Pedagogical Knowledge of Structured Movement Sessions in the Early Education Curriculum: Perceptions of Teachers and Student Teachers

Abstract

Early childhood education (ECE) teachers have traditionally been trained as generalists. However, there is now a growing awareness of the potential importance of having pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) of physical activity opportunities in the ECE curriculum. Furthermore, several scholars argue that movement content knowledge in physical education (PE) teacher education needs to be revisited. The aim of this study is to analyze ECE teachers’ and student teachers’ perception of PCK in the teaching and learning process of the structured movement sessions. Using a deductive coding scheme, we identified fourteen initial categories and consolidated them into three major categories. The first, the disregard for psychomotricity in the ECE curriculum, can be explained by (a) the perception that ECE is less important than elementary education, and (b) the lack of importance given to psychomotricity by society and schools, which have been responsible for exacerbating this distortion. Secondly, there are several barriers that threaten PCK during structured movement sessions: (a) lack of content knowledge; (b) lack of confidence; (c) lack of interest; (d) lack of training; (e) the non-standardized curriculum; (f) personal negatives experiences related to PE; and (g) lack of context-specific PE teacher education for ECE. Finally, we identified the following facilitating factors challenging these barriers: (a) interaction among members of the school community; (b) personal intrinsic motivation; (c) the role of university training and continuous professional development for exposing teachers to alternatives ways of thinking; and (d) teachers’ feelings of professional responsibility for modifying the reality of the educational context to generate positive practices.

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Correspondence to Vladimir E. Martínez-Bello.

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Martínez-Bello, V.E., Bernabé-Villodre, M., Lahuerta-Contell, S. et al. Pedagogical Knowledge of Structured Movement Sessions in the Early Education Curriculum: Perceptions of Teachers and Student Teachers. Early Childhood Educ J (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10643-020-01090-0

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Keywords

  • Early childhood education
  • Pedagogical content knowledge
  • Physical education
  • Physical activity