Graduating student teachers' beliefs regarding the philosophy and pedagogy of physical education within the New Zealand curriculum.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Education
In the mid to late 1990’s, physical education curriculum writers in New Zealand challenged the dominant skill mastery approach that was omnipresent in secondary school physical education. The resulting curriculum documents, Health & Physical Education (HPE) within the New Zealand Curriculum (Ministry of Education [MOE], 1999) and its revision, the New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) (MOE, 2007), reflected a critical/humanistic position with much broader curricular aims and objectives. This presented many challenges for Physical Education Teacher Education (PETE) programmes in New Zealand, where it is contested that students entering teacher education programmes do so with strongly held beliefs that may be difficult to alter. These entrenched beliefs have the potential to act as filters through which PETE students acquire knowledge and, therefore, may hinder their ability to consider other views of teaching and learning. Research suggests that unless these historical personal beliefs are challenged, teacher education programmes may be considered as weak interventions. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to investigate the beliefs of a cohort of graduating physical education teachers around the philosophy and pedagogy inherent in the NZC (MOE, 2007), having recently completed a four year critically oriented PETE programme. A mixed methods (MM) design was employed in the study. A quantitative survey questionnaire preceded a series of qualitative semi-structured interviews conducted on five purposively selected participants. The survey questionnaire was used to identify any inconsistencies between the participants’ beliefs and the intentions reflected in the curriculum document and the supporting literature. An emphasis was placed on the qualitative phase of the study, which investigated the key areas of interest identified in the survey questionnaire. Interview data was then analysed using the process of constant comparison. Analysis revealed that the PETE programme may have had some impact on the philosophical and pedagogical beliefs of the graduating students, and may have encouraged the participants to explore personal philosophical positions and question particular decisions regarding their personal beliefs. However, further examination revealed that the participants were still grappling with the philosophical underpinnings of the HPE learning area and the pedagogical approaches promoted to support its implementation. This research supports the notion that unless historical beliefs about teaching and learning are deliberately and coherently challenged and confronted through PETE programme content and pedagogy, these entrenched beliefs may indeed act as knowledge filters and prevent graduates from making more informed decisions about differing conceptualisations of physical education curriculum and practice.