Primary education trainee teachers’ experiences and opinions of PE
University of Wales Institute Cardiff
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The increasing importance of Physical Education for the health of the nation has put pressure on teachers to provide high quality PE within schools to combat problems such as childhood obesity (Harris, 1997). Teachers in Primary schools especially are put under pressure to deliver suitable lessons of a high quality to help prevent this problem increasing. This investigation aims to discover the opinions of students on BA Ed courses on the value of PE and their own ability to teach the subject, as previous studies have showed the wide variation in preparation for PE on some Initial Teacher Training courses (Armour and Duncombe, 2004). This will include any problems they may encounter during their time at University and whilst on school experience, as well as investigating the breadth of tuition given across all areas of the PE curriculum. Participants involved were third year students completing a degree in Primary Teaching BA Ed at the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff (UWIC). All participants completed a questionnaire on their opinions and experiences of PE. Short semi- structured interviews were completed with three randomly selected participants following analysis of the questionnaire data to give further information on trends found within the data. Recent developments in teacher training, including new specifications for ITT which began in September 2007 are not addressed in this study, as the participants involved were completing a course using the previous guidelines. The results of this study showed that although most students felt confident and prepared to teach PE, many felt that they needed further training in some activities. Variations in time spent in lectures as well as teaching PE on school experience may be the reason for lack of knowledge in some areas of the curriculum, although it is unlikely that the situation will change due to a lack of time available on ITT courses (Estyn, 2005). Students and teachers need to become more pro-active in their approach to further education, by recognising their weaknesses within PE and completing the necessary experience to improve. Tuition in Universities may also need to change, giving a wider range of sports activities within ITT, as well as developing a more student- centred approach; asking students what they would like in terms of training in order to fulfil their needs.
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