Lights, Camera, Action: Facilitating PETE Students' Reflection through Film: Film Portrayals of Real-Life Situations Can Help Teacher Candidates Reflect on the Challenges They Will Face as Professionals

Article excerpt

One of the major goals of physical education teacher education (PETE) programs is to guide teacher candidates in the acquisition of important skills, knowledge, and dispositions, the application and demonstration of which are highly context-specific. Teachers are expected to be flexible and adaptive in applying knowledge and skills in teaching. The beginning physical education teacher standards (National Association for Sport and Physical Education [NASPE], 2003) indicate that teachers should be reflective practitioners who can examine the consequences of their behaviors and choices in relation to the ever-changing characteristics of educational contexts. Reflection is not only important for performance as a teacher, but works as a tool for self-renewal and continual professional development (NASPE, 2003). In this sense, guiding a teacher candidate to become a reflective professional is a critical component of teacher education.

Many physical education teacher educators use specific strategies to enhance teacher candidates' reflection. For example, Lorson, Goodway, and Hovatter (2007) applied a goal-directed reflection strategy to lead teacher candidates to reflect on specific aspects of teaching. This was done by setting a specific teaching goal, selecting appropriate observation tools, collecting data, and reflecting on the collected data. Journal writing and a reflective supervisory approach have also been used to improve reflection (Byra, 1996; Tsangaridou & O'Sullivan, 1994). These techniques were used to enhance teacher candidates' post-lesson reflection and to improve teaching skills and student learning.

Being a reflective practitioner, however, is not limited to the use of post-lesson reflection techniques. It includes reflection on diverse issues that influence teaching and learning, as well as reflection on one's professional life as a teacher. However, it is difficult for teacher candidates to reflect on a broad educational context or on life as a teacher because these are not easily simulated or taught in teacher education programs. For example, social, moral, ethical, and political aspects of teaching require genuine contexts to generate teacher candidates' reflection. For this reason, Duncan, Nolan, and Wood (2002) suggested using typical movie portrayals of teaching as a way to generate discussions and facilitate reflection among teacher candidates. This article describes one idea for using movies or movie clips as a way to facilitate teacher candidates' reflection on various educational issues.

Benefits of Using Films for Reflection

Feature films have been widely used for the purpose of fostering reflection during the preparation of professionals in fields such as law (Anderson, 1992), medical education (Blasco, Moreto, Roncoletta, Levites, & Janaudis, 2006; Lee & Ahn, 2004), counselor education (Toman & Rak, 2000), and educational administration (Barbour, 2006; English & Steffy, 1997). Although they have not been used commonly in physical education teacher education, there are several benefits of using films for facilitating reflection among physical education teacher candidates.

First, films show interaction between students and teachers within a specific context. Films can portray the contexts of teacher and student challenges and struggles that cannot be easily described verbally or in writing. An in-depth understanding of contexts like these is a prerequisite to reflection on teachers' work life. In this sense, films can facilitate teacher candidates' reflection by providing rich contextual portrayals of problems and issues.

Second, films can easily facilitate teacher candidates' reflection on the moral and ethical dimensions of teaching. Teaching is more than a mere application of knowledge and skills. Cultivating solid reflection on the moral and ethical aspects of teaching is probably the most important task in developing caring professionals (Owens & Ennis, 2005). …