Prac, Wk. 13). Interestingly, following on from this comment John did state that his actions would have been "much more structured" if he were teaching a sport such as badminton, which by his own admission he knew "diddly about." In general, John described his teaching as 113 being more "flexible" and he was much more aware of "how things were coming together in [his] teaching": John: I have heard people talk about that 'teachable moment' and I mean you can identify it in your vocabulary but it takes a few to hit you in the face to realize they are a powerful tool.... [And] like now I can sometimes feel them coming. Like everything is fitting together ... And I don't think any amount of somebody telling you about them will serve the same as you experiencing them and actually using them... You have to actually do [a teachable moment] to learn it (Int., Prac, Wk 13). In addition, just as he tailored his lesson planning to suit different groups, John also described being conscious of "trying to validate an experience for students in a way that's meaningful to them" (Int., Prac, Wk. 11.). As he gave feedback to the students John was attentive to how he phrased his comments and the kind of tone he adopted: John: It could be really damaging to reinforce a skill or lack of skill on a student - - who is just struggling right now on deciding whether to participate or not... some kids like to be challenged, it motivates them ... like there are a whole range of different kids in a class (Int., Prac, Wk. 11). III. Case Summary By the conclusion of his practicum John, by his own admission, was "still a long way from where he wanted to be" (Int., Post.). On the other hand he appeared to have made some positive and significant steps towards becoming a competent physical education teacher. He entered the practicum, and probably his teacher education program, with some strong beliefs about what a physical education program should be focused towards trying to achieve. For example, he intensely adhered to a belief that physical education should promote and achieve goals that fall within the affective domain - "P.E. should be about allowing kids to develop the social aspects of themselves and make them feel good about participating in physical activity" (Int., Prac, Wk. 4.). Accompanying these beliefs, John's practice was also guided by a strong image he 114 held of himself as a teacher. This image was extremely influential in shaping John's thinking and actions during the practicum. It provided a framework upon which he could try to make sense of both his own practice, and a template against which he could compare the teaching of teachers such as his sponsor. In John's case, this image was an important factor in guiding what he learned about teaching during his practicum. As John put his image and beliefs into action within his practice, he was faced with a series of problems that had to be tackled. The issues of management, as highlighted by the problem of 'Drawing the Line', and of good quality instruction, as described in 'Making Content Understandable', were both important to John's practice. As he responded to these emergent challenges John began to construct practical knowledge about teaching that enabled him to react to these events as they unfolded during a lesson. For example, at times, John struggled with helping students to "manipulate" and understand the information he was presenting to them, and he was always looking for ways to make it relevant to them. As he did so John became increasingly conscious and careful of the language he used. He also frequently tailored his instruction to the different classes and groups within the classes that he taught. As he commented, "teaching ... that's -taking what you know ... [and] expressing it so the kids understand i t [ a n d they can] manipulate it" (Int., Post). Thus, rather than relying on the use of theories or information he had encountered during his teacher education coursework to guide his actions, John constructed knowledge through his direct interaction with the practice setting. This knowledge was contextually embedded and action oriented, and it assisted John to offer students the kinds of experiences he believed were important in a physical education lesson. In working with John the videotape and stimulated recall sessions were a particularly rich source of data. During our discussions, John, prompted by the videotape, would frequently talk about a situation or event he had seen on the videotape, pause the video, and expand upon what he had seen to describe it related to other lessons or events that had occurred. When John made these thematic like observations that he was able to talk about his practice as a whole, and it was at these junctures he actively engaged in constructing practical knowledge about his practice. 115 Finally, in summarizing this case, it was apparent that John's extensive prior experiences as a coach enhanced this constructive process. John was able to draw upon these experiences to guide some of his actions as a physical education teacher. Thus, at the conclusion of the practicum when I asked John to comment upon the overall impact of the experience on his practice he noted: John: It has confirmed my beliefs in education and what education does. But it has also brought in some new angles that I never thought about. The motivation. Also some of the logistical problems of doing what I want to do [because]... I realize some of my ideas are still half baked. But again, if I look ahead to an ideal situation I still haven't seen anything that will totally block my ideas from working and that can't be bridged.... I'm still very optimistic about what I want to do (Int., Prac, Wk. 13). 116 C H A P T E R 6 T H E CASE OF T R E V O R As with other cases in this study, the Case of Trevor begins by "Introducing Trevor" to the reader. This is followed by "Briefly About this Case" which presents an outline of the case as a whole. The analysis of the case is written in three sections. These are "Making Choices", "Playing the Game", and "Becoming Pedagogically Thoughtful". Finally, a summary is provided which allows the reader to quickly review the case and the substantive issues that have been discussed. I. Introduction This case is based upon the practicum experiences of Trevor. His practicum took place at a senior high school (grades eight to twelve) in a suburban district of Vancouver. Trevor's main teaching responsibility was physical education (grades eight, nine and ten), although he also taught some social studies classes (same grades). During his practicum the content covered in the physical education classes included track and field, active health, badminton, tennis and gymnastics. In addition, Trevor undertook responsibility for coaching the senior girls' Softball team. Trevor's sponsor teacher was Roger who had supervised several preservice teachers prior to Trevor. He was head of both physical education and athletics at the school. For the duration of his practicum Trevor was assigned a specialist physical education university faculty advisor. The analysis within this case, as with others in the study, will focus almost exclusively on Trevor's experiences in teaching physical education. Introducing Trevor As a high school student Trevor had been a member of a number of competitive sports teams and at university he had played junior varsity level ice hockey. Consequently, one of the factors fuelling Trevor's desire to become a physical education teacher was his belief that it would provide him the opportunity to remain actively involved in sports: 117 Trevor: I think my selfish reasons are because I love sports so much and all I could think of when I was younger was how can I stay in sports ... I never wanted to have a job where I wore a suit and tie ... Sport is my life and I just want to contribute in some way (Int., Pre-prac). Not surprisingly, therefore, when Trevor noted previous experiences or individuals who had influenced his ideas about teaching physical education he made a number of references to the different coaches for whom he had played. He particularly admired his junior varsity ice hockey coach noting both his "optimism and dedication to the job." Trevor even commented how he tried to emulate his style: Trevor: When I was doing presentations in class [at university] I found myself thinking how he would deliver it and I'd think what he [the coach] would say in this situation, and then sometimes I'd try to sort of emulate it. ... Like how he communicated with people made sense to me (Int., Pre-prac). At the same time Trevor remained conscious of not wanting to develop into a mirror image of any particular coach he had known. He remarked how he thought it was preferable to "pick and choose things" (Int., Pre-prac) that would be useful to you as a teacher. As for teachers he had previously encountered, Trevor did not feel any of his physical education teachers had provided him with a satisfactory model for his own actions: Trevor: I don't think I got into teaching because of a teacher who I thought provided a role model. I think you remember some things but I don't think I will really teach like any of them ... [because] even when you look at an individual method or style you still realize the weaknesses (Int., Pre-prac). According to Trevor, a further attraction of teaching was that he believed it would present him with the chance to have an impact on the lives of students. Even during the relatively short period of his practicum Trevor was optimistic about being able to "turn around" the attitude of several students towards learning and school. He talked at length about wanting to "switch kids on" to school and how he believed physical education was 118 a subject well suited to achieving this objective. While he appreciated these changes might not be possible in the case of every student, Trevor argued that teaching physical education gave him an advantage in trying to attain this goal. He claimed that by its very nature physical education was a much more "interactive process" than other subjects -"phys. ed. is all about working together" (Int., Pre-prac). Overall, Trevor firmly believed that if the students were not interested in learning then "a large part of the blame should fall on the teacher" (Int., Pre-prac): Trevor: I mean you have to believe you can make a difference. You have to believe that attitude ... as a teacher, whether its changing the curriculum or changing the program or adapting to their needs, somehow you will be able to affect these students and motivate them more to want to learn (Int., Pre-prac). As a physical education teacher Trevor anticipated that a "taken for granted" part of his role would involve working with school sports teams, a task he was quite prepared to accept during his practicum. Indeed, in discussing his future career goals Trevor acknowledged that eventually he would like to spend some time working as a coach, on either a full or part-time basis. Still, although he felt coaching was an appealing aspect of his role as a physical education teacher, Trevor emphasized that his primary responsibility was to "teach and educate students in physical education" and not to produce excellence in extra curricular activities. In Trevor's opinion a problem with many physical education teachers, particularly those whom he had encountered, was that they were often guilty of blurring the line between inter-school sport and teaching: Trevor: This is where we get caught up because P.E. is totally different from coaching and inter-school sport... [But] P.E. teachers have given themselves a bad rap because they love kids who are athletic and they love to promote them. It makes them feel good and the kid is coming along. But really that kid is going to come along whether he was there or not. The challenge is all the others in the class (Int., Pre-prac). At this time it was not immediately apparent to me how much of Trevor's response to this line of questioning was to provide a 'correct' answer. This was our first 'official' 119 meeting and we were still building a trusting relationship. My initial reaction was that Trevor's answer sounded almost 'prepackaged'. Although other participants had offered a similar response, in talking with Trevor this was one moment when, as a researcher, I was not certain about the complete integrity of the response. On the other hand I certainly sensed Trevor was committed to teaching and that he had a strong desire to make a worthwhile contribution to both the education of the students and school life as a whole. After the meeting I privately queried if Trevor, in attempting to gain some personal recognition and feeling of self worth within the school, might eventually divert more of his time and energy towards coaching rather than teaching. My own experiences as physical education teacher suggest that establishing an identity within the school and gaining acceptance among the students, staff and parents, may be different for a physical education teacher than for those of other academic subjects. Trevor had yet to face the realities of trying to attain the personal objectives he had set while teaching what in some contexts is considered a marginal subject. This problem might well be worthy of further research, particularly as it pertains to the induction of secondary level physical education teachers. A final feature of Trevor's make-up which should be noted was his continual willingness to think about his own practice and experiences as a preservice teacher. During an informal conversation, Trevor's university faculty advisor described Trevor as "one of the most reflective student teachers I have worked with" (Practicum Field Notes, Wk 10). While it would be naive to claim Trevor's involvement in the study did not influence or encourage him to think about his actions as a teacher, I believe Trevor would have taken this responsibility regardless of our meetings. In my opinion Trevor believed such actions were an important part of the learning process and learning how to teach. This trait remained in evidence throughout his practicum and during the final week he commented on the positive contribution his ability to reflect upon practice had made to his growth: Trevor: I think reflection is probably one of the most important skills of being a good teacher. If you can't reflect on what you have done then where do you go? I think not only did I not plough through the practicum, but this study and talking with you has enabled me to step outside the practicum and look at it 120 objectively and say, well, what do I do differently? (Int., Prac, Wk. 13). As Trevor continued to try and exert some influence over the direction and nature of his development as a teacher, it became evident that a large portion of the knowledge he was constructing involved learning how to interpret the expectations of his cooperating teacher and the students. Undoubtedly, the social realities of the context in which Trevor was teaching played a significant role in the development of this knowledge. However, because of the circumstances surrounding his practicum it is difficult to conclude with any certainty how this knowledge would be of benefit to Trevor beyond the context of his practicum setting. At the end of the practicum Trevor felt he had been "rubber stamped" (Int., Post.) to enter the profession, but he was unsure about how he would apply his knowledge to his actions as a first year teacher: Trevor: It will be interesting to see how different it is when I start teaching on my own. I think I'll certainly have more opportunity to try some of my own ideas. ... [And] so it's tough to know how it all fits together right now. ... I'm not sure how much you would see of the way I taught at Fairfax if you came - to see me in a year's time (Int., Post.). Briefly About the Case Learning to teach and construct professional knowledge during his practicum proved to be a complex and frustrating process for Trevor. This situation was produced primarily by a difference that existed between what Trevor hoped to accomplish during the practicum and how his sponsor viewed the practicum. As will be evidenced later in the case, Trevor frequently reported feeling the need to teach or "perform" for his sponsor teacher rather than for himself or the students. In addition to having to meet the expectations of his sponsor Trevor was also surprised, and sometimes discouraged, by the attitude towards physical education exhibited by many of the students he taught. According to Trevor the students did not "seem really interested in learning anything" (Int., Prac, Wk 5), and he found it difficult to understand their approach. Thus, a combination of these factors caused Trevor to quickly reconsider what he might be able to accomplish during the practicum. For long periods he found it necessary to suspend any learning objectives he may have set prior to the practicum. In their place Trevor 121 established a series of short term goals, each directly related to getting through the practicum and obtaining a passing grade. For the majority of his practicum experience Trevor was forced to embrace a "pedagogy of necessity," with his actions being guided principally by "circumstance and external authority" (Tinning, 1988, p. 82). Within this environment and over the course of his thirteen week practicum Trevor appeared to move through three distinct experiential phases. In our post-practicum meeting Trevor confirmed my broad characterization of these phases as, an initial sense of optimism about himself as a teacher, followed by a shift into a "survival thinking and acting" (Int., Prac, Wk. 5) for the successful completion of the practicum, and finally emerging into a short period in which Trevor described feeling "this is more like what I thought teaching was all about" (Int., Prac, Wk. 13): Trevor: Like we talked at [school] ... especially the first two [phases] were really apparent to me. I really did want to try some things out at the start. But it got really difficult with Roger. He wasn't sort of breathing down my neck or anything, but I knew what he wanted to see.... Like now it's a relief to be through it and some things could have been better. But I guess it worked out O.K. in the end (Int., Post). Throughout each phase, a prominent feature of Trevor's reaction to these circumstances was that he continually endeavored to try and exert some control over his practice. Ownership of practice and "Making Choices" about his teaching were important issues for Trevor. For example, he described using the actions being modelled by his sponsor and the feedback that was being provided to him about his practice to support his own views about teaching and to confirm the sorts of actions he did not want to employ as a physical educator. After being initially optimistic about what he might learn during the practicum, Trevor moved into a period in which his primary objective was to meet the expectations of others individuals, namely his sponsor. In order to maintain some degree of control and ownership over his practice Trevor employed a coping strategy almost identical to 122 the one Lacey (1977) has labeled as "strategic compliance".17 He carefully maneuvered himself through the practicum being conscious of the impression he created for his sponsor. "Playing the Game" became the order of the day. At this stage, rather than giving up on his own ideas as impractical or inappropriate, Trevor simply held them back for future use. Interestingly, while Trevor's university faculty advisor was another individual he had to satisfy in progressing through the practicum, for the most part he found this task to be relatively straightforward. As Trevor commented, "he comes in and I do my thing and it's really just proving I am looking to use the things he writes about" (Int., Prac, Wk. 11). By far the most significant and influential individual was his sponsor teacher. During the latter stages of the practicum, after Trevor believed he had proved himself to be a competent teacher, he remarked how situations with his practice began to resonate more strongly with his own ideas and image of what it meant to be learning to teach. He described feeling under "less pressure to perform" for his sponsor, although he did comment "I still don't want to go out on limb. ... It's still good to reinforce what he wants" (Int., Prac, Wk 11). At this juncture Trevor made a number of insightful comments about his growth and he appeared to become a more Tedagogically Thoughtful' teacher. Being part of this study may have assisted Trevor to make this transition. The videotape and stimulated recall sessions provided him with opportunities to stand back and talk about his teaching without fear of being evaluated. In Trevor's case, it is intriguing to note that two of these sessions took place away from the site of his practicum. Perhaps, in some symbolic sense, Trevor wanted to detach himself from events surrounding his practicum and that he felt more comfortable to talk about his experiences when he was away from the school. In presenting this brief sketch of the circumstances surrounding Trevor's practicum it is important to appreciate that the pressure he felt from his sponsor was not the result of Trevor being unable to manage students, establish a suitable learning environment, or cover the required content during his lessons. It should also be noted that in most 17. Lacey (1977) defines a social strategy as the purposeful selection of ideas by prospective teachers and the working out of their interrelationships in specific situations. He outlines three specific strategies which he claims are used by preservice teachers to cope with the constraints placed on them during the practicum. He refers to them as "internalized adjustment", "strategic compliance", and "strategic redefinition". 123 instances the expectations and pressure being placed on Trevor by his sponsor was not overt or blatant. Trevor's actions were taken in light of his understanding of the constraints and dynamics of the situation in which he found himself. Further, it is not my intention to suggest Roger deliberately turned Trevor's practicum into a 'rite of passage' or survival experience. It is my belief that, for the most part, Roger acted in the manner that he felt would provide Trevor with an instructive and rewarding practicum experience. Indeed, when I put this point to Trevor after the practicum he agreed with my interpretation and stated that Roger took his role very seriously as a sponsor teacher. Unfortunately, the effect was, at times, to discourage Trevor from putting into practice any of his own teaching ideas: Trevor: I think he [Roger] had some definite ideas about how someone should teach phys. ed. and I think he wanted to be sure I reached those targets. ... [And] in a way that's fine. But I would have liked the chance to test some of my own ideas as well (Int., Post.). II. Case Analysis Having introduced Trevor and outlined the case as a whole, we will now examine in more detail the events outlined above, in particular the analysis will focus on the factors which affected Trevor's growth, and how he responded to these events in light of his efforts to learn to teach physical education. 