Physical education teachers career and continuing professional development in Taiwan
2012-07-31T12:55:54Z (GMT) by
This study investigates physical education (PE) teachers careers and professional development in the context of Taiwanese junior high schools (pupils aged 12-14), where a national educational reform the Grade 1-9 Curriculum was launched in 2001. In particular, from teachers perspectives, this study addresses questions about (1) how and why selected Taiwanese PE teachers engage in professional learning over their careers; (2) the impact of the introduction of a new curriculum and policies; (3) ways in which professional learning could be supported more effectively. Eight case study PE teachers, who simultaneously worked as local coordinators, were invited as participants. Life history method was followed by data analysis using constructivist grounded theory to generate findings at three levels: individual life histories, cross-case themes and a theoretical framework. In addition, the process of data analysis, both manually and using a popular software package, is critically compared. The findings suggest that teachers beliefs about professional development were closely connected to their individual career histories, and these were influenced by a set of personal and contextual factors in relation to their professional lives. Moreover, despite a major government curriculum reform, the implementation of the new curriculum resulted in very little change to these teachers practices, because: (1) the curriculum guidelines were very flexible and were difficult for teachers to fully understand; and (2) there was a lack of evaluation of, or accountability for, teachers practices. This study suggests that the Taiwanese government s aspirations for radical changes to teachers practice (both teaching and learning) are more likely to be realised by ensuring that policies and the new curriculum are based on a more realistic understanding of teachers lives and careers.