The social tasks of learning to become a physical education teacher: Considering the HPE subject department as a community of practice

Sirna, Karen, Tinning, Richard, & Rossi, Tony (2008) The social tasks of learning to become a physical education teacher: Considering the HPE subject department as a community of practice. Sport Education and Society, 13(3), pp. 285-300.

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Initial teacher education (ITE) students participate in various workplaces within schools and in doing so, form understandings about the numerous, and at times competing, expectations of teachers’ work. Through these experiences they form understandings about themselves as health and physical education (HPE) teachers.

This paper examines the ways communities of practice within HPE subject department offices function as sites of workplace learning for student teachers. In particular this research focused on how ITE students negotiate tacit and contradictory expectations as well as social tasks during the practicum and the ways in which their understandings are mediated through participation in the workspace.

Qualitative methods of survey and semi-structured interview were used to collect data on a cohort of student teachers during and following their major (10 week) practicum experience. Analysis was informed by theories of communities of practice (Wenger, 1998), workplace learning (Billett, 2001), and social task systems (Doyle, 1977). It was evident that considerable effort, attention, and energy was expended on various interrelated social tasks aimed at building positive relationships with their supervisor and other HPE teachers at the school. The social dynamics were highly nuanced and required a game-like approach. In our view the complexity that student teachers must negotiate in striving for an excellent evaluation warrants specific attention in physical education teacher education (PETE) programs. This study raises questions regarding our responsibilities in sending student teachers into contexts that might even be described as toxic. We offer some suggestions for how PETE might better support students going into practicum contexts that might be regarded as problematic workplaces.

Impact and interest:

18 citations in Scopus
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14 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 93862
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: social tasks, workplace learning, PE Department, HERN
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > SPECIALIST STUDIES IN EDUCATION (130300) > Teacher Education and Professional Development of Educators (130313)
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 2008 Routledge
Deposited On: 17 Mar 2016 03:59
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2016 02:02

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