1. Making Choices From the beginning of the practicum, and perhaps his entire year of formal preparation, Trevor anticipated that learning how to teach was a process in which he would be actively involved. For example, in reference to his university coursework, Trevor noted: Trevor: I realize you get a lot of information in the courses, but it's up to me to use it. I don't think there is any video or book that tells you how to be a teacher. It's really down to you (Int., Prac, Wk 3). Evidence of the pro-active position taken by Trevor can be seen as early as his pre-124 practicum experience. After returning from this two week orientation he commented upon the significant differences he perceived to exist between the curriculum in operation at the school and his own ideas about the focus of secondary school physical education programs Trevor: The way they taught was with an emphasis on the technical aspects of sport ... Roger spends way too much of his time in the area of explaining; with him telling the kids what they have to do and controlling the whole thing (Int., Pre-prac). In addition, despite being guided by his sponsor to teach a particular way, Trevor maintained an active role in making decisions about his practice. In the early phase of his practicum he consistently referred to the importance and value of trying to develop his "own style" as a teacher. As part of this process not only did Trevor take into consideration his own strengths and weaknesses as a teacher, he was also engaged in observing and thinking about the practice of other teachers. Trevor frequently took advantage of the opportunity to watch other teachers in the department. In discussing the value of these observations, however, Trevor remarked that rather than providing any new or original ideas about teaching they had served to "reinforce [his] own ideas about teaching" and motivate him to continue working towards developing his own style as a teacher: Trevor: I still think you want your own style and so forth,... [and] I still don't have a picture of a teacher in mind I want to be totally like. ... To be honest I don't really like the emphasis here (Int., Prac, Wk 3.). As he settled further into his extended practicum this issue remained uppermost on Trevor's mind. He referred to the "very traditional way of teaching P.E." which predominated at the school, and he described the teachers in the department as favoring a "strong teacher directed style" of instruction (Stim-recall, Wk. 3). Trevor was not entirely critical of what he observed. For example, he noted several aspects of Roger's practice that intuitively appealed to him: 125 Trevor: I look at Roger and see things and say 'Hey, that would be great if I could be like that.' And then I look at somebody else and I like the way he deals with that. Dave: Could you give me an example of what you mean about Roger? Trevor: Well just how he sets his expectations for the kids. They really know what the boundaries are with Roger ... he has things really well planned out and the kids know what to expect (Int., Prac, Wk 5.). Unfortunately, many of Trevor's other first hand observations of practicing teachers did not match the 'theory' which he had been told was important for the successful teaching of physical education. None of the teachers he observed appeared to use any of the conceptual or theoretical ideas which Trevor had read about or discussed during his coursework: Trevor: You hear about all these theories in P.E.; Things like guided discovery or co-operative learning and allowing the students to inquire and develop their own thing. You know, a lot of Year 2000 1 8 type ideas. Well I mean I don't see any educational gymnastics here... Roger never uses it [guided discovery] and [pause] I guess it kind of makes you kind think and ask where it fits? (Int., Prac, Wk 3.). At times Trevor struggled to make sense of the contradictions which appeared to exist between the theory of his coursework, the practices he observed at his practicum site, and his own ideas about teaching physical education. At this stage Trevor remained confident that some of his own ideas still had an important role to play in developing his teaching style, and he commented that there was "no real reason to replace my own ideas" (Int., Prac, Wk 3.) with those being used by other more experienced teachers such as his sponsor. However, Trevor also indicated that he was beginning to doubt the possibility of using the practicum as an opportunity to settle upon and develop his own style. He described feeling "a little unnerved" and "mixed up" because he had envisaged that the practicum would provide him with the chance to resolve this issue and test some of his 18. The year 2000 document was an educational initiative that, at the time of Trevor's practicum, was being implemented province wide in British Columbia. One of its core principles was to place the student at the center of the learning process. 126 own ideas. Yet, as Trevor completed the first third of his practicum he indicated that this encouragement had not been forthcoming and he was unsure about what might take place in the time he had remaining: Trevor: It's sort of frustrating in a way because in a week or so I'll get more classes and then I won't get the time to try anything.... Like already I can see this rut appearing and me moving into it. ... I just feel like it's slipping out of my hands, I'm not in control (Int., Prac, Wk. 5). In describing this confusion Trevor went on to comment, "I feel like I have these different ideas floating around but you never get them to fit together and give an answer. I haven't had the opportunity to work them out" (Int., Prac, Wk 5). As he attempted to untangle and explain this mental puzzle Trevor's thinking sounded to be in a state of flux, suspended somewhere between the theory of his university coursework, the action setting of his practicum experience, and the uncharted territory of his own ideas about teaching physical education: Right now I feel like I don't have a style. What I have is, it's sort of a lot of theory, a lot of things in my head. Not a lot of practical, a lot of theory. And it's going to take me a while I think to sort of say, 'Well O.K., this is the Now how can I integrate that into me?' Do you have a number of different ideas about the way you think you would like to teach but you haven't pulled them together yet? Yes, because I would say most of the P.E. teachers here teach the same way. And when you are seeing it from only one perspective you sort of get honed into that perspective and you get to think O.K., this is the only way to go. And like I guess ... right now I am being inundated with everything and I am just sort of keeping my antenna up and sort of taking it all in (Int., Prac, Wk. 5.). This description offered by Trevor suggests he possessed a number of disparate bodies of information or theoretical knowledge about teaching and a range of potential . Trevor: theory. Dave: Trevor: 127 models for use in implementing these ideas. The problem facing Trevor was building connections between the various theories and models he saw in use by other more experienced teachers, and his own beliefs and ideas about teaching. Trevor remarked how it was "difficult to put things together" and that for the present time "I'm just trying to put it all aside into the memory banks ... Hopefully I can take stock later" (Int., Prac, Wk 5.). At this stage I believe that what Trevor required was both the opportunity and some assistance to build these connections and construct knowledge about teaching that made sense to him. As he wrestled with this problem, Trevor also acknowledged that there was a seductive attraction to copying other people and teaching like they did -"there's no point in trying to re-invent the wheel. Right!" (Int., Prac, Wk. 5). As he commented, it is probably not by chance that Roger taught in the manner he did: Trevor: From his perspective how he teaches gets the job done. Like he has 10 or 15 years [teaching] experience.... So for me, I could easily look at it sort of say 'Well, if it ain't broke don't fix it' (Int., Prac, Wk 5). For the time being Trevor resisted the temptation to follow this route and copy his sponsor. The language and statements he began to use, however, suggests that perhaps he was becoming increasingly resigned to the fact that his practicum would not be the powerful learning experience he had previously envisaged. For example, on several occasions he described thinking ahead to his first year of teaching, and he commented that after completing the practicum he would then be able to explore more fully the sort of teaching style that was best suited to him. In addition, he also speculated how different his practice would look during his first year of teaching. Trevor firmly stated that he did not expect to see much of Roger's influence in his teaching during this first year. I believe both of these examples are indicative of how Trevor was in the midst of changing his approach and expectations about what he might accomplish during his practicum. Instead of using it as an opportunity to explore teaching, Trevor became focused on getting through this experience and being allowed to enter the profession. In summary, it appeared that Trevor was willing to defer the task of developing his own style of teaching until first year in the profession, although how this might be accomplished later was unclear 128 Trevor: It's difficult right now to try and change too much ... I think hopefully, when I'm through this year things will settle down and I'll be able to sort things out. I think my first couple of years will be really a time to do this and get things in place (Int., Prac, Wk 5.). The problem of settling on a suitable teaching style was further complicated for Trevor by his growing awareness of other factors that were influential in dictating how he taught particular activities. This was brought sharply into focus for Trevor when he had to teach gymnastics. From the outset he was apprehensive about this content. By his own admission he had a "limited knowledge about gymnastics" (Stim-recall, Wk. 3) and he was particularly concerned about the question of student safety. His apprehension was heightened by a combination of a lack of familiarity about what the students would be able to achieve, and a limited know-how as to their current ability level. Therefore, in order to ease these worries Trevor chose to use a more "teacher directed" style, the same style he had been critical of when observing other teachers at the school: Trevor: Gymnastics is a tough call. I haven't taught gymnastics before ... So maybe structure will be the way to go ... I mean the more decisions the kids have to make the more they can be distracted and create problems ... So my main aim is just to keep things under control (Int., Prac, Wk 5.). In addition to developing a more detailed understanding of some of the content he had to teach, Trevor's experiences in teaching one block of students also tempered his ideas about using the practicum as an opportunity to experiment with different teaching styles. As part of a health and fitness lesson I observed him teach, Trevor wanted, in his own words, "to give the students some of the responsibility" (Field Notes, Practicum, Wk 4) for how the lesson progressed. For example, he designed activities in which students worked with partners to measure their respective heart rates under different levels of activity. He also encouraged students to enter into a class discussion about the effects of exercise on the heart, what it meant to be fit, and how they might begin to change their own activity habits. Finally, to finish the lesson the students went on a short run, after which they came back to monitor their heart rate as it returned to its resting level. As Trevor stated, his objective was to "try and convey the information in a practical and 129 applied way" (Field Notes, Practicum, Wk 4). As the lesson progressed Trevor became visually frustrated by the students' responses. They did not appear to want to engage with him in any kind of discussion, and the class became a teacher led monologue. During the run several students cut through the school, reducing its distance by over half. Lastly, at the end of the lesson, Trevor received only six out of a possible twenty five homework assignments he had previously set for this block. Immediately after the lesson Trevor lamented the student's lack of motivation to accept any kind or personal responsibility for their learning: Trevor: Their whole attitude. Like I am not sure if any of them want to learn anything in phys. ed. They just think phys. ed. is easy. ... I thought they would be into this because I tried to apply it and let them work through it themselves (Field Notes, Practicum, Wk 4). The following week when I returned to the school to meet with Trevor he immediately began our conversation by revisiting this lesson. He also drew my attention to a number of journal entries he had made, each specifically related to the way students acted during his physical education. Trevor noted that he had questioned other teachers about this phenomenon and for the most part they had confirmed his analysis that students preferred to "goof around" in physical education rather than learn anything. At this time, Trevor also talked about the decision he had made to change his approach to teaching this particular block of students. At this point Trevor read from his journal: Trevor: Could I imagine myself doing this [guided discovery] with ' C block? Like I don't think so... It seems to me that my expectations for these students are becoming smaller and smaller. I felt like at the end of the class, 'What did they realistically get?' I don't know. ... I was sort of thinking maybe I expected too much. Maybe I will have to take charge and make decisions for them. I still feel a bit shocked by it all (Int., Prac, Wk 5.). Although he did not want to be become an authoritarian and "strict style of teacher", Trevor concluded that if he was going to accomplish any worthwhile instruction with 130 some of his classes then he would be forced to "take charge" and "make the decisions" throughout each lesson (Int., Prac, Wk 5.). Again, in some cases this meant Trevor adopted the very structured and teacher directed style of instruction he had earlier critiqued. On this occasion however, this was a personal and considered decision by Trevor and not something that had been forced upon him by either his sponsor teacher or faculty advisor. Trevor also indicated that this decision had been made in the knowledge he would not necessarily use this teaching strategy with all his classes during the remainder of his practicum, although he did feel himself drifting in this direction: Trevor: Well it sort of makes you sit back and take stock. Geez, you know. I'm not half way through [the practicum] yet. ... But a lot of these kids, they are just not motivated ... So I thought maybe I need to keep a tight rein on things because otherwise they might just blow it [P.E] off. Dave: Do you think you will do this with your other classes? Trevor: Well, the more I get into this I am beginning to wonder if I will go that way. ... It's a tough call (Int., Prac, Wk. 5). - Trevor's earlier sense of optimism appeared to be losing its shine. Teaching was not proving to be as personally satisfying as he had hoped. Even at this early stage of his teaching career I wondered if Trevor had begun to recognize how, for many students, physical education was a marginal subject in schools and had few consequences towards their eventual graduation. As I tried to account for the sense of culture shock being experienced by Trevor, it occurred to me that perhaps his own athletic background might have been an important factor. Most physical education preservice teachers, including Trevor, have been successful and competitive athletes. It is also probably safe to assume that as students they have been competent and motivated participants in physical education lessons. These experiences may have served to insulate Trevor from recognizing that many secondary school students are not interested in learning anything in physical education, and they are not concerned about pursuing an active role in sport after leaving school. Instead they look upon physical education as a break from academic school life and a chance to blow off steam without being under pressure to achieve academically. During his practicum Trevor quickly came face to face with the realities of teaching such individuals and they appeared to be having a strong impact on his 131 development as a physical educator. He had become more custodial and conservative in his actions, and had been forced to reconsider both the depth of knowledge he should offer the students during a lesson and how he might best facilitate their learning such knowledge: Trevor: I think coming from university you become accustomed to what learning is all about... [and] you go into teaching thinking this is going to be great, I am going to be able to teach them all this stuff I know about certain sports. And then I guess [pause] you kind of come to the realization that you will maybe have to forgo all the things that you know, even though you see them as important (Stim-recall, Wk. 3.). Despite these uncertainties Trevor still decided to teach a track and field lesson using what he called a "guided discovery"1 9 style of teaching. Although I did not observe this lesson, Trevor described what had taken place. Again, of primary concern to Trevor was that the students had not responded as positively as he would have liked. In addition, Trevor commented that after the lesson he had been "heavily criticized" by his sponsor: Trevor: Roger really laid into me ... [saying] there was no real teaching going on and no instruction. He said it was a good idea but you didn't teach them anything ... [And] he really stressed that I had to teach them some skills (Int., Prac, Wk 7.). Looking back on this lesson Trevor put it down to part of the learning process he was going through - "I mean you go through a lot of highs and lows ... but as you go day by day you come to understand things a little better. And in the end, what you want to be is a teacher. ... I guess the pieces start to fit into the puzzle" (Int., Prac, Wk 7.). This occasion, however, was the last time Trevor made any specific reference to the issue of the style or type of teacher into which he wanted to develop. He became increasingly cognizant of the need to "get through this [practicum] thing." He described the practicum as a period in which he was expected to "pay his dues" before entering the profession and 19. As an assignment in his physical education secondary methods course required Trevor to develop a number of alternate lesson plans for teaching a particular skill. Each plan was based upon a different teaching style as described by Moston (1969). One of these styles was "guided discovery." 132 that "sometimes survival is what you want to concentrate on" (Int., Prac, Wk 7.). As a result, during the middle portion of his practicum Trevor moved out of his initial optimistic phase and into a survival period dedicated to "getting through" and "obtaining a good reference" (Int., Prac, Wk 7). He was careful of the 'impression' he created for his sponsor, although he maintained a private reservation about teaching in a way that matched Roger's expectations. From this point Trevor remained an active if somewhat compliant participant in his development. In his immediate future playing the game rather than learning how to teach became the focus of his attention. 2. Playing the Game Trevor's two-week pre-practicum experience had provided him with a glimpse of what he might expect in terms of collaborating and working with his sponsor. He immediately identified a difference between his own and his sponsor's approach to teaching, and Trevor described the curriculum as being "highly skill oriented." Consequently, before his practicum had begun Trevor was also willing to concede there would be occasions when he would be "forced to conform to my sponsor in the sense that he is going to be evaluating me" (Int., Pre-prac). Trevor summarized this situation in the following way: Trevor: His teaching style probably reflects his philosophy. ... So if his philosophy is to make sure the kid get a handle on the skills then obviously he is going to expect that of me. If he doesn't see that then he is going to think I am not ready (Int., Pre-prac). Similarly, Trevor anticipated that his faculty advisor, would also expect to see "evidence that I can make the grade" (Int., Pre-prac). Nevertheless, despite expecting to teach for an audience of a sponsor teacher and a faculty advisor Trevor remained optimistic about having an opportunity to "stretch my own wings" and develop some of his own ideas about teaching physical education. Early into the practicum, however, Trevor described feeling subtlety pressured to "fall into line." In addition, by the third week of his practicum he stated that he had been asked to take on a full teaching load and he questioned the motive behind this request: 133 Trevor: Well it makes me wonder what it is that is important here. Like if I am being inundated with all these courses I don't get an opportunity to make these creative lesson plans. Or, is it better I just get thrown into this situation and do as I am told by [my sponsors] (Int., Prac, Wk 5.). As a result, in the period leading up to the spring break (mid-point of the practicum) Trevor became even more pragmatic about what he could expect to achieve during the remainder of his practicum. He acknowledged the need to filter his actions through a willingness to please his sponsor and he adopted a perspective that would avoid any potential conflict between the two of them. In effect Trevor decided upon "taking the path of least resistance" (Cunningham, 1979). He also changed his opinion of the function of the practicum which he now referred to as "firstly it's a testing ground" for entry into the profession, and "secondly it's a learning experience". Further, Trevor noted that as a preservice teacher it was easier for him to accede to the way things were than to attempt to change a situation in the limited time he was in school: Trevor: Because the goal as I see it is to graduate and have Roger be able to say 'Yes, - I think he is going to be a good teacher'... so if I can get a good letter of reference from him because the number one objective for myself is to get a job ... [rather than] him saying 'Well he's all right but you know he did things a little differently (Int., Prac, Wk 5.). To a large extent this was still a conscious and informed decision on Trevor's part and he was sensitive to the need to carefully manage the impression he created for his sponsor. As a result, within his teaching Trevor established a public face for his sponsor and a private meaning for himself. For example, in one of the later stimulated recall sessions we conducted, as he watched the videotape of his tennis lesson Trevor offered an apologetic evaluation of certain segments of his teaching performance: Trevor: Well, Roger likes it that way and stuff... like the way I am teaching right now is just for Roger. To keep him happy so that he is pleased with what I am doing ... Here again, I have been working on my questioning because Roger wanted it (Stim-recall., Wk 11.). 