Using Reflective Practice in Teaching Dance to Preservice Physical Education Teachers

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<ul><li><p>This article was downloaded by: [University of Kiel]On: 05 November 2014, At: 04:45Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registered office: Mortimer House,37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK</p><p>European Journal of Physical EducationPublication details, including instructions for authors and subscription information:</p><p>Using Reflective Practice in Teaching Dance toPreservice Physical Education TeachersAnn Carolyn McCormack aa University of Newcastle , AustraliaPublished online: 10 Aug 2006.</p><p>To cite this article: Ann Carolyn McCormack (2001) Using Reflective Practice in Teaching Dance to Preservice PhysicalEducation Teachers, European Journal of Physical Education, 6:1, 5-15, DOI: 10.1080/1740898010060102</p><p>To link to this article:</p><p>PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLE</p><p>Taylor &amp; Francis makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of all the information (the Content) containedin the publications on our platform. However, Taylor &amp; Francis, our agents, and our licensors make norepresentations or warranties whatsoever as to the accuracy, completeness, or suitability for any purpose of theContent. Any opinions and views expressed in this publication are the opinions and views of the authors, andare not the views of or endorsed by Taylor &amp; Francis. The accuracy of the Content should not be relied upon andshould be independently verified with primary sources of information. Taylor and Francis shall not be liable forany losses, actions, claims, proceedings, demands, costs, expenses, damages, and other liabilities whatsoeveror howsoever caused arising directly or indirectly in connection with, in relation to or arising out of the use ofthe Content.</p><p>This article may be used for research, teaching, and private study purposes. Any substantial or systematicreproduction, redistribution, reselling, loan, sub-licensing, systematic supply, or distribution in anyform to anyone is expressly forbidden. Terms &amp; Conditions of access and use can be found at</p><p></p></li><li><p>European Journal of Physical Education, 2001, 6, 5-15</p><p>Using Reflective Practice in TeachingDance to Preservice Physical</p><p>Education Teachers</p><p>Ann Carolyn McCormack</p><p>The need for reflective pedagogical practices in teacher education to enhance pre-service teachers' understanding of teaching, and to assist the link between theoryand their own practice, has long been accepted. This study sought to investigatethe use of reflective strategies to develop attitudes and skills in teaching dance inphysical education by a group of first year preservice physical education teachers(N=90) undertaking an introductory course in dance in an Australian university.Monitoring occurred at regular intervals during the course to identify any longitudinal</p><p>' developmental trends in attitudes. Inductive analysis of weekly journal responseswas undertaken to identify major themes or focus areas using the Reflective Frameworkfor Teaching in Physical Education (Tsangaridou and O'SulIivan, 1994). Attitudinaldata from questionnaire responses were analysed using SPSSPC and focus groupdiscussion data were transcribed and analysed for dominant themes using NVivosoftware. The results indicated an increase in the focus and level of complexity ofreflections and analytical responses in line with changes in attitudes and confidencein teaching dance experienced during the course. Significant gender differences inattitudes to teaching dance prior to undertaking the course and in the early journalentries were identified. Improvement in and value given to journal writing wasevident, however, some preservice teachers felt hindered by a lack of personalreflective writing skill.</p><p>INTRODUCTION</p><p>It is universally accepted that teaching is a complex activity occurring in a complexenvironment (Britzman, 1991; Doyle, 1986; Shulman, 1987). The ability to thinkabout why and what a teacher does is vital to the development of intelligent practice(Richert, 1991; Zeichner, 1987). To develop this ability teacher educators caneducate preservice. teachers to become effective decision makers who are able totranslate pedagogical knowledge into practice (Berliner, 1985; Siedentop, 1991).This approach has seen worldwide attention given to restructuring teacher education(Campbell-Evans, 1993) to focus on the challenge of providing a programme whichdevelops reflective practitioners capable of critically inquiring into their ownpractice (Clandinin, Davies, Hogan and Kennard, 1993; Knowles and Holt-Reynolds,1991; Zeichner, 1992, 1993). The need for reflection has also been argued on the</p><p>Ann McCormack, University of Newcastle, Australia.