Academic journal article Teacher Education Quarterly

The Elephant in the Classroom: Examining the Influence of Athletic Coaching on Secondary Preservice Teachers

Academic journal article Teacher Education Quarterly

The Elephant in the Classroom: Examining the Influence of Athletic Coaching on Secondary Preservice Teachers

Article excerpt

Introduction

Socialization research has long considered the dual roles of academic teaching and athletic coaching within the field of physical education (Curtner-Smith, 2001; Curtner-Smith, Hastie, & Kinchin, 2008; Lawson, 1983a, 1983b; Sage, 1989; Schempp & Graber, 1992). Much of this research has outlined how teaching and coaching orientations have led physical educators to enter the education profession with a career contingency (Lawson, 1983a), a preference towards either teaching or coaching. While physical education has historically been the most viable option for teachers interested in the coaching role (Sage, 1989; Schempp & Graber, 1992; Stroot & Williamson, 1993), other content areas are now attracting more and more teachers with a mixture of teaching and coaching orientations (Brown, 2012b).

Educational research has not kept pace, however, as very few studies exist regarding the experiences of teacher-coaches outside of physical education (Brown, 2012a; Chiodo, Martin, & Rowan, 2002; Lawson, 1983a; Lawson & Stroot, 1993; Sage, 1987, 1989). This includes educators from core content areas--English/language arts, social science, mathematics, science, and foreign language--who face a different set of daily experiences than physical education teachers (e.g., an English teacher/football coach tasked with grading class sets of essays during the week while breaking down game tapes on the weekends; Brown, 2012b).

An educator's negotiation with his or her professional duties is made more challenging with the addition of extracurricular responsibilities (Huberman, 1989; Lacey, 1977; Lawson, 1992; Sage, 1987). Research related to socialization has focused primarily on the likelihood that multiple roles may conflict with one another to produce feelings of tension for teacher-coaches (Drake & Hebert, 2002; Figone, 1994; Sage, 1987). This tension may have as much to do with an educator's past experience in education and sport as it does with the individual's induction into teaching and coaching. As a result, the development of teaching and coaching orientations is important because it requires socialization be viewed as a longitudinal process that begins as early as childhood, continues through preservice teacher preparation, and is affected by social and cultural aspects of the work environment (Curtner-Smith, 2001; Lawson, 1983a, 1983b; Smagorinsky, Wilson, & Moore, 2011). This consideration may be especially important for novice educators, particularly classroom teachers who find themselves struggling to overcome stronger orientations toward athletic coaching (Curtner-Smith, 1998, 2001) while attempting to maintain a balanced teaching/coaching orientation (Brown, 2012a). Finding and maintaining this balance is an important component of the current secondary school climate that places significant value on extracurricular activities all the while promoting curricular learning as its primary aim (Brown, 2012b).

In this light, it is necessary for educational researchers to examine the socialization of teacher-coaches at earlier stages in their development before considering how extracurricular roles such as athletic coaching may impact effectiveness in the classroom (see Brown, 2012b). At a time when middle and high school students need positive role models and strong leaders across numerous settings, and during a period of instability across many levels of education (Ravitch, 2010) and athletics (e.g., O'Connor, 2012), there has never been a more opportune moment to (re)consider the roles of core content area teachers and athletic coaches in secondary schools. With this in mind, the purpose of this study is to better understand teacher education candidates' interest in coaching by examining their background experiences, motivations, and perceptions in order to assess how these factors might influence their desire and willingness to coach athletics during their induction into secondary education. …

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