Living a Curriculum of Tensions: Experiences of Learning to Teach Physical Education
Funk, Shannon Dale
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This narrative inquiry explored two pre-service teachers’ experiences of learning to teach Physical Education during a 16-week internship. My interest emerged from my experiences as a student, pre-service teacher, teacher, cooperating teacher, supervising faculty, and teacher educator. I began by inquiring into my own stories of experience. Wonders emerged as I explored literature about learning to teach and juxtaposed a Deweyan conception of experience with other research paradigms such as post-positivism, Marxism, and post-structuralism. While traversing these borderland spaces and inquiring into my own stories of experience, a research puzzle was named: how learning to teach is experienced by pre-service teachers and how they dwell in spaces of tension between curriculum-as-plan and curriculum-as-lived while learning to teach Physical Education. Two pre-service teachers in secondary urban school settings met with me over a six month period. Field texts included audio recorded and transcribed group and one-on-one conversations, field notes from school visits and teaching observations, journal writing and reflections, artifacts from the participants’ internship, and text message conversations. Research texts were composed with each participant in the form of narrative accounts that inquired into their experiences using the three-dimensional narrative inquiry space with dimensions of sociality, temporality, and place. I looked across the two narrative accounts and my own stories of experience. Three threads of narrative connection reverberated, moving toward new wonderings related to the research puzzle: shifting identity, teaching their way, and working alongside teachers. These threads were explored through further inquiry and by laying the participants’ stories of experience alongside my stories of experience and literature about identity and learning to teach. The personal, practical, and social justifications for the inquiry named at the outset of the inquiry were re-visited and discussed – how my practices as a teacher educator will change, how others might be able to use this inquiry to reflect on their own experiences, and how narrative inquiry may be a rare but valuable methodological approach for Physical Education teacher education research.