</p><p>5</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Uni</p><p>vers</p><p>ity o</p><p>f K</p><p>iel]</p><p> at 0</p><p>4:45</p><p> 05 </p><p>Nov</p><p>embe</p><p>r 20</p><p>14 </p></li><li><p>grounds of facilitating the linking of theory and practice and enabling preserviceteachers to take an active role in their own credibility (Calderhead, 1989). Thedevelopment of the skills and habits of reflection may be seen both as a means ofimproving practice and as an end in itself, a valid outcome of reflective teachereducation (LaBoskey, 1993; Mclntyre, 1993).</p><p>Reflective practice has been conceived of as a collection of strategies used as amechanism to encourage teacher growth. These strategies range from deliberationabout the practical aspects and content of teacher's work to critical appraisal of themeaning, in a moral or ethical context, of teaching activities (Redden, Frid andReading, 1997). Reflective practice presupposes that for teacher growth to occur, mereexperience is not sufficient. Teacher growth is a result of experience plus reflectionon that experience (Posner, 1993). LaBoskey (1993) developed a conceptual frame-work for reflective teacher education in which the act of reflection was viewed interms of the dimensions or aspects of content, processes, attitudes and teachingconditions. LaBoskey (1993) and Furlong and Maynard (1995) argued that thenecessary skills for reflective practice are not automatically available to beginningteachers and opportunities must be provided to develop these skills. Furlong andMaynard (1995) postulated that teachers move through a developmental pathcharacterised by a shift in focus of teacher concern. This concern begins withteaching behaviour and modelling themselves on others, moving onto concern aboutskills and content, then to focus on students and ends in a final stage of exploringattitudes and theoretical underpinnings of one's actions as an educator.</p><p>Researchers in the physical education field have also called for attention toreflective teaching practice (Tsangaridou and O'Sullivan, 1994) with many propositionsand suggestions about the specific aspects of teaching needing reflection (Dodds,1989; Tinning, 1991). However, there is little empirical evidence in the physicaleducation literature to inform practice or to support these propositions (Gore, 1990)and that which does exist, tends to focus on practicum experiences and methodscourses rather than the practical areas of physical education. Maybe it is assumedthat teachers of physical education are skilled practitioners who readily adapt to thelearning and therefore teaching of different areas of study within the discipline.</p><p>One of the traditional areas of preservice training for physical education teachersin Australia is dance education. Although dance has emerged as part of arts educationin recent curriculum statements physical education classes remain, for the majorityof students, their first introduction to dance education. Dance has remained animportant strand of study in school physical education programmes, however, forpreservice physical education teachers in their teacher education courses it oftencauses apprehension and a resulting lack of commitment to learning. These attitudesare commonly built upon beliefs preservice teachers bring from their own schoolexperiences and these have been seen to transfer into their inservice teaching (Clark,1988; Pajares, 1992). Holt-Reynolds (1992) suggested that the attitudes preserviceteachers form -about teaching as a student in schools over an extended period ofmany years acts as a "filter" through which they view and interpret the content oftheir teacher education.</p><p>Learning to teach dance requires the ability to engage students in experiencesthat heighten perceptual abilities, prompt decision-making based upon criticallydeveloped values, encourage diverse responses and above all, provide enjoyment.As well as requiring the development of physical skills and techniques, teachingdance relies on the development of a set of artistic values and attitudes (Klenz, 1995)not as readily attainable in sports. For the individual, dance involves artistic, physical,</p><p>6</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Uni</p><p>vers</p><p>ity o</p><p>f K</p><p>iel]</p><p> at 0</p><p>4:45</p><p> 05 </p><p>Nov</p><p>embe</p><p>r 20</p><p>14 </p></li><li><p>mental and emotional functions. Dance is also often a co-operative endeavour, an artof socialisation for both the teacher and student and may carry with it gender, socialand cultural expectations. Again, these expectations are linked to personal valuesand attitudes (Klenz, 1995). Dance education in teacher education should thereforerequire preservice teachers to examine their values and attitudes as they developthe technical skills of creating, performing and appraising dance. Studies haveconfirmed that prior beliefs and images must be recognised, modified and recon-structed for professional growth to occur (Kagan, 1992). One method to encouragepreservice teachers to challenge, mitigate and reconstruct these attitudes is toprovide them with reflective strategies and tasks throughout their dance educationinstruction.