Loughborough University
Thesis-2008-Chambers.pdf (22.25 MB)

Irish physical education teacher education students and their professional learning: the teaching practice experience

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posted on 2011-02-23, 10:05 authored by Fiona C. Chambers
In Ireland, formal mentoring as a mechanism for supporting student learning in the Teaching Practice (TP) phase of Initial Teacher Education (ITE) is at a developmental stage. The Irish Government appears to support mentoring initiatives in ITE, however, there is little evidence of a clear policy on student teacher learning, and the role of mentoring within it. This study investigates physical education teacher education (PETE) student learning on TP within a community of practice framework. Currently, the process of informal mentoring of PETE students during TP is undertaken by untrained cooperating teachers (CTs) as an unacknowledged gesture of goodwill. This has implications for the quality of PETE student learning during TP and became the subject of this research. Employing a range of qualitative data collection methods, this study focused on one umbrella case study (Greendale University, schools and PETE students) and five individual case studies: tetrads of PETE student, CT, university tutor (UT) and school principal (SP) during one academic year. PETE student learning was investigated from the perspectives of each member of the tetrad and data collected were analysed using grounded theory. Findings from this research concluded that (a) untrained CTs were unsuitable mentors and (b) untrained UTs were inappropriate tutors for PETE students as they both needed teaching expertise, a positive disposition and adequate training to embrace their respective roles. The study also found that within TP, there was a perceived lack of parity between the schools and university, with SPs feeling excluded and taken for granted by the university. This often led to open hostility between CTs and UTs, who were unclear about their respective TP roles. The combination of these factors resulted in PETE students learning the powerful hidden curriculum of TP which encouraged them to learn pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) in an unsupported and often isolated manner.



  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences


© Fiona C. Chambers

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Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.

EThOS Persistent ID



  • en