How Meaningful Physical Education Experiences Influence Pre-Service Teachers’ Beliefs About Teaching
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The first purpose of this research was to explore how pre-service physical education teachers find and make meaning from their own physical activity experiences. The second purpose was to investigate the extent to which understanding their own meaning-making shapes pre-service teachers’ beliefs about teaching physical education. Researchers have developed insights into ways that young people make meaning through physical activity – for example, by participating in experiences that are fun, involve social interaction, provide challenge, and develop motor competence (Kretchmar, 2006) but less is known about ways teachers learn to foster these experiences. Through the method of photo-elicitation and two semi-structured interviews, pre-service teachers uncovered the source of meaningful situations they experienced as physical activity participants which informed their pre-service teachers’ pedagogical practice. A renewed focus on meaning-making carries the potential to shift the focus of current physical education programs away from mere fitness or skill development and toward the intrinsic motivational elements that are more likely to lead to lifelong participation.