University of Limerick
MacPhail_2023_Physical.pdf (1.69 MB)
Download file

Preparing pre-service physical education teachers as practitioner researchers

Download (1.69 MB)
journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-22, 08:07 authored by Ann Mac PhailAnn Mac Phail, Dylan ScanlonDylan Scanlon, DEBORAH TANNEHILLDEBORAH TANNEHILL

Background: There is continual support for teacher educators to play a more significant role in equipping teachers with the skills necessary to undertake practitioner research (Ellis, N., and T. Loughland. 2016. “The Challenges of Practitioner Research: A Comparative Study of Singapore and NSW.” The Australian Journal of Teacher Education 41 (2): 122–136). However, there is noticeably less literature reporting the means through which pre-service teachers (PSTs) are introduced, and provided the opportunity, to experience practitioner research with a view to becoming practitioner researchers once they become qualified teachers. Purpose: The focus for this paper is on considering the perceptions to which a chosen enactment of practitioner research in a Physical Education Teacher Education (PETE) programme prepares PSTs to understand, appreciate and experience practitioner research. The paper shares how one specific PETE practitioner-research module scaffolds learning and associated assessment tasks that align with PSTs’ school placement block. Method: Four focus groups (17 PSTs) were conducted to capture the PSTs’ understanding, appreciation, and experience of practitioner research. Findings: The findings highlighted how the module had extended PSTs’ understanding of research through the process of accessing, interpreting, and seeking assistance with conducting research. The pedagogical practices employed allowed PSTs to understand research, how research informs practice and, in turn, the expected role of the practitioner researcher. Challenges identified by the PSTs included: (i) a lack of time outside of the module to further engage with practitioner research; (ii) accessing relevant research; and (iii) readability of some research. Interestingly, the PSTs shared some hesitancy in the feasibility of enacting a strong practitioner researcher persona when the time came for them to enter teaching as qualified beginning teachers. Conclusion: This paper highlights one-way PSTs can be encouraged and supported to apply research to their work as teachers and immediately in the planning priorities for school placement. Such an infrastructure supports the importance of integrating research and teaching, with PSTs provided a daily opportunity throughout the school placement block to understand, change and improve their practice in a principled and informed way. 



Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy


Routledge Taylor & Francis Group

Department or School

  • Physical Education and Sports Science