North versus South: Gaining Insight from Elementary Education Majors Enrolled in Elementary Physical Education Methods

Article excerpt

Jeanne Raudensky, Shepherd College, and Kathy Haas, Malone College

Providing meaningful course content and activities to preservice teachers is both a challenge and a dilemma when teaching a physical education methods course involving an extremely high ratio of elementary education majors. Often, nonmajors enter this particular course with limited content knowledge (CK) in physical education, and teacher educators are faced with the assignment of providing a "basic" understanding of the role physical education plays in child development (Kirchner & Fishburne, 1999). Previous responses indicated a high percentage of students from a flagship university in the south had experienced either very limited or no opportunity for physical education taught by a physical education specialist. What they did experience was a meager representation of instruction from a coach of a high school sport team. Students from a college in the north reportedly had numerous experiences delivered by a physical education specialist throughout their elementary years. This study had a two-fold purpose: ( a) to examine the perceptions and beliefs of preset-vice teachers enrolled in elementary health and physical education methods; and (b) to identify changes that occurred over time as a result of active participation. Participants in the study included five sections of undergraduate students (n = 101). Three groups represented a university from the south and two groups represented a college from the north. Elementary methods class was a requirement for all education majors seeking state licensure, and designed to prepare preservice teachers with content related to materials and methods for teaching health and physical education in the elementary schools. All classes were 75 mm and met twice per post during a 15-post semester. …