Do the philosophies of secondary school physical education teachers change during their career?
University of Wales
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According to Jones, Armour and Potrac (2004) a philosophy should provide a set of guiding principles…and identify those values that are felt most strongly" (pp. 167). In line with this, Lyle (2002) discusses that a philosophy is a way in which individuals can evaluate their life experiences. The purpose of this paper was to explore the philosophies of PE teachers and whether their philosophies have change throughout their careers. This paper presents the findings from six participants (mean age of 40.5) who have a mean of 17.3 years of experience were purposefully selected for the study. All participants were interviewed one-on-one lasting 16 - 38 minutes using open-ended questions in a semi-structured interview guide. They were also observed in 5 lessons through an unobtrusive method. Data was recorded into an observational table and hand notations were taken. Transcribed interviews were analysed and interpreted to produce key themes and relationships across participant experiences. This revealed many themes that the teachers believed to be important to their performance and philosophy as a teacher. Predominantly themes such as enjoyment, health benefits, the National Curriculum and what the pupils expect from teachers and PE lessons were identified. Once themes were identified the paper discusses elements within 'teaching' such as; teaching experience; the National Curriculum; and the schools environment and possible external factors such as critical instances and general personal life experiences have affected, influenced and changed the philosophies of the participating PE teachers. However, the teachers demonstrated confusion about what a 'philosophy' is and continued to discuss 'teaching' in general. Through exploring whether the teachers reflect on their performance, it was to clear to see that some teachers’ 'philosophies' have changed overtime, some have simply evolved and others have not changed.
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