Overcoming acculturation: Physical education recruits' experiences of an alternative pedagogical approach to games teaching

Moy, Brendan, Renshaw, Ian, Davids, Keith, & Brymer, Eric (2016) Overcoming acculturation: Physical education recruits' experiences of an alternative pedagogical approach to games teaching. Physical Education & Sport Pedagogy, 21(4), pp. 386-406.

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Physical education teacher education (PETE) programmes have been identified as a critical platform to encourage the exploration of alternative teaching approaches by pre-service teachers. However, the socio-cultural constraint of acculturation or past physical education and sporting experiences results in the maintenance of the status quo of a teacher-driven, reproductive paradigm. Previous studies have reported successfully overcoming the powerful influence of acculturation, resulting in a change in PETE students’ custodial teaching beliefs and receptiveness to alternative teaching approaches. However, to date, limited information has been reported about how PETE students’ acculturation shaped their receptiveness to an alternative teaching approach. This is particularly the case for PETE recruits identified in the literature as most resistant to change.


To explore the features and experiences of an alternative games teaching approach that appealed to PETE recruits’ identified as most resistant to change, requiring a specific sample of PETE recruits with strong, custodial, traditional physical education teaching beliefs, and whom are high achieving sporting products of this traditional culture. The alternative teaching approach explored in this study is the constraints-led approach (CLA), which is similar operationally to TGfU, but distinguished by a neurobiological theoretical framework (nonlinear pedagogy) that informs learning design.

Participants and Setting

A purposive sample of 10 Australian PETE students was recruited for the study. All participants initially had strong, custodial, traditional physical education teaching beliefs, and were successful sporting products of this teaching approach. After experiencing the CLA as learners during a games unit, participants demonstrated receptiveness to the alternative pedagogy.

Data Collection and Analysis

Semi-structured interviews and written reflections were sources of data collection. Each participant was interviewed separately, once prior to participation in the games unit to explore their positive physical education experiences, and then again after participation to explore the specific games unit learning experiences that influenced their receptiveness to the alternative pedagogy. Participants completed written reflections about their personal experiences after selected practical sessions. Data were qualitatively analysed using grounded theory. Findings: Thorough examination of the data resulted in establishment of two prominent themes related to the appeal of the CLA for the participants:

(i) psychomotor (effective in developing skill), and

(ii), inclusivity (included students of varying skill level).

The efficacy of the CLA in skill development was clearly an important mediator of receptiveness for highly successful products of a traditional culture. This significant finding could be explained by three key factors: the acculturation of the participants, the motor learning theory underpinning the alternative pedagogy and the unit learning design and delivery. The inclusive nature of the CLA provided a solution to the problem of exclusion, which also made the approach attractive to participants.


PETE educators could consider these findings when introducing an alternative pedagogy aimed at challenging PETE recruits’ custodial, traditional teaching beliefs. To mediate receptiveness, it is important that the learning theory underpinning the alternative approach is operationalised in a research-informed pedagogical learning design that facilitates students’ perceptions of the effectiveness of the approach through experiencing and or observing it working.

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ID Code: 83977
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: acculturation, physical education, physical education teacher education, nonlinear pedagogy, constraints-led approach
DOI: 10.1080/17408989.2015.1017455
ISSN: 1742-5786
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Exercise & Nutrition Sciences
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2015 Taylor & Francis Group
Copyright Statement: The Version of Record of this manuscript has been published and is available in Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, 05 March 2015, http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/17408989.2015.1017455
Deposited On: 07 May 2015 23:09
Last Modified: 09 Aug 2016 15:40

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