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


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.

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