Life histories of exemplary American physical educators

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University of Alabama Libraries

The purpose of the following article-style dissertation is to present the life histories of three exemplary physical educators, to give them voice and explore ways in which they experienced marginalization and how they persevered in spite of difficulties they experienced in their careers. The participants include: (a) Robin, a female elementary school teacher who taught for 25 years, (b) "Karen" an assistant professor of kinesiology with a disability and, (c) Dr. Archie Wade, an African American professor emeritus of physical education who taught 38 years. The life history method links the three studies together. All participants were interviewed three times for approximately 1 to 3 1/2 hours. The interviews were recorded, transcribed, and analyzed qualitatively. In the study of Robin, her data were analyzed deductively according to categories found in occupational socialization literature. The Dr. Wade study included the theories of self-efficacy and stereotype threat. The studies found that all educators experienced marginalization in some form. Robin experienced marginalization based upon gender and subject status. Her life history showed how her initial coaching orientation shifted to a strong teaching orientation. Aspects of occupational socialization supported, for the most part, this shift. Karen's life history demonstrated how she is continually marginalized by inaccessibility to buildings, but how she has worked to open the doors of academia to athletes with disabilities through the creation of wheelchair sports program. Karen experienced marginalization based upon subject status, gender, and ableness, but often she was successful in working to overcome the barriers. Throughout his life before and during the Civil Rights Movement in the American Southeast, Dr. Wade faced racial discrimination. This struggle is chronicled in his life history that includes how attended segregated schools, became a professional baseball player, and used lessons learned through sport to persevere through a 38 year career in academia. Dr. Wade was partly influenced by stereotype threat, and the theory of self-efficacy was used to explain how Dr. Wade could persevere despite difficult circumstances. Besides the method, the life histories share little in common besides the central role of sport in the participants' lives.

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Physical education, Education, Teacher Training, African American studies