Practical knowledge of preservice physical education teachers: Content and influence of acculturation

Jan-Erik Romar, Peter Åström, Magnus Ferry

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The objective of this exploratory study was to identify the content of preservice teachers’ practical knowledge and the influence of their acculturation experiences on their practical knowledge. Informed by teacher occupational socialisation theory, a mixed method design was used to examine 26 first-year preservice physical education and health (PEH) teachers’ practical knowledge construction during their first PEH course. Data collection included a written assignment in which the preservice teachers, based on their learning experiences during the PEH course, were asked to describe 10 significant didactical milestones (DMs) (practical knowledge) that would guide their future teaching in PEH. The early stage of teacher socialisation, their acculturation phase, was examined and analysed by using a questionnaire gathering information about their background and previous experiences. Results showed that the content of these preservice PEH teachers’ practical knowledge was mainly pedagogical and focused most often on instructional strategies. The preservice teachers showed a relative lack of focus on knowledge concerning curriculum aims and contextual issues related to school and society. Furthermore, the results showed significant individual differences in the content of their practical knowledge. Consequently, we must acknowledge that acculturation and professional socialisation of individual preservice teachers will not be similar and that there is fundamentally multifaceted interaction between the structure of teacher education, different stages, and content. Teacher educators need to consider the complexity between individual learning experiences and the importance of how the content is organised in a differentiated approach.

Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)114–126
JournalJournal of Physical Education and Sport
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Teacher education

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