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Comparative case studies of teacher change within the context of reform -based physical education teacher development

Kevin G Patton, University of Massachusetts Amherst


The purpose of this qualitative study was to examine teacher change within the context of reform-based teacher development, and to identify factors that supported or impeded physical education teachers to make changes to improve their physical education programs. This study explores the experiences of five of twelve physical education teachers participating in the Assessment Initiative for Middle School Physical Education (AIMS-PE). Participants included teachers, students, principals and assigned project researchers from three schools. Data included interviews, school artifacts, and descriptive field notes from observations. Interview transcripts and field notes were analyzed using open, axial, and selective coding (Strauss & Corbin, 1998). Results indicated that through their participation in the project, teachers successfully made changes to their teaching approaches, use of materials and assessment practices. Three patterns of change were prominent in the teachers' experiences: (a) increased planning and more efficient organization and management, (b) improved alignment of instruction processes and instructional assessments, and (c) a shift in teacher roles characterized by letting go of control to facilitate student oriented small-sided games and student peer assessments. Factors supporting and impeding teachers' abilities to adapt project materials to their own school context included peer and institutional support, interactions with other teachers, opportunities to socially construct knowledge, sufficient time, and student reaction. Teachers identified that mentor support and project workshop sessions generally were an effective catalyst for change, and that hands-on training in the construction of assessment tools and assistance in the management of assessment were essential during planning and implementation. For these five teachers, change involved risk taking and often appeared messy in the early stages as they departed from what they knew well to try new practices and strategies. Results suggest that it is important for teacher development efforts aimed at changing current physical education to create opportunities for teachers to participate in programs with the intensity, multiple resources, and ongoing support necessary to address the multiple demands expected of teachers by contemporary reform agendas.

Subject Area

Physical education

Recommended Citation

Patton, Kevin G, "Comparative case studies of teacher change within the context of reform -based physical education teacher development" (2004). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3152733.