134 Trevor rationalized this situation as one in which he was "paying his dues" before being allowed to enter the teaching profession. Trevor believed that once he had a full time teaching position it would bring with it the flexibility he needed to say "this is my class and I can do whatever I want with my class." Trevor continued: Trevor: I won't have anybody observing me to say 'Well Trev, I really think you should be doing it this way', or 'I really don't agree with you.' Well fine you don't have to agree. Once I have a job I'll have an opportunity to explore things more and sort of take it all in. I will be able to be myself (Int., Prac, Wk7.). During the final weeks of his practicum Trevor was further motivated by the thought of becoming a first year teacher and being allowed to dictate the pace and direction of his own development. He anticipated that his first year would provide a different and more rewarding challenge than had been the case during his practicum. In particular, he looked forward to being able to test out some of his own ideas about teaching without the threat of being constantly evaluated: Trevor: I really find it tough to be myself when I am being evaluated all the time... but I strongly believe it really gets a lot easier once you are on your own because you are working for yourself and you are making all the decisions. It's then you are developing your own philosophy about things and I think that will be a good thing (Int., Prac, Wk 10.). When Trevor looked into the future he did not think he would see much of Roger's influence in his own teaching. Although there had been occasions when he had copied his sponsor, Trevor had done so while keeping his own ideas on hold: Trevor: I don't really think you'll see much of Roger's way of teaching... I mean the kids really respect him but I still want to try some of my own ideas... find myself a little room to breathe (Int., Prac, Wk 13.). 135 As a consequence of having to play the game Trevor moved away from the issue of trying to develop his own style, something he substituted with a need to get through the practicum. As he emerged from this tactical phase and he believed he had met the expectations of his sponsor, there was a marked change in the depth of understanding and range of insights Trevor began to generate about his practice. Roger did not observe Trevor as often as had been the case earlier in the practicum, and Trevor felt much more at ease with his teaching performance. Through both his journal entries and our meetings at the school he expressed some increasingly complex ideas about his practice. As this took place Trevor began to view teaching as a more spontaneous and interactive process and he appeared to become a more pedagogically thoughtful teacher. It is to this change we shall now turn in examining his practicum experiences. 3. Becoming Pedagogically Thoughtful Prior to his practicum Trevor completed a four month period of intensive coursework. He summarized this experience as one in which large amounts of "material is drilled at you" with "little time to try and make sense of it all" (Int., Pre-prac). He also remarked how certain courses had been "quite out of touch ... [and] really theoretical" and that he had found it difficult to relate them to the actual practice of teaching: Trevor: The program is very intensive and I found a lot of the information goes sort of swoosh [gestures his hand over the top of his head]... [and] when I went into the pre-practicum experience I thought a lot of it really didn't make much sense... it didn't seem to fit (Int., Pre-prac). Perhaps as a result of this fragmented experience Trevor entered the practicum holding a relatively unsophisticated model of what constituted effective teaching in physical education. He defined an effective physical educator as an individual who possessed a repertoire of well practiced and refined "teaching skills" in areas such as planning, management, communication and questioning. According to Trevor, the challenge for any teacher was to use these skills to "keep the students on task" for as long as possible during each lesson (Int., Pre-prac). While not immediately apparent to Trevor himself, his definition closely mirrored the content that had been presented during the coursework portion of his program, in particular the physical education secondary 136 methods class. In the first few weeks of his practicum Trevor continued to adhere to this 'skill based model' for effective teaching. Examining his experiences in light of certain teaching skills provided Trevor with a framework around which he could evaluate and understand his practice. It was also a period during which Trevor, although not wanting to become a copy of another teacher, expected more experienced teachers to provide him with the "tips," "short cuts," and "tricks of the trade" that he felt he needed to acquire. He believed that experienced teachers possessed such a repertoire of these ideas and it was these which differentiated experienced from novice teachers. According to Trevor: Trevor: What I don't know or have is that store of tricks or catches to make a lesson work ... That's where we [preservice teachers] fall down and why we are out here (Int., Prac, Wk 5.). One of the skills which Trevor associated very strongly with effective teaching was the need for detailed lesson plans. He said that their importance had been "really hammered home" during the coursework and he described planning as the first and most important step to effective teaching: Trevor: Well I think a good teacher in any subject is primarily a good planner. You have things laid out and you know what you have to do and how to get there ... For me the plan is where it [teaching] all begins (Stim-recall, Wk. 3). Trevor also stated how his own lesson plans took him many hours to prepare. This concerned Trevor because he was not sure if he would be able to continue "churning out" such detailed plans when he took on board his full complement of lessons. In addition he also observed how other teachers rarely appeared to have any written plans. Thus for Trevor, important knowledge about teaching revolved around understanding how to produce a plan which was detailed enough to use to guide his teaching but did not take a large amount of time to prepare. Trevor's belief in the value of detailed lesson plans was also reflected in his actual 137 lesson execution. During most lessons he stuck very closely to his original outline with time being the most important factor in his decision as to when or how to progress. In a lesson I observed him teach on sprinting there were occasions when Trevor pressed ahead appearing almost unaware of the student's presence in the class. He delivered the information and drills he had prepared, allocating a pre-set amount of time in which to complete each drill. If a segment of the lesson was not finished Trevor moved on regardless of the student's level of success. Even mid-way through this same lesson when bad weather forced him to move the class indoors, he held tightly to his plan rushing through its final stages in order to cover the prepared content (Field notes, Wk 6.). The skill of planning was attractive to Trevor for several reasons. First, he saw it as a necessary and key requisite to student learning. If a lesson was well planned and clearly organized, then despite other factors the students should still learn: Trevor: Like a good lesson plan, an organized lesson where you have got the kids boom, boom, boom, boom, this is what they are doing. It's so important. They are going to be 'on task'. They are going to be intrigued about what you. are doing, [pause] And in the end they will learn from you (Stim-recall, Wk. 3.). Second, Trevor relied upon his planning skills to help him evaluate his own teaching performance. According to Trevor "if things go wrong you should be able to look back at the plan, find out why and change it for next time" (Stim-recall, Wk. 3.). Planning provided Trevor with a starting point from which he could begin to analyze and make sense of his practice. In analyzing a gymnastics lesson he remarked: Trevor: I was teaching vaulting... [and] I just had too many kids at once, not enough interest, spotting was poor. It just wasn't well organized... it wasn't good enough for the situation and the environment. It didn't fit... so in the end you have to look at how it was planned (Stim-recall, Wk. 3.). Consequently, at this early stage of his practicum Trevor defined a good lesson as one that was well planned with little time wasted in the transitions between tasks and 138 during the tasks themselves. Conversely, a bad lesson had all the characteristics of being poorly prepared and organized with a great deal of "off task behavior" by the students (Stim-recall, Wk. 3.). As Trevor became more relaxed and at ease with the students and the school he began to expand upon his 'skill' model or definition for effective teaching. For example, he sometimes described his teaching as "too structured" and he complained that he was "not spontaneous enough" (Field notes, Wk. 6). The limitations of this model became particularly apparent to Trevor after he taught a lesson which he considered to have been successful. These successes provided him with a brief, exciting, and intriguing glimpse of the direction in which he wanted to grow and develop as a teacher. For example, Trevor described how one of his successful lesson had whetted his appetite and caused him to become curious about his practice: Trevor: The thing that was important was I was thinking it was very spontaneous infront of the class... and I had this sense of like geez this is what teaching is all about. The teacher gets an idea in his head and he is able to convey it to the class. And he is able.to expand upon things that are written down in his lesson plan and make it flow easier so the kids are able to grasp the important aspects (Int., Prac, Wk 5, emphasis in original). Successful lessons inspired Trevor to make the comment "this is what teaching is all about." They also encouraged him to think about his teaching in more complex and insightful ways. As Trevor stated when discussing one of his journal entries: Trevor: I wrote, [Trevor reads from his journal] "the successful class helps me put all this mess into the proper context. What was good about it? Well I remember firstly the class was well organized and it allowed me to keep them active ... [but] it also gave me the opportunity to interact one on one with the kids. I was able to deal with the different ability levels and work with individual students ... I was more flexible and interactive (Int., Prac, Wk 7). These successes encouraged Trevor to critique and build upon his ideas and image 139 about what effective teaching entailed! Although he still acknowledged the value of possessing and refining certain skills, Trevor began to look upon these skills as a means to an end. He recognized that in addition to being purely technical, important knowledge about teaching also had a less easily definable almost tacit quality. This knowledge grew out of the immediacy of the multiple decisions a teacher has to make during a lesson. Consequently, as he examined his practice more carefully Trevor moved beyond ideas that were bound up in a management and control approach towards understanding effective teaching. Unfortunately, the desire to flesh out and build upon these insights was superseded by a need to "play the game." It was only later, when Trevor was sure he had 'won' the game, that he returned to this issue and accepted the challenge and task of making the transition towards being a Pedagogically Thoughtful Practitioner. In the following section we will examine more closely what Trevor understood by this transition and how he began to make decisions about his practice based upon this by emergent practical knowledge. Trevor the thoughtful practitioner Compared to the idea of "teaching skills," Trevor found these emerging insights much more difficult to grasp: Trevor: You know I feel myself growing and I look at things differently now but it is so difficult to put it into words... like the more you think about it sometimes, the more it just sort of keeps slipping through your fingers (Int., Prac, Wk 7.). He persevered in trying to "get a handle on things" (Int., Prac, Wk 7.) and increased his efforts to make sense of his experiences. On several occasions Trevor remarked about the value of "thinking on his feet" while teaching. Whereas his earlier teaching had been "very structured" and predictable, Trevor noted he was now "more flexible" and that he had "developed a flow to [his] teaching" (Stim-recall, Wk 11.): Trevor: Sort of reacting to the class. You look at their skill level and try to decide when it makes sense to jump to the next skill... Instead of looking at the clock or your plan, the kids help you decide when or how to move on... 140 [And] it's neat because you feel you are making a connection with the students. You're responding to them and them to you (Stim-recall, Wk 11.) Thus, rather than progressing mechanically through a detailed lesson plan, Trevor now described himself being "more responsive to the students' needs" and willing to "adjust and adapt" to what was taking place: Trevor: At the beginning of the practicum you weren't even looking for these things. You were interested in how much time should it be before the next drill and what are we going to do next? But now you are actually getting the drill started and then you watch the kids. What is the level of competence? Is the progression too difficult? How successful are they? These are things which run through your mind really quickly (Int., Prac, Wk 13). Trevor commented that, at times, it felt like he had developed an extra sense to his personality. This sense came into play when he was teaching a lesson and reacting to events that were taking place. Although he could not isolate how this sense had developed or where the stimulus came from to put it to use, Trevor believed it was an important part of helping him think on his feet and react to the flow of a lesson: Trevor: Like you are watching the students and you decide to bring them together to explain something. It's like you look around and this extra sense just tells you this is what you should do,... [or] you see an opportunity to help somebody one on one... These decisions happen so quickly. You don't prepare for them they just flash through your head (Int., Prac, Wk 13). While Trevor referred to these insights as an extra sense, I would argue that he had in fact constructed practical knowledge about teaching. This knowledge grew out of his practice and was immediately applicable to his teaching. When pressed on this topic Trevor went on to compare his new insights with those he had previously held about the effective teaching of physical education. Trevor even went as far as to rationalize why detailed lesson planning had been so heavily emphasized during the coursework component of his program: 141 Trevor: In some sense it's not bad to develop detailed lesson plans at first because to tell a first year teacher you should be more spontaneous and adapt to individual needs and stuff when you are planning, like that would be really stressful... [But] as you grow and develop you realize teaching is not written in stone. You come to learn what is relevant and what isn't and the detailed written planning is not as important as I thought (Int., Prac, Wk 13). As Trevor became more inclined to analyze and think about his practice in this manner, the ideas and insights he accumulated began to spill over into other areas of his teaching. Changes in his ideas on class management are a good example of the direction in which Trevor's thinking had moved and the active role he took in his development. In keeping with his previous model of effective teaching Trevor initially believed that class management was one of the skills in which a teacher needed to be competent. As he talked about this issue Trevor reflected upon how this topic had been presented during his coursework: Trevor: Like everybody was so worried in the courses prior to the practicum. Like we were not getting to the management section... And I rememberer myself flipping through this [course] book saying 'O.K., this is the most important thing about teaching, like how am I going to control these guys' so when do we get to cover it' (Stim-recall, Wk 11). As he observed his two sponsors (P.E. and Socials) Trevor noted how neither appeared to make any explicit reference to the issue of class management with the students. Trevor suggested that perhaps this was something they had done earlier in the year when they first met the students. He also commented that no amount of verbal instruction to the students would ever establish his own standards. According to Trevor, class management had to be built into everything you did as a teacher. It required that you think ahead about the students and predict what might occur rather than react after an incident or event had taken place. Again, this would appear to be indicative of a change in Trevor's thinking about his practice. He now realized that the insights or knowledge he needed to know about teaching would emerge from his practice, and his understanding of 142 that practice over time. As Trevor stated, in order to manage a class the teacher "has to read the class and respond to how things are": Trevor: Now I can see that management is not some course you take. You can't just add it on. If you are going to excel in teaching you can't yell enough or be mean enough and have management because it's not going to work. ... I see how it's built in all the way along and most of the time you really don't need to concern yourself with it too much. Just keep on top of things before they break out (Int., Prac, Wk 13.). III. Case Summary As the practicum began Trevor was optimistic about having the opportunity to test some of his own ideas about teaching and to "stretch his own wings". Quite early into the practicum, however, Trevor described feeling under subtle pressure to meet the expectations of his sponsor. Indeed, by the end of the first month in school he had taken on a full teaching load and Trevor replaced many of his learning and growth goals with a desire to "get through" his practicum. In many respects he 'strategically complied' with what he thought his sponsor wanted to see him exhibit in terms of teaching competence, and for much of the early part of the practicum he was quite willing to 'play the game.' Thus, in some respects there was a political dimension to the practical knowledge Trevor constructed during his practicum and for lengthy periods he adopted a pedagogy of necessity (Tinning, 1987). Despite these circumstances Trevor maintained an active and independent role in his development as a teacher. He was cognizant of not becoming a clone of his sponsor and remained inquisitive about his practice. His curiosity was fuelled by the occasions he taught what he considered to have been a successful lesson. While Trevor was initially unable to grasp or describe what he liked about these successes, they did cause him to question the validity of some of his earlier ideas on what an effective physical education teacher did. Successful lessons gave Trevor a glimpse of a side to teaching expertise he had previously not imagined. Consequently, whereas his early teaching had been very structured and predictable, Trevor became more flexible, adaptable and 'pedagogically thoughtful.' These changes were evident in the language he used to describe his practice. 143 Trevor explained himself as "thinking on his feet", being "more flexible", "spontaneous" and "responsive" in his teaching. At one point he even alluded to feeling he had developed an "extra sense that just tells you this is what you should do": Trevor: You can do all the planning in the world, but when you are actually teaching someone and helping the learning process you cannot rehearse this. It is not premeditated. Teaching is truly an experiential thing. You just have to go with the flow of how you see things going... You have an idea of how things will progress but you aren't sure what things will trigger you. Like what ideas you will get while you are out there. You can never plan these things (Stim-recall, Wk 11.). Clearly Trevor had made a transition in his teaching from a preservice teacher possessing "O.K. management skills" and who was a "good planner" (Stim-recall, Wk. 3.), to a thoughtful practitioner capable of "reacting to the flow of a lesson" (Int., Prac, Wk 13. When teaching certain content, rather than relying solely on information or principles from his teacher education coursework to inform his practice, he began to trust his own judgement and intuition. Thus, like other cases in this study, there was a tacit and experiential quality to the nature of the practical knowledge he was beginning to construct. This knowledge was embedded within the context of his practice and only emerged as he became directly engaged in the act of teaching. 144 C H A P T E R 7 T H E CASE OF M A R Y The Case of Mary begins by "Introducing Mary" to the reader. As with other cases in this study, this introduction is important as it provides the reader with an overview of how Mary approached her practicum experience and what she hoped to achieve. The analysis of the case is written in three sections. These are "Going it Alone", "Teaching is Just Something You Do!", and "Breaking Down Skills". Finally, a summary is provided which allows the reader to quickly review the case and the substantive issues that have been discussed. I. Introduction The following case is based upon the practicum experiences of Mary. Her practicum took place at a large high school of over 1,900 students in a school district outside of Vancouver. Mary's main area of teaching responsibility was physical education (grades nine and ten female), but she also taught two blocks of social studies (grades nine and ten). The content covered in Mary's physical education lessons included track and field, basketball, gymnastics and dance. In addition to these classes Mary also took responsibility for a grade eleven female physical education class. In the province of British Columbia physical education is compulsory only until the completion of grade ten, after which it becomes an elective. The content covered in these lessons ranged from the traditional team games of volleyball and basketball, to other non-traditional activities such as indoor rock climbing, horse riding and hiking. As will be evidenced later in the case, this class had an important role within Mary's overall experience at the school. Mary's sponsor teacher was Janet. She was one of six teachers at the school who taught physical education. The analysis of this case, as with others in the study, will focus almost exclusively on Mary's experiences while she taught physical education. Introducing Mary Mary commented that while the decision to become a teacher was one that had "always been in the back of my mind", in the end "I just sort of walked into it without ever thinking about it too much" (Int., Pre-prac). In choosing a university undergraduate 145 program Mary said that she "drifted into phys. ed.... [because] it was just something that was interesting to me. It just seemed the natural thing to do" (Int., Pre-prac). Within the physical education undergraduate program Mary had enrolled in the instruction and coaching ( INCO) 2 0 concentration. Again, she remarked how this choice was somewhat inevitable "because it [INCO] appealed to me more than the others ... at the time I was more interested in coaching. I think in some ways I still am" (Int., Pre-prac). During her undergraduate studies Mary could not recall any specific moment when she finally settled upon a career in teaching. Consequently, as she neared completion of this degree Mary said the decision to apply for entry into the teacher education program was also somewhat inevitable: Mary: It wasn't until towards the end of my phys. ed. program that teaching became a definite option. I'd never really thought about it much until then. ... [But] when I think about it now I'm not too sure what else I could have done. Most people I graduated with wanted to get into [teacher] education and I suppose it just seemed the next step for me as well (Int., Pre-prac). While Mary described how she had initially "drifted in physical education," she also stated that she had always enjoyed participating in sport and physical activity. Mary remembered "competing in a number of sports" and she talked at length about her experiences playing "her sport" of basketball (Int., Pre-prac). Entering a degree program in physical education provided Mary with an opportunity to further pursue this interest, although at the time she was unsure where it would lead: Mary: I was good at it in school. I always enjoyed phys. ed.. Plus I could never grasp things that weren't reality like chemistry or math. phys. ed. seemed real to me. ... Like playing with my friends on teams and stuff. That's what it's all about for me. Working towards a goal (Int., Pre-prac). In explaining what aspects of her physical education experiences she had enjoyed the 20. Students can specialize in one option within the physical education undergraduate degree program. These are instruction and coaching (INCO), exercise science, and leisure and sport management. 