Academic journal article Education

University Supervision within Physical Education Teacher Education

Academic journal article Education

University Supervision within Physical Education Teacher Education

Article excerpt

Faculty who teach in physical education teacher education (PETE) programs know the importance of undergraduate students having the opportunity to observe and assist physical educators, teaching in schools. These "early field experiences" (EFEs) give PETE (otherwise known as preservice) students (PS) valuable experience as they assume the role of and think like a teacher as opposed to their previous experiences assuming the role of, and thinking like a student. These experiences help to pave the way for PSs being given the opportunity to teach autonomous physical education lessons in schools. These observing, assisting, and teaching opportunities tend to occur fairly early in most PETE programs. At our university they occur at the elementary level in a PSs' sophomore year, and at the middle/secondary level in their junior year. These experiences help to prepare PSs for the culminating student teaching experience in their senior year. All of these "field experiences" typically involve a triad of personnel--a PS, a cooperating teacher (CT) and a university supervisor (US). Research has determined that the CT plays a major role in mentoring their PS (Tsui, Lopez-Real, Law, Tang, & Shum, 2001), which makes sense given the close working relationship between the two. Research however has also found that there can be problems between a PS and CT. These can occur if the roles and expectations are not clearly defined (Veal & Rikard, 1998) and also if the concepts related to effective teaching taught in a PETE program are different to what PSs are observing or discussing with their CTs. An example from our perspective is discussing the inappropriate use of exercise as punishment and then our PSs observing and listening to their CTs defending the practice in schools. The reality for us, and for many of our PETE colleagues in the U.S. and around the world that we have spoken to, is that university supervision is critical for PSs who are placed out in local school settings. USs, therefore, play a vital role within the triad, in support of the PSs, as they assist in bridging the gap between PETE programs and practices in K-12 schools (Fernandez & Erbilgin, 2009). The purpose of this article is to discuss various types of supervision available to USs, PSs' supervision preferences, and the training of PETE USs.

Physical Education Supervision/Conferencing

Little has been published on university PETE supervision. McCullick and Coulon (1998) published the most recent article related to this topic, as they examined the effects of PSs having no supervision, once-a-week or daily supervision. The results of their study determined that PSs with no supervision focused on very few instructional behaviors and struggled to write clear objectives, as compared with their supervised peers. The authors concluded that university supervision is important and they referenced other PETE supervision studies from the 1970s-1990s that for the most part found that supervision plays an important role in the professional development of PSs. Given that there has been nothing published related to PETE supervision in more than 13 years, we turn to educational supervision more broadly, to examine current trends.

General Supervision

While observing and assisting CTs is important for PSs to experience, nothing has more value than autonomous teaching during EFEs and student teaching for PSs. As practicing, novice teachers, actual real world teaching experiences are invaluable for them, but so to is learning from their teaching experiences. This is where the US and the CT come in, engaging in the concept generally known as "supervision." There are different models and/or approaches that can be used under the guise of supervision, but "clinical" supervision is dominant (Tang & Chow, 2007). Glickman, Gordon, & Ross-Gordon (2009) break down clinical supervision approaches/behaviors as directive (which is supervisor dominated), nondirective (student dominated) or collaborative, that is characterized by shared responsibility between the US and the PS. …

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