Physical Education Teachers' Perceptions, Understanding and Philosophies Encompassing Physical Literacy
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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The emerging concern surrounding the accelerating obesity epidemic within Wales, has resulted in society's ideology of physical education [PE] being reconsidered. Physical literacy [PL] has been described as an innovative concept to promote physical activity, whilst simultaneously developing physical intellect (Whitehead, 2010). This thesis has investigated PE teachers' empirical ideologies and experiences surrounding PL, as the effectual development of physically literate pupils is dependent upon them. Semi-structured interviews were conducted, consulting four teachers with various experience. Participants were questioned surrounding their ideology of PL, PE and their teaching environments. Content analysis was applied to analyse the interviews to categorise common occurrences in the form of codes, to correlate themes. The researcher's interpretive stance facilitated the analysis of data, to formulate a discussion of how the evidence within this thesis contradicts researchers' findings surrounding PL. The evidence identified that PE teachers' philosophy of PL, is not the significant factor of delivering content within the school environment, as there are supreme hierarchical influences that affect the agency afforded to teachers'. Due to the apparent social stigma surrounding PE, teacher's expressed a lack of agency when structuring lessons. Accentuating that irrespective of teacher's understanding or philosophy of PL, due to the present pedagogical infrastructure PE has begun to lose its physical focus. Hampering the successful development of physically literate beings, due to the prioritisation of delivering literacy and numeracy within PE. Furthermore, the study suggested that teacher's possessed a vague understanding of PL, due to the inconsistent guidance provided by the Welsh assembly government [WAG] for PE teachers to adhere to, suggesting that the hierarchy within the educational infrastructure in Wales are the primary influence in facilitating the delivery of PL. Future research could investigate how PL is perceived by the supreme hierarchy within education, to accommodate the ambiguity of the teachers' environment whilst creating initiatives such as PL. Subsequently, facilitating the successful transition of the theoretical substance of PL to the empirical environment of PE.
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