146 most, Mary referred primarily to her involvement in different school and community sports teams. Her involvement in this competitive environment along with the opportunity to socialize with her friends, were those features of participating in physical education which most appealed to Mary. As I first listened to Mary's description of her prior experiences in physical education, even at this early stage of the case it occurred to me that, perhaps in Mary's mind, sport and physical education were two synonymous activities. Within her explanation Mary appeared unable to differentiate between her experiences as a student in regularly scheduled physical education classes, and those as an athlete and competitive team member. Interestingly, when Mary revealed which individuals had provided the strongest influences on her own ideas about teaching, she drew exclusively upon her interaction with certain coaches. For several years Mary's' physical education teacher was also her basketball coach. She "liked his approach" to teaching and the fact that "we got to play so much ... He made phys. ed. fun. To me it was just like a [team] practice" (Int., Pre-prac). Mary also recalled with great affinity the relationship the team had with the coach, and she aspired to have a similar relationship with the students she taught: Mary: Undoubtedly my high school basketball coach was the person I remember about the most.... He was this huge man, but he was sensitive. He showed us that he cared about what we did.... We just really looked up to him and I liked the respect I had for him and if a student could have that kind of respect for me that would be sort of an ideal thing for me (Int., Pre-prac). Given her own positive feelings towards and involvement in sport and physical education, it is not surprising that Mary stated her main objective was to give students "the same kinds of experiences that I had ... [and] help them feel the same way" (Int., Pre-prac). Essentially this meant her lessons had to be "fun", with a "variety of activities" and "maximum participation in the class as a whole". To accomplish this Mary suggested an ideal program should include "traditional team and individual sports", although she also believed her upcoming involvement with the grade eleven students was a valuable educational experience - "Like I'm taking my [grade eleven] class skiing and horseback riding. Things they will do after they have graduated. ... I think that's part of where phys. 147 ed. should be" (Int., Pre-prac.). As well as providing a fun experience for the students Mary stated that an important part of her role was "to break skills down and explain them" (Int., Pre-prac.) to the students. As will be evidenced later in the case, this remained an important area of growth for Mary. This emphasis on the improvement of particular sporting skills, however, again suggests a strong association for Mary between teaching and coaching. She argued that if students were able to improve their level of skill performance then they would probably enjoy her lessons, and this would serve to motivate them to continue participating in sport after graduating from school: Mary: It's my responsibility to teach them the proper way to do skills ... Like if they are doing a set shot in basketball or learning how to bump 2 1 in volleyball, I have to be able to help them. I can show them how to do it but I also have to break it down so they can practice (Int., Pre-prac). Mary was a dynamic and bubbly individual who clearly enjoyed participating in -physical activity, be it at a recreational or.competitive level. At the same time, however, this personal enthusiasm seemed to have given Mary a partial and somewhat blinkered impression of how other individuals experienced physical education. For example, she frequently described how difficult she found it to understand why some students did not like to take part in physical education classes: Mary: I could never understand why people didn't like [P.E.]. A l l my friends liked phys. ed.. The people who weren't my friends wouldn't bring gym shorts or wouldn't participate, and I thought, 'well why'? I just don't understand why. I mean sport is-so-much-fun! (Int., Pre-prac). Throughout the practicum Mary continued to struggle with this problem and she was extremely surprised by the attitude displayed by many of the students. This surprise was a topic of several conversations between Mary and myself. For example, a journal entry 21. "Bumping" is a term used in volleyball to describe a player lifting or raising the ball into the air to enable others to return it over the net. It is a foundational skill within the game. 148 that triggered one such conversation was as follows - "How do you motivate a student to participate in P.E.? This is a hard concept for me personally to understand because I have always enjoyed P.E." (Journal, Prac, Wk. 4). This issue proved to be a recurring theme within Mary's practicum. Overall, she found it both a puzzling and frustrating experience trying to instruct students who had little or no motivation to participate in physical education. The problem was brought even more sharply into focus for Mary when, a third of the way into the practicum, she was given the opportunity to teach the grade eleven physical education class. In contrast to her previous lessons with the grade nine and ten students, Mary noted that her work with the grade eleven class was "more enjoyable" and came close to meeting her expectations about what she thought it would be like to teach physical education. She found it less fatiguing, less frustrating, and more personally satisfying to teach the grade eleven students, and she had no difficulty in quickly establishing a productive relationship with this group. In large part, this situation was probably the result of this class being an elective, and the students being more intrinsically motivated towards participating in the lessons. My own observations also indicated that, in general, this group was more skilful and competitive than the other classes Mary had to teach. I also believe that Mary's personal satisfaction in teaching this group was enhanced by a number of other factors. First, the curriculum was flexible which allowed Mary to choose the activities she wanted to teach. Second, with her sponsor's approval, Mary had the authority to change the content of a particular lesson or series of lessons almost at will. For example, if the weather was amenable to the students going outside rather than being in the gymnasium, Mary was free to use this option. Thus, overall, when teaching the grade eleven class Mary described feeling "more at ease with [her]self... like we got things done. It's fun!". In turn this environment gave her the opportunity to interact with the students in a "more mature way"(Int., Prac, Wk. 13). In short, it may have been that Mary's interaction with these students which combined with the attitude and ability they demonstrated during these lessons, to produce for Mary a mirror image of her own experiences as a student: Mary: I find the attitude of the grade nines so difficult to work out. Some days they are just so lethargic and they will do anything to get out of doing it [P.E.]. ... The grade elevens though, they are much better to teach.... Much more 149 open minded and enthusiastic. I feel like I can communicate with them on their level and we get things done ... That's how I thought it [teaching] would be. Sort of easy going.... To me that's what it was like when I was in school (Int., Prac, Wk. 13). A further reason Mary characterized her lessons with these students as more satisfying was because she was able "to get into some of the material with them" (Int., Prac, Wk. 13). In elaborating what she meant by this phrase, Mary said "we played more games and worked on improving their skills" (Int., Prac, Wk. 13). Once more, this statement could be taken as being indicative of the strong connection existing in Mary's mind between coaching and teaching. She appeared to be attracted to the task of working intensively with a group of motivated students towards achieving some specific performance goals, a context that one usually associates more closely with coaching than teaching. This factor certainly played a role in what Mary learned about teaching physical education during her practicum. I would suggest, however, that in Mary's, case the role it played was to constrain rather than enhance this learning process. While her experiences teaching this group served to reinforce Mary's beliefs about the purpose and goals of teaching physical education, her interaction with the grade nine and ten students caused her some degree of confusion and dissatisfaction. She found it difficult to understand why many of these students did not want to take part in physical education, and she remained frustrated by the poor physical abilities they demonstrated during her lessons. Her response was to label these students as "lethargic" and "apathetic", and she declared "I guess that's just the way some students are. Just not interested. But I still don't see why. Not in phys. ed." (Int., Prac, Wk. 9). Unfortunately, by dismissing these students in this superficial and partly reactionary manner, I believe Mary may have missed an opportunity to make some valuable challenges and potential changes to her beliefs about teaching physical education. This problem could have provided Mary with a valuable site for constructing practical knowledge about teaching physical education at the secondary school level. While it would have been difficult for Mary to try and explore why the grade nine and ten students responded towards physical education as they did, exploring this problem may have 150 provided her with an important range of insights into the psychology or thinking of these individuals. Unfortunately, neither Mary nor her sponsor chose to make use of this occasion for inquiring into or generating alternative understandings about the teaching of physical education. Beyond laying blame squarely on the shoulders of the individual students for the attitude they displayed, Mary failed to search for other potential reasons to account for their behavior. Taking this route certainly gave Mary a trouble free and relatively comfortable passage through her practicum and it left her original beliefs and memories about teaching intact. She did not appear, however, to use this dissonance as a site to construct practical knowledge about teaching physical education. Mary appeared to hold a quite pragmatic view of herself as a teacher and what was required of her in fulfilling this role. Prior to the practicum she had a clear idea of what she needed to know in order to put this view into action. For example, Mary commented that to take the next step towards becoming a successful physical education teacher she needed to acquire information and "develop routines" that would have a specific and immediate impact within her teaching. Consequently, at this stage of her career she identified her major shortcomings as "not knowing what the progressions are for some sports", and "not having any set routines ... [to] deal with things like kids without strip". (Int. Pre-prac). Indeed, throughout the practicum this business like approach to her teaching remained a feature of how Mary's talked about and assessed her growth as a teacher. She continually focused on what took place during each lesson, and she measured the effectiveness of her actions in terms of their impact in directly changing the behavior or performance of the students. Aside from these issues Mary did not discuss having any explicit expectations about what she wanted or hoped to accomplish during the practicum. Her primary goal was "to gain more experience in schools ... [and] to become more confident about myself as a teacher" (Int., Pre-prac). In effect, Mary entered the practicum believing she possessed most if not all of the tools necessary to be a competent teacher. In her opinion what she lacked was experience in using these tools, and this became the primary purpose of the practicum. Possibly because of these beliefs and the linear relationship she perceived to exist 151 between theory and practice, Mary said it had been "difficult to make sense of" (Int., Pre-prac.) most of the coursework she had completed prior to the practicum. Her major criticism was: Mary: They never showed us how to teach anything ... ed. psych, and ed. studies should be scratched from the curriculum. How do they help us? ... I just don't see where a lot of it fits (Int., Pre-prac). Indeed, Mary's inability to find anything worthwhile in most of her coursework is particularly interesting when considering her ignorance of the attitude shown by some of the students she had to teach. In place of these courses Mary said she would have "liked more classes on what to do with kids who skip class, ... or the sort of stuff you can use everyday" (Int., Prac, Wk. 13). In her physical education methods class the instructor used one of the two weekly lectures to talk about planning, class management and various styles of teaching as they related to physical education. Mary described these lectures as "really boring ... [and] mainly common sense. ... Everything I learned in the methods class I already knew" (Int., Post). The second lecture, however, was designed as a teaching lab experience. Each lab was led by a different class member, who conducted a small workshop in the sport of their expertise. Mary referred to the workshops as "really useful and interesting ... because we got lots of resources and ideas on what to teach and how to teach it... sort of hands on stuff"(Int., Pre-prac): Mary: I had never picked up a grass hockey stick until I had that workshop and I found the material we got in them and the student handouts to be really useful. Like the progressions and stuff. I could see how it could apply to me (Int., Pre-prac). In addition to her criticisms of the methods class, Mary noted with some disdain how, in general, the teacher education program appeared to forget about physical education as a content area. Mary remarked that "in the communications course they skipped right over phys. ed. as a major" and that in Principles of Teaching course "they didn't give any examples from phys. ed. at all that I can remember" (Int., Pre-prac). Mary carried on to state: 152 Mary: And this is reflected in the education system. Before you had to take it [P.E.] to grade eleven and now you only take it to grade ten. ... And I think it's getting a bum rap.... Like that's what my talk is about today, quality daily physical education and the need for it in schools (Int., Pre-prac). According to Mary an integral component of a quality physical education program was to make it relevant to the students' lives. On this point Mary was adamant. She was a less sure, however, on how to achieve this objective. In Mary's opinion the most appropriate way to make classes relevant was to ensure physical education was fun. She argued that "if it's fun they will want to do it and then hopefully they will carry on with it later in life" (Int., Pre-prac). The primary strategy that Mary employed for making her lessons fun was to provide students with similar if not identical experiences to those she had participated in as a student. The logic she used to support this decision was quite straightforward: if it worked for me why shouldn't it have the same effect now. As Mary soon discovered, however, understanding how to motivate students and make physical education a fun and meaningful experience for individuals who were "less than ideal" participants proved to be a formidable and frustrating challenge. II. Case Analysis Undertaking the task of analyzing the data from this case has proven to be difficult, troublesome, and in some instances a discouraging experience. While the previous cases (Kate, John and Trevor) left me optimistic about the practicum as a learning experience, much of the present case (Mary) has had the opposite effect. This was a conclusion not missed by Mary herself. She described the practicum as "not a very special event", and overall she did not feel it had been a productive learning experience. In supporting this claim Mary explained that the experience had not presented her with any new or different ideas about teaching of physical education, and that for lengthy periods she had been "basically going through the motions and waiting to finish ... putting the hours in sort of thing" (Int., Prac, Wk. 12). After completing the practicum Mary summarized her feelings towards the experience with the following statement: 153 Mary: I don't feel I really learned anything during the practicum. It was totally what I expected ... [and] all I did was a continuation of my own [high school] experiences in school. Even the curriculum was the same and that made me feel very comfortable.... No-one showed me different ways to do things, like alternate ways, so basically I taught how I was taught [and] it seemed to work ok so I stuck with it. ... I was really surprised. I thought they [Janet] were there to help me [Mary smirkingly laughs] (Int., Post). This statement begins to shed some light on the reasons why Mary did not feel the practicum had developed into a learning experience. There were two factors which were particularly critical in determining the direction in which Mary's practicum evolved. The first was the lack of guidance and feedback offered to her by Janet, her physical education sponsor. Throughout the experience Mary was neither encouraged nor shown how she might begin to critique her own practice. While this was certainly an important factor, I believe the effects of this lack of guidance were magnified for Mary by a second factor, namely her personal disposition towards teaching and belief that teaching physical education was simply an active and not a reflective or thinking activity. It would appear that a combination of these two factors (lack of feedback and Mary's disposition) succeeded in shaping her practicum into something much closer to a 'substitute teaching' rather than a 'learning to teach' experience. In the sections titled "Going it alone" and "Teaching is just something you do", I will describe each factor in greater detail and explore how they impacted upon Mary's practice as a beginning teacher. Before doing so there is one final point which should be recognized. Despite feeling she not really learned anything about teaching during the practicum experience, Mary did comment that she had enjoyed the chance to teach "real students." More importantly, perhaps, after completing her thirteen weeks she described the experience as a necessary step towards becoming a teacher: Mary: The way I see it, it was both good and bad. Like we've already talked about what happened with Janet and stuff. But it was good as well because I got to teach how I wanted.... In the end the quickest way to improve your teaching is to get in school and get more experience doing it. And I think that's what I 154 needed ... I don't know what use I'll get out of the [post practicum] courses we are going to do ... I'm ready to teach. I just want to get back out there (Int., Post). Britzman (1991) identifies a number of myths that relate to how preservice teachers view the process of becoming a teacher. She describes one of these as the belief that 'experience makes a teacher'. The views expressed by Mary provide support for this myth. She strongly believed that the more experience she gained in school teaching, the more she would learn about teaching. Johnston (1994) refers to this as the 'banking metaphor' for student teaching. Johnston claims that during the practicum the aim of many preservice teachers is to build up a positive credit balance of experiences. She states that these individuals commonly imagine the more time they spend in school, the larger will be credit balance of experiences that they accumulate. The argument then follows, the larger the credit balance an individual is able to gain, the more they think they have learned about teaching and the better the teacher they will become. Given this insight into how Mary viewed the process of becoming a teacher, I will now explore twa factors which determined the direction and quality of her growth during the practicum experience. 1. Going it Alone Although Mary's relationship with her sponsor was always amicable, from very early in the practicum she believed that Janet's primary motive for being a sponsor was to create some spare time for herself. Within her journal Mary wrote specifically about this issue - "Question: Do teachers request student-teachers because they want to share their knowledge and help the teachers of tomorrow, or do they want lots of time off?" (Journal, Prac, Wk. 5). This concern remained at the forefront of Mary's thinking. During one of our on-site meetings she commented, "I think Janet really enjoys the fact that she's got a student teacher and that she has lots of free time because she is always leaving. ... Oh I've got to take my daughter to day care. Off she goes" (Int., Prac, Wk. 6). Eventually this led her to question the motivation for sponsors to request student teachers, and she described her practicum in the following terms - "I feel more like a sub[titute] than a student teacher. The subs I've seen basically do the same as me ... Right now I just come in and 155 get on with it" (Int., Prac., Wk. 6). Mary said that she rarely received any feedback from Janet, and when she did it tended to be in the form of quick conversations between lessons or as the equipment was being put away - "she has written very little, like two reports and they have both been really vague" (Int., Prac, Wk. 6). Mary also indicated that her observations of several lessons taught by Janet had not caused her to reconsider any of her own ideas about teaching. Mary said that they both "had a kind of laid back and not too stressed" approach (Int., Prac, Wk 3.). Despite this lack of guidance, Mary described herself feeling quite comfortable with the situation. Indeed, Mary equated the lack of feedback or criticism as an indication that she was having a successful practicum: Mary: I don't think it's really hurting me because I'm not having any trouble ... like I know I'm not doing everything perfect but the lack of feedback, well I think OK, I guess I've got nothing to improve.... I keep telling myself 'geez, I'm really lucky on this practicum'. This guy in my car pool. Like every day he has some other problem. And I think holy smokes, did I ever luck out ... [But] it's also down to my personality. (Int., Prac, Wk. 9). For different reasons the third member of Mary's supervisory triad, her university faculty advisor, also had little influence on her teaching. Mary's assessment of her faculty advisor was that her primary role was to evaluate rather that educate. The most important endorsement that Mary wanted to receive from her faculty advisor was a "rubber stamp" to indicate she had passed the practicum: Mary: My faculty advisor was an evaluator. Yes definitely an evaluator. I think we sat down and talked about how we might change a lesson a few times but it was always more about that one lesson she had seen. The other times she gave me the report and was off to her next one. ... She was not influential at all (Int., Post). 