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A case study of the dual roles of an exemplary physical education teacher/coach: An ecological comparison

Karen B Pagnano, University of Massachusetts Amherst


An ecological perspective has been utilized to understand the teaching-learning context in physical education and sport settings, yet few studies have systematically studied the teacher/coach in their dual role context teaching and coaching (Hastie & Siedentop, 1999). The purpose of this study was twofold. First, to examine the work of an exemplary physical education teacher/coach teaching soccer in physical education and coaching soccer in sport from Doyle's (1977) ecological perspective. Specifically, to understand the similarities and difference of the program of action (PoA), during lesson and practice sessions. Second to examine, from Callero's (1994) resource perspective of role, how dual role responsibilities influenced the work of a physical education teacher/coach. Participants included Tom, a 34-year veteran physical education teacher/coach and his physical education class (N = 14), and varsity boy's soccer team (N = 23). Data were collected at 15 physical education classes and 31 soccer practices using qualitative techniques (e.g., narrative field notes, in-depth participant interviews). Three formal semi-structured 90 minute interviews were conducted with the teacher/coach to explore his background, perceptions and beliefs about teaching and coaching, and his work as a dual role professional. Semi-structured 30-minute student/athlete interviews were conducted with seven students and 21 athletes and focused on their experiences in sport and physical education with Tom. Data were analyzed inductively using a constant comparison method. Findings indicate that for Tom there was a similarity and compatibility of teaching physical education and coaching sport based on how Tom claimed the teaching and coaching role. Second, reverence among student/athletes and Tom was a powerful resource Tom accessed through the teaching and coaching role, which facilitated relationship building and contributed to a positive learning environment. Finally, Tom structured the learning environments in physical education and sport with robust PoAs, which included a strong primary learning vector. Tom used many appropriate pedagogical practices in both physical education and sport, such as effective rules, routines, expectations, and strong content development through the four games stages (Rink, 1998) which contributed to the robustness of the PoA. This study was an important step in the systematic examination of the practices of exemplary physical education teacher/coaches.

Subject Area

Physical education|Curricula|Teaching

Recommended Citation

Pagnano, Karen B, "A case study of the dual roles of an exemplary physical education teacher/coach: An ecological comparison" (2004). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3136763.