How Do Preservice Teachers Produce and Reproduce Knowledge When Participating in a Subject Matter Course?

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Runa Westerlund
Department of Education, Umeå University, Sweden


Scholars have highlighted that physical education teacher education (PETE) reproduce a managerial rather than educational notion of physical education (PE) teacher professionalism. Research grounded in explicit theories of learning can productively contribute to reflective discussions of teaching and learning in PE practices, for example PETE’s role in promoting professional knowledge and critical judgement. The aim of the study is to empirically explore, from a transactional approach, what happens in learning occasions when preservice teachers (PSTs) participate in a PETE subject matter course. The purposive sampling resulted in choosing a group consisting of 24 PSTs (11 female students and 13 male students) studying a course given at one Swedish PETE institution. Data consisted of field notes from participant observations during 28 lessons. A practical epistemology analysis was used to explore how knowledge is produced and reproduced in PETE lessons. Two major themes were found in the analysis: indeterminate situations connected to (a) PSTs developing movement capability and (b) PSTs developing a teacher’s perspective. The indeterminate situations the PSTs noticed, which varied between two types of staged encounters and elements in PETE characterised by a theory-practice dualism, seemed to contribute to certain processes of inquiry but not others. Within both themes, a contextualisation of the covered subject matter and the teacher educators’ use of concepts were important to the direction of the PSTs’ learning processes. An understanding of the role of inquiry, and of how individuals’ prior experience take part in learning processes, are argued to be important in PETE teaching.


Click here to read this peer reviewed article in Scandinavian Sport Studies Forum, Vol. 14, 2023


RUNA WESTERLUND is a PhD student in pedagogy at Umeå University. Her research interests are in the field of physical education teacher education and teacher learning. Her thesis focus on learning and socialization processes in becoming a PE teacher.


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