Investigating a Constructivist Approach in Physical Education: Bridging Theory and Practice. (Pedagogy)

By Azzarito, Laura; Solmon, Melinda A. et al. | Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, March 2003 | Go to article overview

Investigating a Constructivist Approach in Physical Education: Bridging Theory and Practice. (Pedagogy)


Azzarito, Laura, Solmon, Melinda A., Afeman, Helene, Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport


According to constructivist theory, students learn best when they are actively engaged in the learning process by connecting their prior knowledge to new knowledge, making personal meanings, and sharing their conceptual understandings through classroom and real world experiences. Researchers in physical education have advocated exploring and implementing constructivism in teacher education programs to improve the effectiveness of pedagogical approaches. To date, however, little is known about how preservice teachers construct knowledge and meanings about teaching physical education, or how teacher educators can facilitate that process. The purpose of this study was to investigate how teachers use constructivist strategies to encourage student learning and how preservice teachers coconstructed knowledge and meanings about teaching physical education. Participants were 46 female and 4 male preservice teachers enrolled in a semester long elementary physical education methods class. The two female teachers adopte d a concept-based curriculum that included integrated learning activities and fitness concepts. An action research design was employed, so the teachers were also researchers. A third researcher was not involved in class instruction and served as an independent observer. Over a period of 5 months, data were systematically collected as researchers conducted an intentional inquiry about their teaching and students' learning. Data sources included field notes about students' and teachers' interactions in the classroom, teachers' weekly reflections, classroom documents, instructional materials, and interviews with students. …

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