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Cultural Competence of Urban Middle School Physical Education Teachers

Sara B. Flory, Rebecca A. Wylie


Much literature cites how cultural clashes among teachers and students can undermine educational processes and cause feelings of mistrust among students in school settings. This research examined the cultural competence of secondary PE teachers who taught in diverse urban schools. The research questions guiding the study were (1) what do urban teachers know about students and the community they serve? (2) what instances of cultural distance exist between teachers and students in these schools? and (3) how do teachers bridge cultural distance between themselves and their students? Using qualitative research methods, we examined the cultural competence of six purposively sampled PE teachers in an urban school district over one school year. Participants were recruited based on recommendations from the PE supervisor in a large metropolitan school district in the Southeastern United States. Data collection included multiple interviews (n = 36), teaching observations and field notes (n = 18), and teaching workshops (n = 4).

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Physical Education; Cultural Competence; Urban Education; Urban Schools

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