Operationalising physical literacy within physical education teaching practice through professional development
AuthorsDurden-Myers, Elizabeth Jayne
Subject Categories::X370 Academic studies in Education (across phases)
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AbstractIntroduction - Physical literacy has been described as a longed-for concept and has gained widespread global interest. This interest has also given rise to calls for physical literacy to be operationalised, providing clarity and guidance on developing physical literacy informed teaching practice. Operationalising physical literacy is crucial in moving the concept forwards by providing substance to the claims made by physical literacy advocates. The purpose of this research was to explore how physical literacy could be operationalised within physical education teaching practice. In particular, this thesis investigates how professional development can support physical literacy informed physical education practice. Methodology - This research utilised professional development sessions alongside participatory action research to develop the practice of fourteen teachers of physical education in both primary and secondary school contexts. Semi-structured interviews were used to capture the professional development journey of each teacher. This information was supplemented by extensive supporting data including field diaries, emails, video recordings, lesson observations, lesson plans and lesson reflections. Thematic analysis and narrative representation were used to analyse and present the findings of the semi-structured interviews. Findings - This research proposes that physical literacy professional development can be effective in operationalising physical literacy within physical education teaching practice. It argues that the factors that mediate the effectiveness of professional development include the professional development process, the use of a credible expert, and participant and context engagement. This research also argues that as a result of professional development teachers are better able to describe the why, what and how of physical literacy and are able to better articulate how it informs their teaching practice. Finally, a number of barriers to operationalising physical literacy within physical education teaching practice were identified and categorised as either leadership and governance, management and institutional or individual barriers. Solutions to support the operationalisation of physical literacy in physical education teaching practice centred around two key themes. Firstly, raising the status and value of physical education and secondly, by improving professional development opportunities for teachers. Conclusion - This research contributes to knowledge firstly, by extending the theoretical and conceptual rationale and understanding around unpacking physical literacy for use within educational professional development and physical education teaching practice. And secondly, in the development of a physical literacy professional development framework and intervention. This research provides an effective process (action research and professional development sessions) alongside a range of supporting tools (lesson planning, observation and reflection tools) and resources (website, folder, handouts) that can assist the operationalisation of physical literacy. This research recommends that more opportunities for meaningful physical literacy professional development, including the development of whole school approaches are required. It also argues that more needs to be done in order to elevate and align the value, role and purpose of physical education across the education profession as a whole. Finally, this research argues that in order to scale and create sustainable impact the creation of in-situ physical literacy experts or champions are required to sustain and advocate the value of and develop physical literacy informed practice more widely and sustainably.
CitationDurden-Myers, E.J. (2020) 'Operationalising Physical Literacy Within Physical Education Teaching Practice Through Professional Development'. PhD thesis. University of Bedfordshire.
PublisherUniversity of Bedfordshire
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionA thesis submitted to the University of Bedfordshire in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
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