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Targeting Professional Development for Beginning Physical Education Teachers

Catherine E. Cardina & Alisa R. James

joperd cover september 2018

Physical education teacher education (PETE) programs prepare physical education teacher candidates to teach using the National Standards for Initial Physical Education Teacher Education (SHAPE America – Society of Health and Physical Educators, 2017b). The six standards relate to:

  1. content and foundational knowledge,
  2. skillfulness and health-related fi tness,
  3. planning and implementation,
  4. instructional delivery and management,
  5. assessment of student learning, and
  6. professional responsibility.

These standards provide teacher candidates with the knowledge and skills to be an effective beginning teacher. Although these standards are used as a guide to prepare physical education teacher candidates to teach, there may be differences in the degree of mastery of these standards achieved by teacher candidates. Therefore, the need for professional development is emphasized to teacher candidates during their PETE program.

As noted by Niemi (2015), teacher professional development functions as a continuum that starts during teacher education programs, continues into the first years of teaching, and lasts throughout one’s teaching career. In the broadest sense professional development has been defined as activities that develop one’s skills, knowledge, expertise and other characteristics as a teacher (Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development [OECD], 2009). This broad definition of professional development includes informal and formal types of professional development that occur following teacher education programs, such as workshops, courses, observations of other teachers, teacher networks, mentoring/coaching, collaborative teaching and planning, beginning teacher programs, and sharing of teaching practices (Caena, 2011; OECD, 2009). Due to the range of formal and informal professional development opportunities available, beginning physical education teachers may need help navigating professional development opportunities specific to their needs.

For example, Josh, a fictitious teacher, recently graduated from college with his degree in physical education and landed his first job. Josh is aware that although he believes he is ready to begin teaching physical education, he still has a lot to learn to become a skilled physical education teacher. As part of his professional preparation, Josh learned that one of his responsibilities is to pursue professional development. He also learned that professional development was a way to stay current in the field, as well as strengthen any instructional needs that he may have as a beginning teacher.

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joperd free article cover september 2018