An investigation of pre-service teachers’ learning in physical education teacher education: schools and university in partnership

Frank Herold, Michael Waring

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
264 Downloads (Pure)


This study explores the role of school and university partnership teams in the professional development of physical education (PE) pre-service teachers during their one year Postgraduate Certificate in Education course in England. The paper focuses on the key influences and processes that impacted on pre-service teachers' subject knowledge development. An interpretive methodology informed by constructivist grounded theory [Charmaz, K. (2006). Constructing grounded theory: A practical guide through qualitative analysis. London: Sage.] was adopted. This research highlights that the process of knowledge development in physical education teacher education (PETE) is socially constructed and complex. Much of the pre-service teachers’ development was influenced by various communities of practice, particularly their school placements’ PE departments, but also their university-based learning community. Of these, the legitimised practices within the PE departments were found to be especially important to pre-service teachers’ development. University-based learning was credited by pre-service teachers with enhancing their holistic understanding of the learning process, developing those aspects of critical pedagogy that were under-developed in schools. This study identifies the capability of school/university partnerships to facilitate enhanced knowledge development in PETE. Taking into consideration the evolving nature of PETE within a political context that is progressively moving towards an entirely school-based model, an evidence-based debate over the manner and nature of the subject knowledge to be developed is needed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalSport Education and Society
Early online date4 Jan 2016
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 Jan 2016


  • PCK
  • communities of practice
  • initial teacher education
  • subject knowledge
  • Physical education
  • content knowledge


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