156 Within this environment Mary relied exclusively upon two sources or strategies to inform her practice. The first of these was her own experiences as a student. Mary enjoyed her own experiences in high school, although as I previously commented, I believe she had difficulty separating her experiences playing on teams from those as a student in regular physical education classes. This factor aside Mary relied heavily upon these experiences in justifying her decision to teach the same way that she had been taught. As a result, rather than challenging Mary to think about or question what she was trying to accomplish as a physical educator, the practicum served to confirm and reinforce her ideas about teaching this subject: Mary: I haven't done anything that I didn't think I ever would. So I would say I've basically taught how I was taught myself... [And] it's helped to validate some of my ideas on what I thought teaching would be like (Int., Prac, Wk. 10). The second strategy Mary used to guide her practice was one she labelled as 'trial and error' "because I don't have the guidance I find it's a trial and error thing for me" (Int., .Prac, Wk..7). She also remarked that "making mistakes is part of the process you go through" (Int., Prac, Wk. 7) in learning how to teach. Many preservice teachers can feel vulnerable by relying upon such a less predictable or controlled strategy to inform their practice, particularly in light of the constant evaluation that takes place during the practicum. Clearly such an apprehension was not part of Mary's thinking. When I encouraged Mary to try and present examples of what this trial and error process entailed, she explained she employed it to change the mechanics of a lesson: Mary: With the grade nines I teach the same lesson to each block so the trial and error thing has its benefits. Like sometimes I spend way too long on a drill and then I have to rush the end. So next lesson I change it... But it's like you have to do it once to see (Int., Prac, Wk. 10). In another situation Mary said how, during a gymnastics lesson, she had been unhappy with the number of students who had gathered around the balance beam and not fully participated. Therefore, for the next class she decided not to use the beam as a 157 specific activity until later in the lesson, after which time she was sure the students had accomplished what she wanted them to: Mary: With the balance beam it's difficult to see what might come up. You have to do it and see your mistakes.... It left too many people standing around so I changed the next lesson. ... It's really just a 'trial and error' situation. You try something and see what works (Int., Prac, Wk. 5). It may be possible to claim that by using this 'trail and error' strategy Mary was being reflective about her practice, however, any reflection remained at a strictly technical level. Teaching was never a complex activity for Mary. She was rarely forced to question or critique her practice, and for the most part the practicum became a straightforward and mundane experience. While this situation was brought about in part by the lack of feedback or guidance she was offered, Mary's lack of growth was also supported by a second factor. This was her belief that it was an active rather than a thinking activity. 2. "Teaching is just something you do" _ As I reviewed the data from this case my initial reaction was that there appeared to be some similarities between Mary's experiences and those of the other participants in the study. For example, John also found himself in a situation where his sponsor offered little constructive or critical feedback about his practice. Within this environment John accepted the challenge of thinking about and conducting an internal conversation or dialogue about his practice. Mary, on the other hand, found this process difficult if not impossible to accomplish. She believed quite strongly that "teaching is just something you do. I find you don't think about it so much as you just do it. ... That was my whole approach" (Int., Post., emphasis added). In addition, because Mary's practicum was a "laid back experience" that presented few challenges, this served to reinforce her belief that it was not essential or important as a teacher to engage in any kind of dialectical thinking process. Throughout the practicum Mary made a number of specific comments in regards to this issue: Mary: As long as I know what I'm doing I don't write down all the objectives and teaching points ... In phys. ed. I know what I'm doing so I just get on with it. 158 ... Like in socials I find I sit down and think it through but in phys. ed. I just do it (Int., Prac, Wk. 3). If a lesson went really well I tend to forget about it and go to the next one ... I find there's not much you can learn from these lessons. The best thing you can do is to try and repeat it (Int., Prac, Wk. 5). I don't tend to think about what is happening too much. It's sort of a case, 'well nobody is questioning me so why should I myself sort of thing?' ... I don't self evaluate at all. That's just the way I am (Stim-recall, Prac, Wk. 9). For me it's [teaching] more of a physical process than a mental one ... It's more trial and error, something you do and see what happens ... I would say I didn't spend much time at all reflecting (Int., Post., emphasis added). Mary maintained that good teachers possessed a "data bank" of actions, and as they taught they chose which action to use in any given situation. In Mary's opinion, a major ..., part of learning to teach was bound up in acquiring a range of alternate actions for use within her practice. Further, because these actions were context dependant and the ideal setting for their development was the practicum: Mary: As I see it, a more experienced teacher has a situation to deal with and a range of choices about what action to take. They have to decide which one to use. So what I need from this experience is to get a variety of different ideas on what to do.... That's one of the main reason why I'm here, to learn what to do in different situations. Like what to do with kids who don't want to participate ... or those who screw around in class ... For me that's the whole point of learning to become a teacher (Int., Prac, Wk. 3). Mary was very much at ease in a teaching environment. She noted that teaching physical education "is something that comes naturally to me ... I find I don't have to work at it" (Int., Prac, Wk. 9). While Mary remarked that her preparation for and teaching of social studies was "more structured" and "less flexible", she also stated that one of her 159 goals was to transfer her approach and personality from a physical education setting into her socials teaching: Mary: I always felt relaxed teaching phys. ed. ... That would be how I want to be with all my lessons. As it progressed I did transfer some of my personality from phys. ed. into my socials [classes] and I was more easy going. But that's how I am anyway (Int., Post.). Mary's firm belief that teaching was an active more than thinking activity was further revealed in her descriptions of the way she planned certain lessons. Finding herself in a situation where she received little feedback, for the most part Mary was accountable to only herself for any decisions and actions she took. She remarked that this factor had contributed to her greatly reducing the amount of written formal lesson preparation that she conducted. Interestingly, when compared to the planning she had been required to complete during her coursework prior to the practicum, Mary described her current planning process as "more natural": Mary; My written lesson plans are way less now than before, like 'way.less'... [and] to be honest I'm not sure I ever use them too much anyway. They were more for [Faculty Advisor] than me. Now I find I have things planned in my head and once the lesson starts it's all pretty much mapped out. I just don't need all the stuff we used to do before (Int., Prac, Wk. 13). As she watched a video of a track and field lesson (long jump) Mary offered an intriguing account of how this planning process played itself out within her teaching. In listening to the comments she made to the students during the lesson Mary stated: Mary: It sounds like I'm making it up as I go along. And in some ways you are. ... Like here [Mary refers to video] it just came to me to get them to recall things [teaching points]. And I thought OK, this is knowledge recall. Great! ... So it's not planning ahead in my head, it's kind of situational. ... It wasn't in my plan to do it this way, it just came up (Stim-recall, Prac, Wk. 9). 160 Of the four participants in the study Mary was the individual who found keeping a journal to be most troublesome. Within her journal written statements were quite brief, a situation that Mary said was caused by the fact that she was not having any problems - "I guess it's difficult to know what to write when you are not having any problems. Things are going along really well.... It's like I expected" (Int., Prac, Wk. 5). With regards to the process of keeping a journal, even one intended to act as a memory or discussion aid to our on-site meetings, Mary commented, "even the journal I found I had to remember or remind myself to do it. It was a little unnatural for me to do" (Int., Post.). In addition, in contrast to the other participants in the study, I found that Mary talked primarily in a descriptive rather than speculative or analytical manner. This became particularly apparent in the language she used during the stimulated recall sessions. Mary would comment about what was taking place during her lessons (i.e., what she was physically doing). She rarely, however, offered any underlying rationale for her actions. Mary also discussed each lesson as a separate event and she did not describe any connections or links between the lesson she was observing and her previous classes. This linkage had been a characteristic of the way the other participants in the study had talked about their practice, particularly during the stimulated recall sessions. Perhaps because Mary found teaching such a straightforward task to perform, she also saw no compelling reason to engage in any kind of deliberative activity related to her practice. Indeed, during one of the recall sessions Mary bluntly stated that such a thinking process was not an essential part of teaching and it more closely resembled a passing educational fad: Mary: I find it really hard to think, well, what was I thinking here ... But in classes they told us all the time that's what we had to do. Reflect. Like I reflect? Right! [Mary laughs] I don't reflect. I just don't see how it fits ... [In classes] we learned to hate that word. It was just a joke. I mentioned it to Tony 2 2 once and he said 'it's [reflection] one of things that they [university] talk about now. But in a couple of years it will be gone'.... That's how I see it too, sort of here today gone tomorrow (Stim-recall, Prac, Wk. 9). 22. Tony was a recent graduate of the same teacher education program as Mary. He was one of the eight teachers who had some responsibility for teaching physical education at the school. 161 Mary was not convinced that teaching needed to be a particularly thoughtful activity. Further, her beliefs were supported by the practices she observed being used by other more experienced teachers. Mary was adamant that Janet was "not that sort of teacher" who reflected on her teaching and she had no reason to do so herself. As a result, Mary perceived herself to be learning how to teach in an environment that matched most if not all of her beliefs about what this role required. In short, what Mary believed about teaching was mirrored in the reality she was encountering at her practicum. Initially I had been intrigued by the way in which Mary framed her comments about her practice. For example, perhaps the knowledge that she considered to be important in teaching was threaded within and emerged from her interaction with the action setting? I also considered that possibly Mary was making some important and insightful claims about the nature of her growth as a teacher, and how she understood the process of becoming a teacher. Upon later review I am less convinced this was the case. While Mary may have held a clear understanding of what she thought this learning process entailed, I suspect this was based upon a somewhat narrow and less elaborate view of teaching than I had first thought. Further, it.was a view, that was based seemingly entirely upon her own experiences as a student, and one that had been supported and confirmed by her practicum experiences. What Mary could recall about how she had been taught physical education appeared to fit smoothly within her own practice as a physical educator. While there was little evidence to suggest that Mary was or ever will become an individual who sees the value in problematizing her practice, in her defence it should be noted that the practicum experience she encountered did not present her with any reason to think critically about her practice. However, at the end of the practicum I was not optimistic about how Mary might grow as a teacher during her first few years in the profession. My lack of optimism was further supported by Mary's description of the kinds of help she believed might be available to her as a first year teacher. While admirable, my own experiences lead me to conclude that Mary's hopes may have been misplaced: Mary: Being a first year teacher I think will be difficult, but hopefully the other teachers will take you under their wing kind of, show you different things 162 and such.... I think my first year will be a big learning experience for me. Dave: That sounds like what the practicum should be about? Mary: Well yes, but you are also showing you can handle it. Once you get out there you are not a student anymore and I think other teachers will help you (Int., Prac, Wk. 13). Throughout her practicum experience Mary stressed that her foundational or, as she described them "basic ideas about teaching" physical education had remained unchanged. On several occasions, however, Mary remarked about being more cognizant of the need to carefully consider how she presented certain content to the students, both physically and verbally. In the following section we will examine how this growing or emergent understanding affected Mary's practice. 3. Breaking Down Skills The problem of making details about certain sports skills understandable for the students was an issue that Mary brought explicitly into our conversations approximately half way through her practicum. She first touched upon this issue while teaching a basketball unit which she felt extremely confident about teaching. Mary focused more specifically on this concern when instructing track and field athletics unit which she "felt really nervous about because it's not something that I've done. ... Like what do you teach in shot putt. I-had-no-idea!" (Int., Prac, Wk 5.). In many respects the problem identified by Mary is similar to the one described in the case of Kate in the section titled "Recognizing how content effects practice". But, unlike Kate, the content which Mary found most problematic to teach was that which she felt she was "extremely knowledgeable" about. In her very first journal entry Mary wrote the following comment about her comfort in teaching certain physical education content: Mary: I find it easy to teach P.E. without a lesson plan, especially if it is an activity I know well. A lesson plan, therefore, seems to take up time (and no one refers to them during a P.E. class). This seems to be a P.E. trait (Journal, Prac, Wk. 2). 163 In writing this statement Mary was referring to the basketball unit she was about to teach to the grade nine students. In the introduction to this case it was observed that Mary had played and coached basketball for a number of years. Consequently, because of these prior experiences Mary believed that teaching this unit would present few problems and it should provide her with a "positive start to my practicum" (Int., Prac, Wk. 3). She described having "a stack of drills and stuff [resources] to use" and, even at this early stage of her practicum Mary was confident she would be able to provide the students with a productive, fun and instructional learning experience. As the basketball unit progressed Mary was initially surprised by the attitude of the students, many of whom were not enthusiastic to participate in her lessons. In addition, she had anticipated the students would possess a higher individual skill level than she found to be the case. Later, upon reviewing the unit, Mary accepted that she had greatly overestimated their current ability level. Accurately estimating the capabilities of the students is a problem that confronts most preservice teachers, particularly in the early stages of their practicum experience. As such Mary's mistake was one common to most preservice teachers, however, what Mary also found difficult while teaching this unit to a class of "non-players", was the challenge,of making the knowledge she possessed about the skills of basketball understandable for the students: Mary: I found it really difficult to teach basketball to non-players. It's hard to break a.skill down to the basics when you've been doing it without thinking for 10 years (Journal, Prac, Wk. 5). While Mary had an extensive background playing and coaching basketball at a relatively elite level, at times she struggled while trying to teach these skills to less able individuals. As Mary stated, being faced with the task of having to explain to students how to perform skills that for ten years she had been able to execute without thinking about, was a difficult proposition: Mary: The basketball unit was really frustrating. ... First they were not all that bothered about learning which surprised me a bit. But the biggest problem was their basic level of skill. Like a lot of them couldn't even do a lay-up or a 164 good bounce pass. How are you supposed to ever play a game? ... So for me the unit was sort of really back to basics ... [and] I wasn't really prepared for that. I found it difficult to explain some things especially if they didn't get it the first time (Int., Prac., Wk. 6). As she tackled this problem Mary commented that she had found it useful to incorporate more demonstrations into her lessons - "I think seeing something really helps, or at least it did with that class ... Yes I think I certainly used that as a strategy with that [Grade 9] class" (Int., Prac, Wk. 6). Overall, however, Mary indicated that the biggest change in her thinking was in adjusting her expectations of what she thought the students would be able to accomplish : Mary: I think I learned that I have to make the activities fun for everyone and not just assume they are fun because I like doing them ... [and] to teach to their level (Int., Prac, Wk. 6). After returning from the spring-break Mary was surprised and somewhat panic stricken when Janet sprung upon her that the next unit she would teach would be track and field athletics (the throwing and jumping events of javelin, shot, long and high jump). Mary's surprise was the product of Janet not having said anything prior to the break about teaching this content. Her panic was caused by her own "complete void of knowledge about athletics" (Int., Prac, Wk. 10). For example, the first activity that Mary had to teach was the shot putt: Mary: So I ran to the library and grabbed a book out because track is not my forte or anything. But I found it was way too technical. Talking about angles and velocity and stuff. (Int., Prac, Wk. 10). Given this situation Mary said that she used the books from the library as a general guide - "I think they were good for me in that they showed me what it [javelin, shot] looked like" (Int., Prac, Wk. 10). When teaching, however, Mary commented that she did not refer to the information in the books because she was "certain it would go straight over their heads." During a lesson Mary said that she attempted to keep the progressions 165 "down to fairly small steps," and that she "tried to explain things as simply as possible. ... But that's all I really could do" (Int., Prac, Wk. 10). While Mary's previous playing experiences and accumulated knowledge about basketball appeared in some instances to hinder her teaching of this content, in a somewhat ironic way, her lack of knowledge about track and field possibly worked to her advantage. During her basketball unit Mary found it difficult to connect her instructional strategies with the ability and motivation level of the students. In contrast, while Mary felt that teaching the track unit placed her in a quite vulnerable and exposed position, her lack of experience or content knowledge forced her to present these activities to the students in a more straightforward and measured manner. This presentation proved to be effective, and when Mary compared her teaching of these two units she felt more satisfaction over her delivery of the track unit. As Mary commented after the track unit: Mary: I think now I'm also confident about my ability to teach sports that I didn't excel at [high] school. I had a relatively good experience teaching track and that surprised me. I wasn't looking forward to it but in the end it went well (Int., Prac, Wk. 13). After the practicum I explored with Mary why she felt the track unit had been relatively successful and what she had done to achieve this success. Again, Mary returned to issue of being better able to identify the differing needs and capabilities of the students she taught: Mary: Just after the middle of my practicum I began feeling really good about my classes and I really did understand their differing needs. I'm not quite sure if I totally changed my teaching to adapt to the needs of my students, I think I did some times and I noticed this happened more during that track unit. (Journal, Post.). This realization was not the only factor to which Mary attributed her success. She also commented that her language and presentation during the track unit had been less technical and, she believed, probably more understandable for the students: 166 Mary: In the books I looked at it went step by step and so precise. Angles and stuff. Just way too much to comprehend.... So I definitely had to transform it so I could use it in my lessons (Int., Post). Whether Mary would be able to use these insights and understandings about her practice to guide her teaching of other content remains to be seen. As Mary remarked: Mary: I was never good at thinking on my feet. But I think I am better at re-phrasing things now and relating them to real life (Int., Post). III. Case Summary In Mary's own words she had largely "drifted" into teaching and had never seriously considered becoming a teacher until nearly completing her undergraduate degree. According to Mary, at the time, enrolling in a teacher education program just seemed like a natural extension of her university career. She had always enjoyed participating in sport and physical activity and she talked at length about her experiences playing basketball. In particular she held her previous basketball coach in high regard and aspired to transfer the type of relationship he had developed with his players into her own practice as a physical educator. Given her own positive feelings towards sport and physical education it was not surprising that Mary wanted the students she taught to have the same kinds of experiences she had encountered. Mary was a dynamic and bubbly individual who prided herself on providing the students with a "fun" experience. She also stated that an important part of her role as a physical educator was to "break down skills" and improve the performance of the students in the different activities that she taught. As she began her practicum, however, Mary quickly found it difficult to understand the attitude displayed by many of the students. She was surprised that they did not appear to be motivated to participate in physical education, and she became frustrated by their inability to improve their level of skill performance. This issue became the topic of several conversations between Mary and myself, and she often referred to the students as "lethargic" and "apathetic." 