This is the abstract for a forthcoming presentation to be presented at the British Educational Research Association annual conference, September 2017. It is from the Social Justice in PETE project.
Joanne Hill and Jennifer Walton-Fisette
Discussions about the requisite knowledge base for pre- and in-service teachers of Physical Education (PE) have included the ability to teach about socio-cultural issues or in line with social justice educational values (e.g. equity, democracy). Limited research; however, on the knowledge base that their Physical Education Teacher Educators (PETEs) have and draw upon during teacher education in university has been conducted. Indeed, there has been little research into teacher educators’ own professional development, despite their role/investment in the professional development of both pre-service and in-service teachers.
The focus of this paper is how PETE and Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy (PESP) university faculty have come to their knowledge and understanding of sociocultural issues and issues of social justice. The guiding research questions were:
1. What do PETEs know about socio-cultural issues and social justice?
2. How was this knowledge constructed?
3. What knowledge do they draw upon in their teaching?
4. What examples, what sources of knowledge, do they use? Where do their examples come from?
Vygostky’s social constructivist learning theory, specifically the Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) was used to frame this research study.
Over 70 PETE and PESP faculty from the USA, New Zealand, UK, Sweden, Australia and Ireland engaged in an in-depth interview, completed a demographic survey on their social identity and professional experiences, and shared materials from their PETE and PESP programmes, such as course handbooks and assignment instructions.
This knowledge construction includes personal and professional lived experiences, formal study or qualifications, and experiences in the field (i.e., with pre-service teachers and/or in schools). Some PETE and PESP faculty reported little knowledge of socio-cultural issues and, usually, little inclusion of this content in their programmes. Many of those who expressed a commitment to teaching about and for social justice had personal and professional experiences that had caused them to recognise the need for educating their students about sociocultural issues. For instance, some had encountered marginalisation and discrimination based on their identity, or their personal politics motivated them to teach for and about justice and equity. These personal experiences could be used as content or initiate reflection in PETE and PESP classrooms. This study prompts consideration of the professional development needs of teacher educators on sociocultural issues and about social justice that goes beyond acknowledging their existence and moving towards changes in pedagogical practices in PETE and PESP programmes.
I will present at BERA on 7th September 2017, 2pm, at the University of Sussex.