Developing embodied competence while becoming a PE teacher: PETE students’ embodied experiences and reflections after micro-teaching
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Background: Becoming a PE teacher is a multifaceted process that involves many complexities and contextual specificities. Entering their physical education teacher education (PETE) programme, student teachers are in a vulnerable position as they are uncertain of their professional subjectivities. During their PETE programme, students are introduced to different understandings and practises regarding the body. However, the importance of the body in the development of leadership and relational competence has not yet played a prominent role in PETE or its research. Purpose: Drawing on the concept of embodied professional competence developed by Winther [(2012). Det Professionspersonlige – om kroppen som klangbund i professionel kommunikation. Værløse: Billesø & Baltzer], this paper aims to provide insight into the importance of unpacking embodiment with PETE students to develop their understanding of how their body influences their leadership [embodied professional competence]. More specifically, the question guiding this article is: How can a focus on bodily experiences contribute to developing PETE students’ embodied professional competence? Our overall goal has been to create a more embodied approach to working with PETE students to develop their (embodied) understanding of their professional development and (practice of) embodied pedagogies in physical education. Methods: This is a combined teaching and research project focusing on PETE students’ professional competence. All PETE students participated in two teaching series involving them in micro-teaching and reflections upon their bodily experiences and communication while teaching. Hence, the data consists of the PETE students’ subsequent written reflections. Findings: Analysis of the material revealed that reflecting upon their bodily experiences with micro-teaching requires the PETE students to be involved in a process of developing their embodied professional competence. Through the teaching series, they were given the opportunity to explore and learn how to teach. In a safe community, the PETE students could be vulnerable and make mistakes while developing their embodied professional competence. Conclusions: We argue for the importance of integrating PETE students’ bodily experiences into the PETE programme. The study highlights that learning how to reflect upon bodily experiences and share them in a safe community provides an excellent starting point for further development of the PETE students’ professional teaching identities.