167 In contrast to her core physical education classes in the junior high grades, Mary was completely enthralled by her teaching of a grade eleven elective physical education class. In many ways this class allowed Mary to mirror many of her own experiences as high school student and she found it very satisfying to teach them. According to Mary, teaching this class was almost like coaching a team, where "we get things done" and work towards achieving some specific performance goals. Mary appeared to hold a strong connection in her mind between teaching and coaching. In many respects her image of a effective physical education class was shaped by her successful experiences in the coaching arena. Unfortunately, in Mary's case, these prior coaching experiences appeared to constrain her ability to construct practical knowledge about teaching. Those students who did not match her model of motivated and willing participants were quickly dismissed as lethargic. Taking the position of blaming the students for their attitude also meant that Mary did not need to search for or consider other possible reasons to account for their behavior. Thus, for Mary, her prior coaching experiences appeared to blinker her capacity to look beyond or outside of he own biography in considering why the students reacted as they did. It was somewhat ironic that the content Mary knew best, namely basketball, was the source of greatest frustration to her in the physical education classes she taught to the junior high students. Trying to explain to students how to perform skills that she was able to execute without thinking, was difficult for Mary. In contrast, teaching track and field athletics, an area in which she had little prior experience, resulted in Mary's teaching being more measured and straightforward and ultimately, in her own words, "a pleasant surprise." Throughout her practicum Mary was left almost completely alone to get on with the task of learning to teach. Janet, her physical education sponsor, neither encouraged nor showed Mary how she might begin to critique her own practice. In addition, Mary perceived her university faculty advisor as an evaluator rather than an educator. As a result, Mary believed the business of learning how to teach fell squarely upon her own shoulders. Throughout the practicum the potential of either her sponsor or faculty advisor to enhance Mary's ability to construct practical knowledge about teaching physical education were never fulfilled. Indeed, in many respect their non-involvement 168 constrained. Mary was rarely placed in situations which forced her to question or critique her practice. Largely because of the context described above, the practicum did not present Mary with any reasons to think critically about her teaching or alter any of her practices. For the most part it remained a clear-cut and unproblematic experience. Further, Mary considered teaching to be an active rather than reflective or thinking activity - "teaching is just something you have to get in there and do" (Int., Post). She said that teaching physical education came naturally to her, and over time she reduced the amount of planning and preparation she devoted toher teaching. Mary relied as much if not more upon a 'trial and error' strategy to guide her teaching than she did upon careful planning and reflection. Interestingly, within this context Mary felt very comfortable with her developing practice and commented at the end of the experience that she believed she was "cut out to be a phys. ed teacher" (Int., Post). I would suggest, however, that a combination of the lack of involvement from her sponsor, Mary's perception of her university faculty advisor as an evaluator, and her own disposition towards teaching, contributed to Mary's practicum replicating much more of a 'substitute' rather than a 'learning to teach' type of experience. Mary had difficulty articulating the nature of any practical knowledge she constructed about teaching physical education because the context in which she was learning to teach constrained her explorations in this area. As Mary herself commented, the practicum was "not a very special event... it was totally what I expected" (Int., Post). 169 CHAPTER 8 CONCLUSIONS, DISCUSSION, and FUTURE RESEARCH The chapter is divided into four sections: a brief review of the study, conclusions emerging from the research questions, a discussion of their implications, and the possibilities for future research stemming from this study. I. Review of the Study When this study was first conceptualized I was interested in trying to gain some understanding of the complex processes involved in preservice teachers learning to teach physical education. In particular I wanted to explore what secondary level preservice teachers learned about teaching during the practicum component of their teacher education program. I was interested in the nature of the practical knowledge they constructed during their practicum. In addition to investigating what preservice teachers learned, I wished to explore some of the factors within the practicum that enhance or constrain this learning process. For the purposes of this study the following definition of practical knowledge was used: ... it refers to the knowledge teachers have of classroom [or gymnasium] situations and the practical dilemmas they face in carrying out purposeful action in these settings (Carter, 1990, p. 299). An important feature of this knowledge is that it is embedded within and emerges from an individual's direct interaction with the action setting. The knowledge appears to be immediately applicable to an individual's practice, gives shape to this practice, and is directed towards the solution of a particular problem being confronted in that practice setting. My motivation for undertaking the study was as follows. First, assuming the practicum is a significant and influential component of teacher education, then it would be desirable for all those involved in it to have a clear conception of what and how preservice teachers learn during the practicum experience. This study could support the 170 efforts of those trying to achieve this clarity. Second, if it is possible to make explicit some of knowledge that preservice teachers learn and several of the factors that influence this learning process, these insights might provide important starting points for preservice teachers, their sponsors, and faculty advisors to develop and sustain important and powerful conversations about the process of learning to teach. Viewed in this manner the practicum experience might move closer towards the ideal of teacher education described by Feiman-Nemser and Buchmann (1987): student teaching is teacher education when intending teachers are moved towards a practical understanding of the central task of teaching; when their dispositions and skills to extend and probe student learning are strengthened; when they learn to question what they see, believe and do; when they see the limits of classroom control; and when they see experience as a beginning rather than culminating point in their learning (p. 271, emphasis added). Third, in many cases the results of classroom based research on teacher knowledge or learning to teach have been generalized to physical education without concern for any differences in context between subject areas (Graham, 1991). It is the belief of this researcher that the problems which confront physical education teachers on a daily basis, combined with the goals and environment in which they teach, may be qualitatively different from those experienced by teachers of classroom based subjects. Little research, however, has been undertaken to explore these differences and therefore, the practicum experience of physical education preservice teachers is worthy of being studied in its own right. There are two main reasons why the practicum, as opposed to university campus-based elements of teacher education, was chosen as a context for this study. First, in my own experiences as a preservice and then practicing teacher I found the actual task of teaching to be an invaluable source of important insights and knowledge about teaching. What Ilearned about teaching while actually engaged in the task of being a teacher, I do not think could have been learned in any other setting or format. The more experience I gained the better teacher I felt I became. The equation of more equals better, however, is not quite this simple. An important part of my learning was a willingness to think about 171 my practice. To engage, at times, in some form of "internal dialogue" (Goodman, 1988) about my practice. The second reason for choosing the practicum as a site for the study was a little more straightforward. The literature consistently indicates that all those involved in the teacher education process see the practicum as the pivotal and most important period for preservice teachers in learning to teach (Geddis and Roberts, 1996). There is evidence to suggest thatthe practicum is an important site for preservice teachers to acquire new knowledge, understanding and dispositions about teaching. It is much less clear, however, how this process takes place, particularly in the context of learning to teach physical education. The aim of this study, therefore, was to begin to explore the practical knowledge about teaching physical education which preservice teachers begin to construct during their practicum experience, and in addition to examine some of the factors that enhance or constrain this constructive process. To accomplish this aim two research questions were used to guide the study: 1) , What is the nature of the practical knowledge about teaching constructed by physical education preservice teachers during their practicum experience? 2) What factors influence (enhance or constrain) the development of this knowledge during the practicum experience? The participants were four secondary level preservice teachers engaged in an extended thirteen week practicum experience. The methods used to collect data were those associated with qualitative field studies (Bogdan & Biklen, 1982; Goetz & LeCompte, 1984; Hammersley & Atkinson, 1983) and included lesson observations, in-depth interviewing, and video and stimulated recall sessions of lessons taught by the participants. As the researcher, I had a non-evaluative role within the practicum and remained outside the immediate and formal boundaries of the traditional supervisory triad (preservice teacher, school sponsor, university faculty advisor). The data were analyzed using a "constant comparative" method (Glasser & Strauss, 1967; Lincoln and Guba, 1985). Initially, all interviews and stimulated recall sessions 172 were fully transcribed. Through careful reading and rereading of the data interesting, puzzling or surprising patterns were identified within the data. Rather than fitting the data into previously defined categories of analysis this method of analysis allows categories or 'themes' to emerge from the data. No a priori constructs from the literature were used to guide the analysis. Individual cases have been constructed around the experiences of each preservice teacher. Outcomes described within the text of each case in the study are based upon each preservice teachers response to issues that were discussed during the practicum, and not upon analytical categories defined in advance of the data collection. There were three levels of data transformation (Novak & Gowin, 1984): production of verbatim transcripts, the initial framing of potential themes or categories of descriptive data based upon excerpts from the various data sources, and the development of a framework to illustrate the relationship among the themes. The first level of data transformation was the full transcription of the interviews and stimulated recall discussions. The second level required careful reading and rereading of the transcripts. As this process occurred key words or descriptive phrases were attached to particular sections of the transcript. In doing so categories or themes within data were tentatively identified and developed in relation to the two research questions. The third level of transformation involved looking for dominant trends, patterns and relationships within the study as a whole. It is at this level that claims were made about the nature of the practical knowledge constructed by preservice teachers. The first two levels of transformation are represented almost exclusively within the four specific case studies. The third level is reported in the following section within which the conclusions emerging from the research questions are presented. II. Conclusions Emerging from the Research Questions Research Question One: What is the nature of the practical knowledge about teaching constructed by physical education preservice teachers? 1. Thematic development of practical knowledge When originally conceptualized, this study was partially framed around the exploration of important or 'critical incidents' as they occurred within the practicum 173 experience of the four preservice teachers. I believed these incidents could provide an entry point to use with each participant to help them begin to talk about and 'make sense' of their experiences. I anticipated the preservice teachers might be able to identify and describe an incident, indicate what they had learned as a result of its occurrence, and hypothesize how this learning might affect their future practice. As the practicum unfolded it became apparent that asking the participants to focus on critical incidents was somewhat restrictive. The nature of the preservice teachers' experiences in this study suggests that while incidents did occur, their importance did not lie in each participant's identification and understanding of the incident itself, but in the thematic links they began to construct between incidents over the course of the practicum. Early in the practicum as the preservice teachers attempted to make sense of their experiences, a focus on and interpretation of individual incidents takes precedence in this learning process. At this time incidents remain foremost in preservice teachers' thinking about their practice, and they have difficulty being able to "see the bigger picture" (Yinger, 1987, p. 306) and situate an incident in relation to the wider context of their overall practice. For example, when beginning her practicum Kate described being confident in her ability to "gradually get to know" and establish a "good rapport" with the students, and being able to develop "a feel" for what she could expect from each class. There were, however, occasions when Kate was surprised and puzzled by the attitude students exhibited during a particular lesson. She suggested a number of explanations to try and explain this phenomenon. For example, initially Kate thought it was a case of secondary students "testing out a rookie teacher" (Int., Prac, Wk. 3) to see how far they could push her, and that such incidents were an expected and understandable part of the rapport building process in which she was engaged. While this reason probably held some initial validity, it did not help Kate to predict the occurrence of such behavior, nor did it explain why this phenomena continued throughout the practicum. Thus, during the early stages of her practicum the incidents associated with students acting up stood out in Kate's interpretation of her practice. As the practicum progresses, incidents, while still an important stimulus for 174 preservice teachers to examine their practice, are gradually moved into the background of their thinking. What comes into focus in place of incidents are the tentative links they begin to build among them. What is critical to understand is that the links provide a stronger impetus for preservice teachers to construct practical knowledge about their practice, and that they are better indicators that preservice teachers are actively engaged in this constructive process. Returning to the example presented from the case of Kate, as she became more comfortable and experienced with her role as a teacher she alluded to a developing a feel or sense for the regular flow and pattern of school life. Kate became sensitive to the existence of these patterns and recognized how interruptions to this flow could sometimes trigger a reaction from the students. For example, she noted how occasions such as the start of a new teaching block or activity, returning to school after a holiday (e.g., spring break), or even changes in the weather (an issue which has important implications for the teaching of physical education), could potentially affect the students' behavior during her lessons. With her increasing experience as a teacher at this school, Kate began to construct practical knowledge that was grounded in the dailiness of her teaching, and which had a direct impact on her practice. By applying this knowledge and understanding to her practice Kate was able to anticipate situations when students might "act up" and ultimately, she was able to alter her practice in anticipation of these events. Thus, while incidents initially lead preservice teachers to become inquisitive about their practice, what appeared more significant for the preservice teachers in this study were the 'thematic links' being tentatively, and in some cases strongly, built among and around such incidents. When the preservice teachers in this study focused on individual incidents to the exclusion of the "bigger picture," they remained tightly bound to technical interpretations of their practice. The knowledge growth for preservice teachers was most powerful when they were able to build connections or 'thematic links' between seemingly related and unrelated incidents or events. When preservice teachers moved beyond such a narrow focus, they became engaged in a much broader interpretation of their practice. Thus, the preservice teachers' practical knowledge appears to have a thematic rather than incidental character to it. Further, the temporal and thematic nature of this constructive process suggests that teacher educators need to encourage preservice teachers to look beyond individual classroom or gymnasium incidents and, rather than 175 focusing solely upon the incident itself, examine the relationship of the incident to their practice as a whole; in short, an examination of one's practice that is thematic rather than incidental (Clarke and Partridge, 1996). Teacher educators must be cognizant of important junctures within the practicum at which time it is appropriate and important to assist preservice teachers to see what Yinger referred to as "the bigger picture." 