There has been much criticism of how teachers are prepared to teach and physical education has not been immune from this criticism. Despite numerous efforts to improve the content and focus of teacher education programmes there is still a paucity of programme evaluation research on the efficacy of these teacher education programmes (Metzler & Tjeerdsma, 1998). This paper reports on part of a yearlong investigation on the efficacy of a graduate physical education teacher education programme to prepare teachers. The focus of this aspect of the study was to identify what attracted graduate students to pursue a teaching career and what beliefs they held about physical education teachers and teaching. This was a qualitative case study and multiple data sources were gathered to address the research questions. The data sources included interviews, analyses of the students' autobiographical statements, and observations of their teaching, critical incidents from their teaching and peer responses to critical incidents. Findings indicate that this cohort of graduate students, many embarking on a major career change, was more committed to teaching and their love for teaching children than coaching. While their own success and love of sport was a factor in their career choice, their experiences in helping young people engage in and enjoy physical activity was more significant than their desire to gain a teaching credential. They believed their role as a physical education teacher was to be a physically active role model and help students appreciate the importance of physical activity, to contribute to the development of student self-esteem, especially those sometimes marginalized in physical education classes, and to plan and teach lessons that would motivate all students to participate in class. This work is grounded in the occupational socialization literature and the findings are discussed in terms of what we know about how to maximize the impact of teacher education programmes especially when students' beliefs may not be aligned with those of the programme.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/cobryant/1/