</p><p>Recently, teacher educators have developed and applied different instructionalstrategies in their programmes to prepare preservice teachers to reflect on theirteaching. Journal writing is one such technique which has been used extensively inuniversity contexts where reflection has been widely recognised as a crucial elementin the professional growth of preservice teachers (Calderhead and Gates, 1993).Evidence provided by preservice teachers' reports indicated that journals are highlyrated as a means of facilitating reflection (Walker, 1985), integrating theory andpractice (Ballantyne and Packer, 1995), developing personal theories about practice(Thornbury, 1991) and examining held beliefs and values (Wodlinger, 1990).Research has shown this is particularly applicable to contexts in which reflectivejournals are used as adjuncts to conventional learning methods (Ballantyne andPacker, 1995).</p><p>Although journal writing has been lauded as an effective reflective practicestrategy in teacher education programmes, concerns have been expressed aboutits use with identification of the problems of overuse, lack of focus, emphasis ongrading, level of skill in writing and lack of preservice teachers' understanding of"reflection". In light of the increased popularity of reflective practice and the lack ofreported evidence from physical education teacher education programmes, furtherresearch evidence is required to substantiate the effectiveness of journal writing asa valuable learning tool for practical skills.</p><p>Purpose of the Study</p><p>This study sought to investigate how preservice teachers, during their first year ofteacher education, used reflective practices of journal writing, focus group discussionand questionnaires to reflect on their developing skills in and attitudes towardsthe teaching of dance in physical education. In addition, this study aimed toexamine two of LaBoskey's (1993) four dimensions of reflection, namely contentand attitudes, as a means of monitoring any change in attitudes and perceivedskills through participation in the dance subject. The purpose of this study wastherefore:</p><p>1. To examine the impact of reflective practice on the attitudes of preservicephysical education teachers to teaching dance</p><p>2. To examine the impact of reflective practices on the perceived dance skilldevelopment of preservice physical education teachers.</p><p>3. To investigate if gender differences exist in attitudes towards teaching dance inphysical education.</p><p>7</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Uni</p><p>vers</p><p>ity o</p><p>f K</p><p>iel]</p><p> at 0</p><p>4:45</p><p> 05 </p><p>Nov</p><p>embe</p><p>r 20</p><p>14 </p></li><li><p>METHODS</p><p>SampleA cohort of 90 first year Bachelor of Teaching/Bachelor of Health and PhysicalEducation preservice teachers were the focus for the study. These preservice teachershad completed one semester at university and had undertaken five micro-teachingsessions in primary school settings. The group consisted of 47 female and 43 malepreservice teachers ranging in age from 18 years to 35 years.</p><p>The 90 preservice teachers participated in a two-hour dance class each weekover a 14-week semester. The content of these classes covered creative, folk, bushand line/individual dances with each lecture having a warm up, skill development,dance making/choreography, performance/appraisal and theory components. Thepreservice teachers were introduced to the concept of journal writing as a meansof recording and reflecting on their lecture experiences and skill development. Theformat and categories of the journals were explained with a weekly journal proformaprovided for the participants as a guide to their reflections with emphasis advised inthe three areas of skill development, choreography and general comments. Therewas no restriction on the length of writing required. A final free-response questionasked the preservice teachers to comment on the value of the journal writing.</p><p>In addition, quantitative data was collected using an attitudinal measure in theform of a short questionnaire which was administered to the preservice teachersduring the first and last lecture of the semester course. Further data was collectedfrom focus group discussions conducted with ten randomly selected preserviceteachers from the group and held during Week 3 and at the completion of the course.This data served to allow further clarification and expansion of data collected fromthe questionnaires and journals.</p><p>Inductive analysis of the participants' journal scripts was undertaken in Week 7and again at the completion of the course. This analysis identified major themes orfocus of the comments at the beginning, middle and end of the course to monitorany longitudinal developmental trends. The scripts were analysed using the ReflectiveFramework for Teaching in Physical Education (Tsangaridou and O'Sullivan, 1994).This framework identified three focus categories of reflection, namely, technicalwhich is concerned with the instructional technique of teaching; situational dealingwith the contextual and organisational aspects and finally the sensitising or evaluativeasp...</p></li></ul>


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