2. The knowing 'that' and knowing 'how' dynamic An intriguing dimension of the practical knowledge constructed by the preservice teachers in this study centered around their growing understanding of the content they had to teach, and the students they had to teach it to. At times, they each struggled with issues related to knowing the ability levels and capabilities of the students to learn certain content, how to modify and break-down content so it was understandable to the students, or how to accurately observe students and offer useful feedback to them about their performance in the immediacy of the action setting. At different points during the practicum, the preservice teachers each alluded to wanting to develop knowledge that would help them address these concerns. For example, Trevor, described his teaching as "too structured" and he.complained about "not [being] spontaneous" in front of the students. Successful lessons, however, inspired him to look beyond and build upon his previous ideas and image about what effective teaching entailed. As he commented later in his practicum, "its like you look around [observing students] and this extra sense just tells you this is what you should do,... [or] you see an opportunity to help someone one on one ... it's not premeditated. Teaching is truly an experiential thing" (Int., Prac, Wk. 11). It is interesting to note that Trevor described these insights while teaching tennis, a sport in which he was a competent performer. In another example Kate became extremely frustrated by her inability to give "good feedback" to students during her track and field unit - "it's tough to spot what's happening as they throw ... so I can't really give them good feedback ... I'm not sure how much I'm actually teaching them" (Stim-recall, Prac, Wk 11). Kate's frustration was further increased by her belief that her lessons were extremely structured and teacher directed. Further, she had few ideas about how to approach teaching this unit any differently - "I guess this is the most efficient process for teaching athletics ... [why] try to re-invent the wheel" (Int., Prac, Wk. 11). This contrasted markedly with her earlier 17.6 efforts in teaching gymnastics in which she felt very comfortable at making "on the spot decisions", "providing individual feedback" and having lesson options "in your head ... like you have to be flexible" (Int. Prac, Wk 6). Like Trevor's knowledge and experience in the sport of tennis, Kate had some prior experience working in a community gymnastics club and was extremely confident about teaching this content. Detailed content knowledge such as that possessed by Trevor for tennis and Kate with gymnastics, was not always a springboard for preservice teachers to construct knowledge about teaching. For example, Mary was an excellent basketball player and very knowledgeable about this sport. She had difficulty, however, teaching this activity to students of low ability, and she was surprised by the student's inability to improve their skill performance during her lessons. This coupled with her perception of the students' "poor attitude towards participating in physical education" resulted in her being pessimistic about accomplishing any progress with these students in her lessons. During her practicum Mary failed to accept the challenge of converting her knowledge about basketball into a form that was understandable for the students. In so doing, it is my belief, she missed an important opportunity to learn to teach physical education. During this study, the preservice teachers provided several glimpses into their developing ability to more closely connect their knowledge of the content of physical education to the specific context of their individual practice. In doing so, their content knowledge became more practical and applicable to the specific issues they faced in their practice, and it helped them tailor their actions to the audience they had to teach. For example, John commented that he had "thought a lot about how to present information to students. Like how to make connections and build this cognitive understanding" (Int., Prac, Wk 11). While in a similar flash of insight Trevor indicated how part of his practical knowledge came from linking his teaching actions to the students' learning -"...and I had this sense of like geez this is what teaching is all about. The teacher gets an idea in his head and is able to convey it to the class and he is able to expand on things written down in his lesson plan" (Int., Prac, Wk 5). Consequently, in this study, part of the practical knowledge constructed by preservice teachers involved the dynamic transformation of knowing that into knowing 111 how. Knowing that is knowing about something, knowing how is an action form of knowing (Rovegno, 1992a). Knowing about dribbling or knowing about teaching dribbling is knowing that. The teaching of dribbling is far more complex than this since it involves understanding many aspects of how students learn while they are directly engaged in the act of dribbling. It is a consideration of this action oriented aspect of teaching that I am calling knowing how. For the preservice teachers in this study, knowing how grew out of a direct interaction between themselves and the complex but real world of their practice. Thus, it is a form of situated and context embedded knowledge that helped preservice teacher's make sense of content, students, and their actions in a more integrated and holistic manner. This knowledge is practical because it is grounded in action, and immediately applicable to each preservice teachers practice. Applying this knowledge to their practice the preservice teachers were able to link more closely their image and beliefs about teaching, the actions of students, the content to be taught and the learning environment in which this dynamic action took place. In their own words, it helped Trevor become "more flexible and interactive", Kate to find "opportunities to let go" and allow the students to take the lead in a lesson, and for John to appreciate an insider's view into the lives of the students and integrate into his practice "those little catches that help develop someone's.self esteem". These results provide support for and expand the range of examples provided in other studies. For example Rovegno (1992a) argues that showing and telling preservice teachers how-to teach content will not be sufficient to ensure this takes place in practicum settings. She concludes, this process also requires preservice teachers to actively perceive and teach that content. The results also support Feiman-Nemser and Parker's (1990) contention that teachers deal with particular content and particular students in particular settings, and that preservice teachers need help "figuring out" how to engage students in learning worthwhile content (p. 42). Therefore, it would appear that whatever formal preparation preservice teachers undertake, some of the knowledge they need to acquire can only be learned in situ. 3. Practical knowledge: Evident but rarely heard In the review of literature presented earlier in this thesis it was argued that in contrast to traditional views of teacher knowledge, an alternate conception has recently emerged. This alternate conception-acknowledges how valuable knowledge about teaching can be •178 actively constructed by teachers or preservice teachers as they come face to face with the complex but unstable world of practice. This "situated knowledge" is, according to Shulman (1988), "made powerful by the contexts in which it is acquired and used" (p.37). Further, it is a form of knowledge-in-action that teachers may be able to demonstrate in use within their practice, but they also find difficult to disclose and capture it in any verbal manner. The results of this study would appear to support this view. On several occasions the preservice teachers in this study drew attention to their growing capacity to respond in an intuitive and spontaneous manner to the events that were taking place. For example, John talked at length about his efforts to build a rapport with the students he taught. While he did not have a clear plan about how to achieve this, he felt confident in relying on his intuition about how to proceed. John commented that he "had a good feel for it" and that rapport "was one of those things you have a feeling for" when it has been reached. Later in the practicum John also described how "everything was fitting together" in his teaching and that he could "feel teachable moments coming" whereas earlier he had not been able to either identify or make use of them. Similarly, Trevor talked about his practice becoming "more flexible" and that he had "developed a flow to his teaching." Trevor also described how, by the later stages of his practicum, his teaching was more responsive to the student's needs and he was able to react to the flow of a particular class. As he attempted to articulate what had brought about these changes to his practice, he described how the decisions he made were being informed by an "extra sense which just tells you this is what you should do" Int., Prac, Wk. 13). Although Trevor could not isolate how this sense had developed or when he specifically used it within his practice, he did believe it was a vital part of his growing ability to think on his feet and teach in an intelligent manner. In a similar fashion, Kate indicated how she had been able to begin to identify patterns or a flow to school life which had previously been unfamiliar or unrecognizable to her. On one occasion the insights or "feel" she was developing for her practice, resulted in Kate changing the focus of a soccer lesson only minutes before it began. This practical knowledge assisted Kate to respond in creative and imaginative ways to the problems which she faced in her role as a physical educator. Elbaz (1983) remarked, it would appear that "teachers hold a complex, practically-179 oriented set of understandings which they use actively to shape and direct the work of teaching" (p. 3). In addition, it would appear the practicum is an important opportunity for preservice teachers to begin to construct these practically-oriented understandings of their practice. The practical knowledge constructed by the preservice teachers in this study was embedded within the context of their practice. While it often remained unspoken, it was evident in their reflections about practice, their actions as teachers, and was an increasingly important part of the overall knowledge they brought to bear upon their practice. I would also suggest, that these examples are indicative of the preservice teachers in this study being able to "see experience as a beginning rather than culminating point in their learning" (Feiman-Nemser & Buchmann, 1987). Further I believe they were able to see, as Feiman-Nemser and Buchmann suggest, that "some knowledge they need is 'local': It can only be derived from interactions with particular students over time" (p. 256). 4. Personal images lead to practical knowledge An image is a construct that allows individuals to shape and define their lives (Maxson and Mahlios, 1993). For teachers, this image contains strongly held beliefs about what is important and.meaningful in their practice. The results of this study suggest the same holds true for preservice teachers. Each participant entered the practicum with strong and well defined image of themselves as a practicing teacher. For example, John described himself as a "guide" who's task was to "build relationships and connect" with students, Trevor frequently referred to himself as a "motivator" and "leader" trying to "switch kids on to school" and "turn around" their attitude towards learning, Mary looked upon herself as the student's "friend", who's lessons should be "fun", providing them with "the same kinds of experiences [she] had" as a student, while Kate defined herself as a "facilitator" rather than a teacher. The results of this study are in accord with those of Calderhead and Robson (1991), Maxon and Mahlios (1993) which found the images held by preservice teachers were influential in their interpretation of their practice. The images held by each participant operated within their practicum on different occasions at different levels of applicability. Sometimes these images provided an overarching view of their practice as indicated in the descriptions above (e.g., similar to 'classroom as home' see Clandinnin, 1986). In other instances the image related to how a 180 particular lesson might typically have evolved. For example, while watching a videotape of one of his lessons, Trevor talked about how the lesson matched his own mental models of successful teaching, which in turn grew out of the image he held of himself as a leader and motivator - "a good teacher is a good planner ... like a good lesson, an organized lesson where you have got the kids boom, boom, boom, boom, boom ... they are going to be on task. They are going to be intrigued and they will learn from you" (Int., Prac, Wk. 3). As the preservice teachers interacted with students on a daily basis, their efforts to transform their image into teaching actions were an important stimulus for the construction of practical knowledge about teaching. Indeed, the dynamic interplay between image and action assisted the participants to develop a more cohesive and practically grounded understanding of their practice. For example, John defined himself as a "guide", and believed that building and sustaining a series of equitable and trusting relationships with students was the foundation upon which he built his practice as a physical educator - "for me it's important, probably mandatory, to establish some kind of relationship with them ... I often thought how well I was achieving this (Int., Post). It was only as he interacted with the students.that John was able to move the process of building rapport and connecting with the students from an intuitive to an action level. As he accepted full responsibility for teaching particular classes John encountered certain problems in transforming his image into action. These problems presented themselves to him as a series of 'how to' questions. For example, how to instruct in a manner that encouraged the development of self esteem while teaching a subject which traditionally stressed and promoted individual athletic performance, competition, and extra curricular activity. As he identified and tackled these problems John began to construct practical knowledge that allowed him to become a more accomplished physical educator. An indicator of this developing knowledge was that on several occasions he was able to consciously engineer opportunities to interact with students one-on-one, rather than hoping such openings might present themselves in the course of a lesson. Thus, this knowledge was practical because John was able to use it to inform and guide his practice, and it helped him act out the image and beliefs he held about teaching. For the preservice teachers in this study, throughout their practicum experience 181 images were influential in guiding their thinking and actions. They affected how they perceived their own and other teachers' practice, provided a template against which they could assess their own teaching performance, and acted as a filter through which they examined their experiences and growing knowledge about teaching. In this study, practical knowledge grew from each preservice teacher's efforts to put into action their personal images of teaching. As they addressed differences they perceived to exist between their image of teaching and their actual practice, the preservice teachers were able to define more clearly their role as teachers. The knowledge they constructed was practical because it was embedded within their practice, gave shape to their practice, and was directed towards the solution of an immediate problem, namely transforming their personal images of teaching into forms of practical action. The results of this study suggest that in order to assist a preservice teacher to become a competent beginning teacher, it is important to understand their personal images of teaching. The importance of examining the images of teaching held by preservice teachers as a means of exploring the ways in which they interpret and understand their practice has been reported by other researchers (Calderhead and Robson, 1991; Johnston, 1992, 1994), and this study extends these claims by highlighting the centrality of image in the construction of practical knowledge. Research Question Two: What factors influence the development of this knowledge during the practicum? 1. Prior coaching experiences Like many physical education preservice students, each of the participants in this study had some prior pedagogical experience as sports or athletic coaches. They also believed that teaching and coaching were similar activities and, therefore, that these prior experiences could assist them to define and give shape to their practice as physical educators. Indeed, at times they discussed placing more faith in these prior coaching experiences helping them learn to teach than their professional teacher education coursework. For example, Mary's coaching experiences both as a high level athlete playing for other coaches and as a coach herself, supplied her primary motivation to be a teacher. They also provided the major influences upon her image and beliefs about teaching. Mary even went so far as to comment that when beginning the teacher 182 education program she was "more interested in coaching than teaching". There was also evidence in this study that the participants, at least initially, drew upon these prior coaching experiences to guide their practice as a teachers. John commented that he had given some time and thought about how to transfer ideas from an elite level hockey camp at which he had instructed into his teaching. Trevor aspired to exhibit but not mirror the qualities he had witnessed in one of his ice hockey coaches. While Mary went one step further and said outright that she wanted her teaching style to replicate that of her ex-high school basketball coach. In summary, these results appear to be consistent with research (Schempp, 1989; Hutchinson, 1991) which suggests that unlike regular classroom teachers in Lortie's (1975) study, physical education teachers did not form an early identification with either their future profession or its members. A coach is required to design and deliver a series of planned learning experiences. Before they begin their teaching practicum, therefore, the participants in this study had already had the opportunity to put into action some of their ideas on teaching and learning, something which may not be readily available to preservice teachers of other subjects such as Science or Geography. They had gained experience in planning and observing athletic performance, managing and controlling a group of athletes, and offering feedback to those trying to learn. Therefore, prior coaching experiences can enhance the potential for the practicum to be a positive learning experience for physical education preservice teachers. These experiences provide them with opportunities to plan for, manage and give feedback to groups of would be secondary school students, something which may not be readily available to preservice teachers of other subjects. These prior experiences might also provide a reason to account for the growing literature (Krieder, 1985; O'Sullivan, 1989; Schempp and Graber, 1992) which suggests the transition shock experienced by classroom teachers may not be characteristic of physical education teacher induction. While having some merit for enhancing the impact of the practicum, the transfer of ideas and actions from the coaching arena to the school or gymnasium setting may not be as straightforward as it initially appears. In some respects coaching provides a qualitatively different set of experiences for preservice teachers. A number of differences 183 appear to exist between coaching and teaching which were not immediately apparent to the participants in this study, and which resulted in some confusion and frustration on their part. First, a coaching audience is a select audience, usually highly motivated and ready to learn. A teaching audience can be anything but motivated to learn. This was an issue which certainly surprised Mary who was continually perplexed that students were not as motivated to participate in physical education as she expected them to be. Throughout her practicum she constantly struggled to understand the attitude of the grade nine students and consistently remarked about how hard it was for her to keep them motivated. On the other hand she greatly enjoyed teaching the grade eleven physical education elective class - "the grade elevens are much better to teach ... more open minded and enthusiastic. We get things done. ... like the basketball lesson was just like a [team] practice. Just zinging along" (Int., Prac, Wk. 13). As is evident in this comment, Mary found that teaching a grade eleven elective class was close to coaching, something she expected teaching physical education to be like. A second difference is that coaches, generally speaking, are extremely comfortable and familiar with the content they have to deliver. Part of this comfort stems from the range of alternate ideas they possess for presenting skills or ideas to athletes. That is, as coaches they have strong but specific pedagogical content knowledge. Preservice.teachers, however, are frequently-required to deal with content with which they are not familiar. This unfamiliarity challenges the comfort level evident when teaching in their areas of expertise. For Kate, while teaching track and field athletics, it led her to question the effectiveness of many of her teaching methods and even brought doubt into her mind as to whether she had chosen the correct profession. Thus, coaching experiences, where the individual delivers content with which they are extremely knowledgeable, may create a false impression of the complexity involved in teaching a physical education program which covers a range of activities. Third, when coaching a homogeneous and motivated group of athletes, coaches tend to use specific and technical language. Such language or feedback is probably not appropriate for a large majority of students in a school physical education setting. Paradoxically, not knowing some content too well may be an advantage as it removes the opportunity to become overly technical. In conclusion, prior coaching experiences may constrain an individual preservice teachers' efforts to construct practical knowledge about teaching. These experiences 184 may create unrealistic expectations of possible student performance. In turn, this leads preservice teachers to become confused and frustrated over their seeming inability to quickly improve student learning and skill performance. 2. The impact of sponsor teachers Throughout this study the participants made few explicit references to the role their sponsors played in helping them learn to teach. Kate commented that her sponsor "really [didn't] help me make sense of anything", while Mary expressed surprise that "no-one showed me different ways to do things ... I was really surprised. I thought they were there to help me [Mary laughs smirkingly]" (Int., Post). Indeed, this situation led Mary to equate her practicum experience with being a substitute rather than a preservice teacher. Overall, the preservice teachers in this study, at best, referred to the advice they received from their sponsors as the "top ten list[s]" for teaching a particular activity, or they perceived the feedback provided to be a series of 'tips for teaching'. While there were very few instances in which the preservice teachers believed their practice grew as a result of help they received from their sponsor, the degree to which each felt they had to teach for or like their sponsor varied greatly. For example, from the outset of his practicum Trevor described feeling he was being subtly pressured to "fall into line". He began the practicum believing it would provide an opportunity for him to "stretch [his] wings". Quite quickly, however, Trevor changed his opinion about the experience and characterized it as a "testing ground" where he was "paying his dues" before being allowed to enter the profession. Similarly, at different times during her practicum Kate experienced the extremes of being left completely free to plan and teach her lessons, or having to do exactly as she was told by her sponsor. Kate commented that when she had "to play the game" it was "really frustrating" because "it's like I'm not teaching anymore, she [Kate's sponsor] is". It should be noted, however, that not all preservice teachers expressed this sentiment. John's sponsor placed no pressure on him to teach a particular way and decided he was extremely comfortable in leaving John to teach his own way. The experiences of the preservice teachers in this study indicate that the direct impact of their sponsor teacher in assisting them construct their own practice was , extremely limited. Further, in some cases the sponsor teacher constrained and inhibited this learning process by requiring them to teach the content in a particular manner. 185 There were, however, instances where a sponsor's pressure to conform acted indirectly as a catalyst for the preservice teachers in this study to examine their own practice. For example, on those occasions when Kate tactfully followed the lead and suggestions of her sponsor, she was still able to exert some control over these events and maintain "ownership" of her practice. She achieved this by using the situation to articulate differences between the two different practices. In doing so Kate was able to confirm what she liked and disliked about her sponsor's style of teaching and why. In efforts to maintain ownership of his practice, Trevor created a public version of his teaching for his sponsor and a private meaning for himself. While reviewing a video of one lesson he remarked, "like the way I am teaching right now is just for Roger [Trevor's sponsor]. Like to keep him happy" (Stim-recall., Wk 11). While Kate and Trevor perceived varying degrees of pressure to teach a certain way, John's sponsor left him almost completely alone. Within this context John was able to "strategically redefine" (Lacey, 1997) his practicum experience and introduce new and creative elements into his practice. Being left alone was a supervisory practice that was also frequently encountered by Mary. Unlike John, however, Mary saw no need to develop or "redefine" her practice in any new or creative fashion. Thus,/or the preservice teachers in this study the construction of knowledge about teaching depended, to a large extent, on each individuals' efforts to exert some control and "ownership" over their practice. Despite a lack of professional help from their respective sponsors, most participants were still willing to examine and make sense of their practice. Overall, however, the actions of sponsor teachers appeared to constrain and inhibit the potential of the practicum as an opportunity for preservice teachers to construct practical knowledge about teaching physical education. 