Move it, use it: University-school collaboration for learning to teach physical education in primary schools
Daly, C, Hudson, P, Hudson, S & Murray, M 2011, 'Move it, use it: University-school collaboration for learning to teach physical education in primary schools', in MacPhail, A & O'Sullivan, M (eds), Quest: Moving People Moving Forward: Keynote lectures from 2011 International AIESEP Conference, University of Limerick, Ireland, 22-25 June, vol. 64, no. 2, Taylor & Francis.
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Reports of increasing numbers of obese Australian children and adolescents have raised the alarm to be proactive in reducing this so called epidemic. It has evoked a call for greater emphasis on teaching physical education in schools, as a measure for attaining fitness not only with obese students but for all students. This paper emphasises how preservice teachers need to be a key target for implementing physical education (PE) reform in schools, as many primary teachers will be generalists and may not be confident enough to implement PE effectively. Through a review of existing literature, teaching practices essential for the effective promotion and implementation of PE were identified under six broad categories: personal-professional skills development, addressing system requirements, pedagogical practices, managing student behaviour, providing feedback to students, and reflecting on practice. Subsequently, the development of these practices in preservice teachers is considered in the context of a university-school collaboration where preservice teachers taught physical education to primary school students for one day per week over a four week period. These authentic teaching experiences provided the preservice teachers with vital opportunities to put theory into practice and interact with “real-world” students. Self-evaluative data from 38 of these preservice teachers, in the form of a five-part Likert scale survey and extended response survey, demonstrated that they were able to develop the majority of the essential teaching practices identified by literature. In particular, the preservice teachers developed self efficacy, enthusiasm, and motivation for teaching PE, facets which are often found to be lacking in generalist primary teachers and yet are essential if children’s perceptions and habits regarding physical activity are to be changed.