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Power Play: Leveraging Early Role Modeling in PETE to Influence Teacher Candidates

Derek J. Mohr, Brian Mosier, J. Scott Townsend


This article details how two teacher education programs are leveraging role modeling to influence teacher candidates (TCs) by providing a prolonged, immersive, and high quality physical education (PE) activity experience early in each program and by systematically referring to and reflecting upon that experience in subsequent courses across the program. This early experience has been coined “Grade A Physical Education.” Effective health and PE programs can help empower children to lead healthy and active lives. To help future health and PE teachers be effective, PE teacher education (PETE) programs, in part, need to consider the extensive work done on teacher socialization and teacher education curriculum design. Grade A PE has been informed by such research and systematically addresses critical professional preparation issues including but not limited to recruitment and retention, occupational socialization, and cultural relevance and inclusivity. This foundational activity-based experience provides vast opportunities for PETE programs to connect with and positively affect TCs’ pedagogical values, knowledge, and skills. Therefore, this article presents two Grade A PE prototypes, each from a different university. It describes efforts made by each institution to leverage early role modeling to influence TCs’ perceptions of and ability to teach PE for learning. Additionally, it offers key recommendations for the successful design and implementation of Grade A PE. Ideally, the reader will consider the need for and understand the components of Grade A PE, will examine the two prototypes presented, and will ultimately be inspired to design and implement similar experiences in their own teacher education programs. 

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Role Modeling; Recruitment; Socialization; Teacher Education

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