Movement Educator on a Mission: Use of a Modified Life History Approach in Analyzing the Career of an Expert Physical Education Teacher

By De Marco, George Mario Paul, Jr.; Wright, Connie | Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, March 2000 | Go to article overview

Movement Educator on a Mission: Use of a Modified Life History Approach in Analyzing the Career of an Expert Physical Education Teacher


De Marco, George Mario Paul, Jr., Wright, Connie, Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport


George Mario Paul De Marco, Jr., University of Dayton, and Connie Wright, Gwinnett County (GA) School District

The purpose of this study was to identify, delineate, and describe the salient personal and professional experiences of an expert physical education teacher in relation to the scope and direction of her career (N = 1). The participant was an experienced female physical education teacher possessing extensive expertise in movement and dance as evidenced by her recent selections as a Teacher of the Year in both Physical Education (state) and Dance (district). Seeking to construct a sociological autobiography (Taylor and Bogdan, 1998), a modified life history approach was utilized to collect data over a 10-month period spanning January to October of 1997. Data were collected from multiple sources during 15 separate sessions via methods that included: (a) structured and semistructured interviews with the participant, her school and professional colleagues, supervisors, and student teacher; (b) nonparticipant observations; and (c) and document analysis. Field notes and interview audiotapes were transcribed and anal yzed. Guided by the theoretical-analytic categories provided by Templin, Sparkes, Grant, and Schempp (1994), the teacher's core career professional experiences and emergent perspectives were then identified and described. Central to the analysis were those that included the following: (a) recruitment into teaching and coaching, (b) influence of undergraduate, graduate, and continuing education; (c) early teaching and coaching positions; (d) metamorphosis from a traditional to a dynamic movement/dance educator; (e) emergence of pedagogical expertise (f) roles as a teacher, coach, teacher educator, and esteemed mentor, (g) relationships with others, (h) responses to professional trends, (i) sense of mission, advocacy, and efficacy, and (j) transition toward retirement. …

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