3. University faculty advisors: Evaluators or educators? After reviewing the data for all four cases, one issue which each participant completely omitted to mention was the role or influence their university faculty advisor played in assisting them to learn to teach. Indeed, when I specifically questioned each participant about this issue in the post-practicum interview, all four strongly believed their faculty advisor was exclusively an evaluator. As Trevor succinctly commented, "basically they were there to rubber stamp what Roger [Trevor's teacher sponsor] said" 186 (Int. Post). This view was strongly endorsed by Mary who stated: My faculty advisor was an evaluator. Yes definitely an evaluator. I think we sat down and talked about how I might change a lesson a few times, but it was always about that one lesson she had seen. The other times she gave me the report and was off to her next [student teacher visit].... She was not influential at all (Int., Post). Having had the opportunity to be a university faculty advisor myself, I believe that being viewed by preservice teachers as an evaluator is almost inevitable. Each observational visit you make as faculty advisor is perceived by the preservice teacher as a step closer towards them becoming a certified teacher, which is itself reflective of how preservice teachers look upon the practicum within the scope of their overall development as teachers. The comments you make focus on the lesson you have just observed and the feedback you provide offers suggestions for change or follow-up on the part of the preservice teacher. Within this context, little conversation takes place about other more substantive issues that occur as part of the process of learning to teach. The possibility for a faculty advisor to build and sustain a genuinely collaborative relationship with a preservice teacher, which might serve as a platform upon which to discuss their professional development as teachers, is further constrained by the large number of preservice teachers usually assigned to each faculty advisor. Under such circumstances, visits are generally restricted to an observation of a single lesson at a time, and an average of less than one visit per week to each preservice teacher. Possibly as a result of the interaction of these factors, the university faculty advisors assigned to the participants in this study did not influence the preservice teachers development of knowledge about teaching physical education. Indeed, they were seen as evaluators whose primary role was to judge that each preservice teachers had success during their practicum. In this study, the potential for faculty advisors to enhance the educative experience of each preservice teacher in the practicum setting was largely absent. 4. Using video of teaching performance An interesting feature of this study was that each participant was videotaped on four occasions teaching a physical education lesson. Each videotaped lesson was followed by 187 a stimulated recall session. These sessions provided a rich source of data for this study and were valuable for a number of reasons. First, they provided a stimulus for the participants to begin to develop a language that described some of their growing knowledge about teaching. While this knowledge was being displayed in their practice, viewing the videotapes prompted the preservice teachers to attach a language to their actions, and allowed them the possibility to move beyond a tacit understanding of their practice. Second, the videotape sessions afforded the participants the chance to 'slow down the pace' of their practicum, which in turn, allowed them to think about their practice as a whole. For example, while reviewing a video of a basketball lesson John would pause the video to explain a situation he had just observed. On some occasions, he used these pauses in the action to relate or connect the situation to other lessons and highlight a teaching thread that ran throughout his practice - "like her with Gabe [John pauses the video]. It's a chance to do some one-on-one ... [and] it's important for me to be consistent otherwise it's just a gimmick" (Stim-recall, Prac, Wk. 10). Kate also indicated that these sessions enhanced her attempts to make sense of her practice because "when you sit back and watch and listen it's like you can see where you are going and check what's happening makes sense. ... that what you say fits with what you want" (Int., Post). The positive benefits of using videotapes in this manner are in accordance with those described by Ross (1990) and Clarke (1992) but were directly related to the construction of practical knowledge in this study. Thus, overall the videotape and stimulated recall sessions which were part of this study enhanced the preservice teachers' efforts to construct practical knowledge about teaching. The videotapes afforded the participants an opportunity to step back from the action setting, and begin to develop a language for examining and capturing their practice as physical educators. They also allowed each preservice teacher to 'mentally' recreate the context of their teaching, freeze the action, and elaborate upon the thinking that surrounded their practice. Using videotapes facilitated the practical knowledge they constructed growing out of the action setting, and ensured it was directly applicable to their practice. 5. Second teaching subject contrasts A l l physical education preservice teachers are required to study and teach a second subject. In this study, the contrast between teaching physical education and more classroom based subjects, was a factor noted by a number of the participants. John drew 188 attention to different problems that existed between teaching of science and physical education. For example he felt there was a "lot of management built into" working in a lab or classroom so it was easy to get students to quickly settle down. On the other hand, to teach physical education you had "to develop a whole range of fundamental issues ... how to start and stop a class. What you expect as they get changed ... plus it can all change if the weather changes" (Prac, Int., Wk. 3). For Kate the contrast between teaching English and physical education was highlighted by the difference in the students expectations for the two subjects. When teaching physical education Kate said students almost expected her to serve as a counsellor as well as a teacher. As such when teaching physical education she became extremely conscious of engaging students on a more personal level, and not putting them in situations where they might feel intimidated. According to Kate, these insights assisted her to be more aware of her practice both as a classroom and physical education teacher. The contrast provided by teaching a second subject enhanced the preservice teachers capacity to more clearly and elaborately define both their role as a physical education teachers, and the practical knowledge they would need to fulfill this expectation. The contrast also appears to be illustrative of the fact that the construction of practical knowledge may, in large part, be context specific and that physical education should be examined as a context different from other more predominantly classroom based subjects. Thus, the contrast provided by teaching a second subject, provides a counterpoint for physical education preservice teachers to highlight their domain specific practical knowledge. III. Discussion of the Implications for Practice This section outlines a number of implications which have surfaced as a result of the study and which are worthy of consideration for those involved in the process of teacher education, and more specifically physical education teacher education. 1. Metacognitive ignorance: Learning how to learn from experience? According to Munby and Russell (1993), when preservice teachers first enter a teacher education program their prior educational experiences have made them familiar with being told what to do and what to believe. Consequently, they believe practicing teachers own and use two strong authorities within their practice: the authority of reason 189 and the authority of position. Unfortunately, they argue, preservice teachers ignore or fail to grasp the importance of a third type of authority, namely the authority of experience. This authority is particularly significant since learning from experience lies at the heart of action and performance in teaching: Once on the job, the preservice teacher readily acquires experience but still may not come to understand the process of learning/row experience or to recognize fully the authority of experience... [Thus] there is little sense of an awareness of the unique nature of learning from experience (p. 10, emphasis in original). The apparent inability of preservice teachers to understand how to learn from experience is a factor also noted by Calderhead (1991). He declares that many preservice teachers begin their teacher preparation program without recognizing that learning to teach is different from their own previous academic learning either at school or university. Although preservice teachers may begin their program with some general ideas about what teaching involves, "they appear to have much cruder notions about how they are going to develop and implement those ideas" (Calderhead, 1988, p.52). Calderhead (1991) also states: when preservice teachers encounter problems of class management, role conflict or uncertainty concerning teaching strategies, they do not appear to have any clear conception of how their learning might be involved in the resolution of these difficulties. Frequent probing of preservice teachers on these issues has generally resulted in answers which emphasize practical experience - 'You learn from experience' or 'That's the sort of thing you eventually pick up in the classroom' - but which don't articulate the actual process of how experience helps (p. 53). Taking the views of Calderhead and Munby and Russell one step further, learning from experience during an extended practicum may be an even more difficult task for preservice teachers to accomplish. In midstream of a fast moving and often stressful event, they are simultaneously being asked about their learning, to juggle emergent issues and insights about content, students and teaching, to reflect on an experience at the same time as they are directly immersed in it, and to consider if their own ideas or images 190 about teaching are realistic and appropriate. The potential to learn from or about the "authority of experience" is also hampered by the numerous observations and evaluations being made by sponsor teachers and university faculty advisors which often emphasize immediate outcomes at the expense of metacognitive considerations in learning to teach. Lamentably, the preservice teachers in this study did not perceive, any one, school sponsor or faculty advisor; to be actually helping them to understand how to learn from experience. Sponsor teachers were perceived as offering their best tips and short cuts to get through the day, while interaction with faculty advisors was seen as summative not formative. Within such a context it is not surprising that preservice teachers find it difficult to reconceptualize their understanding of their own learning in which the analysis of experience might be the important part. Given the importance suggested by this study of the experiential component in learning to teach and in the construction of practical knowledge about teaching, some thought must be given to how the practicum is structured to ensure that the authority of experience is recognized and valued. In addition, there needs to be consideration of how best preservice teachers can be helped to reflect on and make sense of the complex process of learning how to learn from experience. In attempting to address this problem, I will again draw upon my own experiences as a teacher, and more recently as a school sponsor. I believe this issue points first and foremost to the crucial need for the education of sponsor teachers so they understand better the complex process of learning to teach. School sponsors need to be better informed about the content of the teacher education program in which the preservice teachers are participating, and more importantly, current theories on learning. As Feiman-Nemser and Buchmann (1987) further explain: The job of cooperating teachers is to talk aloud about what they do and why, to demonstrate how they probe and extend student thinking, to alert [preservice] teachers to interpret signs of understanding and confusion in pupils, to stimulate [preservice] teachers to talk about their reasons for decisions and actions and the difficulties inherent to finding out what pupils know and what they need to learn (p. 272). 1.91 If the context and circumstances described above could be consistently created during a practicum, then it would also be possible for experienced teachers working with or mentoring preservice teachers, to begin identifying some of the complex issues involved in the teaching and learning of certain content. For example, if mentor teachers were capable of being more explicit about the connections they developed between different kinds of knowledge (i.e., subject, students, contexts, curriculum and pedagogy), and they were able to draw preservice teachers into conversations about the decisions they made, then they would truly be capable of assisting preservice teachers to "figure out" how to leam to teach. In conclusion, because the results of this study suggest that whatever formal preparation preservice teachers undertake some of the knowledge they need to know can only be learned in situ, the importance of educating school sponsors in this regard cannot be underestimated. It is clear that school sponsors are key players in helping preservice teachers understand how to learn from experience. However, as Knowles and Cole (1994) tell us, "in order for sponsor teachers to take seriously their role as teacher educators there has to be an emphasis on preparation and support for these individuals" (p. 36). At present, sponsors typically receive little or no preparation for their role during practicum experience, nor are there any requirements for them to avail themselves of any professional development in this area. Consequently they rely heavily on their own memories about being a preservice teacher and their beliefs about a good sponsor does in order to guide their practice in working with preservice teachers. 2. Exploring biography in learning to teach It is apparent that when preservice teachers enter teacher education programs they are not blank slates who learn to teach by simply being given the knowledge and ideas needed to ensure students learn worthwhile things. They begin such programs already in possession of a wealth of ideas about teaching and the teacher's role, beliefs about students and how students learn, and varying degrees of content knowledge about the subject they will teach. Studies of preservice teachers' experiences upon re-entering schools evidence how firmly grounded in personal history are preservice teachers' expectations and understandings of schools, teachers, teaching, and students (e.g., Crow, 1987; Knowles, 1992). In this study each participant's biography or prior beliefs and 192 experiences, appeared to play a significant role in directing what and how they learned about teaching during the practicum. The importance of biography was clearly evidenced when the participants discussed the roots of their images of teaching and how they believed their prior experiences as coaches could assist them in their practice as physical educators. At the same time there was a contrast between Mary and the other three preservice teachers (John, Kate and Trevor), in their personal disposition to look beyond their own biography. Mary found it difficult to look beyond her own experiences to explain the students' actions during her lessons and her biography remained something of a barrier to her efforts to learn to teach physical education. There are a number of reasons it is important that sponsor teachers and university faculty advisors should be aware of and understand the beliefs and image about teaching that preservice teachers bring with them into the practicum setting. First, the practicum provides the first formal opportunity for preservice teachers to verify, challenge and modify their initial beliefs and ideas about teaching. Therefore, the sponsor and faculty advisor should create an environment in which preservice teachers are assisted to make sense of their practicum experiences in light of their prior life experiences. In particular, sponsors should help preservice teachers test the practicality of their teaching image, and the implications it has for their practice. Second, by understanding the beliefs and image of a preservice teacher, the sponsor or faculty advisor can ensure the feedback they offer is congruent with what the preservice teacher wants to achieve, and not with what they believe they should be trying to implement. Third, conversations about these entering images and beliefs, may provide each member of the supervisory triad with a language for discussing practice, and a platform from which the professional actions of preservice teachers can be evaluated and understood. As teacher educators, both sponsor teachers and university faculty advisors ... can no longer be concerned with only imparting knowledge about teaching. Rather, teacher education must provide avenues for preservice teachers to understand the values, attitudes, and beliefs they bring to preservice teacher education and then plot and monitor their own professional growth (Johnston, 1992, p. 134). This point is further supported by Feiman-Nemser and Buchmann (1989) who state 193 that a key function in teacher education is to help preservice teachers "make a transition to pedagogical thinking, to thinking about what teachers do in terms of how it helps pupils to learn worthwhile things" (p. 275). They go on to point out, that such a transition can only be achieved if preservice teachers are assisted to challenge their entering beliefs, otherwise these beliefs and ideas can result in missed opportunities to learn to teach. The results of this study appear to support this position. Building upon the work of Cochran-Smith and Lytle (1990, 1993), the study also supports the belief that preservice teachers are capable of inquiring into their own practice. In addition to the video and stimulated recall sessions used as part of this study, this inquiry should be extended to provide opportunities for preservice teachers to engage in processes such as autobiographical writing, journal writing, explorations of personal metaphors for teaching and possibly even small scale ethnographic classroom studies. Cole and Knowles (1993) suggest that autobiographical writing is valuable for a number of reasons, including that it provides a window into the thinking of preservice teachers. They also comment that overall, by using these methods preservice teachers are "provided with ongoing opportunities to make explicit for examination their preconceived ideas, images, expectations, and developing conceptions of teaching and being a teacher." (p. 466). Further, these structures might allow preservice teachers to engage simultaneously in both teaching and research on teaching and "give form and voice to their emerging theories of practice" (Cochran-Smith, 1991, p. 114). IV. Future Research Research has only just begun to scrape at the surface of understanding the integrated body of knowledge that teachers use within their everyday practice. In addition, understanding how this knowledge originates for preservice teachers is also still in its infancy and worthy of future inquiry. For example, future research needs to explore the knowledge preservice teachers bring into their teacher education program, how and what they learn during their formal teacher preparation coursework, including the practicum experience, and how the knowledge they bring interacts with the teacher education program itself. These questions are even more acute for subject of physical education, which has often had results generalized to its context from other classroom based research. The experiences of preservice teachers who are learning to teach physical education are worthy of being studied on their own merit. 194 Preservice teachers continue to perceive the most important part of their teacher education program to be the practicum experience spent in school working with a cooperating school sponsor (Amarel & Feiman-Nemser, 1988; Geddis & Roberts, 1996). Unfortunately, these field experiences focus the attention of preservice teachers on the immediacy of classroom action. In addition, practicum experiences are tightly structured and in many cases "provide little more than superficial 'rites of passage' experiences" (Knowles & Cole, 1994, p. 9). In order to break this tradition, consideration must be given to ways in which teacher education programs can make practicum experiences the site for professional growth. For example, future research may consider the role of practicum-based methods courses in assisting preservice teachers to learn to teach. The important message underlying such a move would be to the acceptance that the knowledge preservice teachers need to know about teaching is present as much within the ranks of practicing teachers as it is within coursework completed as part of a formal teacher education program. The role of the school sponsor in supervising preservice teachers also requires further exploration. If the practicum is to be a positive and practical experience for a preservice teacher, then a great deal of responsibility falls upon the mentor teacher they are working with. Professional development programs designed to assist school sponsor's in their supervisory role may be a great value. In addition, the results of this study indicate that some consideration might be given to redefining the role of the university faculty advisor to fulfill this objective. For example, one possibility is that faculty advisors focus more upon providing school sponsors with strategies to work with the preservice teachers they are supervising, and that they assist school sponsors to be more openly reflective about their practice. Again, repeating the words of Feiman-Nemser and Buchman (1987), within such an alternate supervisory model, preservice teachers might be moved towards "a practical understanding of the central task of teaching", and it might also lead preservice teachers to "see experience as a beginning rather than culminating point in their learning" (p. 271). 195 REFERENCES Adelman, C , Jenkins, D., & Kemrnis, S. (1980). Rethinking case study: Notes from the Second Cambridge Conference. In H. Simons (Ed.), Towards a science of the singular (pp. 47-61). 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