Effect of occupational socialization, waivers, exemptions, and substitutions on physical education curricula

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University of Alabama Libraries

Physical education teachers’ beliefs and values have been shown to be shaped by three types of socialization: acculturation, professional socialization, and organizational socialization. To our knowledge, there are no studies directly aimed at examining the relationships between physical education teacher socialization, teacher beliefs, and curriculum development. In addition, granting of waivers, exemptions, and substitutions (WESs) appears to be on the increase and impacting curriculum design. The present study investigated the influence of occupational socialization on both elementary and secondary physical education teachers’ beliefs and curricula as well as examining WES in physical education. Participants included 14 elementary physical education teachers and 16 secondary physical education teachers. Additional participants included one state Department of Education official, eight principals, two assistant principals, six students, and six parents from three school districts in which WES were permitted and prevalent. Data collection methods were comprised of formal and informal interviews, focus group interviews, observations, film snippets, fictional curriculum plans, and official documents. Data were reduced to key themes by employing standard interpretive methods. Using occupational socialization theory, three groups of teachers were identified: non-teachers, conservatives, and progressives. Each teacher group was closely aligned to orientations for teaching and coaching. Orientations had been formed during their acculturation and were largely untouched or reinforced by their physical education teacher education (PETE) and the cultures in which they worked generally supported the non-teachers’ perspective. Three forms of WES were identified: those that involved students participating in in-school activities and out-of-school activities in lieu of physical education, and innovative waivers that gave administrators the power to curtail provision of the subject. WES were primarily favored by everyone, with the exception of most physical education teachers. WES evolved from marginalization of physical education in relation to academic subjects and competitive sport, as well as poor physical education. The findings provided clues as to how the cycle of poor and non-teaching produced by the current pattern of socialization into physical education might be broken. Practical implications focused on the need for careful selection of preservice teachers, ways in which to deliver PETE, and the need for increased accountability in schools

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Physical education