Sources of influence on pedagogical behavior patterns of five elementary physical education specialists

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Virginia Tech

Although research on teaching has been conducted for many years, the question, "Why do teachers teach as they do?" has been rarely asked. Researchers (Denham & Michael, 1981; Dunkin & Biddle, 1974) suggest that some of the "whys" of teaching could be understood by investigating presage and context variables and their potential influence on teacher behaviors.

The first purpose of this study was to systematically analyze pedagogical behavior patterns of five elementary school physical education teachers. The second purpose was to identify factors and sources of influence (presage and context variables) which appear to have a facilitating or inhibiting effect on individual teacher's behavior patterns.

Data for this study were triangulated through the use of systematic observations, field notes, structured interviews, and a questionnaire. Descriptive profiles for each teacher were compiled consisting of process scores, questionnaire scores, and interview/field note results. A comparison across data sources was completed to determine if the four data sources corroborated each other.

The results of the study indicated that the most commonly employed pedagogical behavior patterns of the five elementary physical education specialists included providing students with: the purpose of the lesson, class rules, warm ups, cognitive information, pre-arranged equipment, adequate opportunities to practice skills, and minimum waiting time. The subjects however, infrequently provided their students with: visual demonstrations, a clear model of organizational patterns to be used, feedback directed to the total class, low amounts of management time, and a closure to the lesson.

In regard to sources of influence used to explain pedagogical behaviors, the results suggest that the major facilitating sources of influence on the process behaviors of the subjects included their "own ideas", their undergraduate coursework/training experiences, and actual teaching experience. The major sources of influence which had an inhibiting effect on their process behaviors included class size, facilities, and the schedule/time for classes.