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Physical Education Cooperating Teachers’ Perceptions of Preparedness for the Student Teaching Experience

Hillary M. Franks, Jennifer M. Krause


The culmination of teacher education programs is the student teaching experience, an extended field experience under the guidance of a cooperating teacher (CT), as well as a university supervisor. Student teachers consider CTs to be one of the most important providers to their preparation program. The role of a CT is influential; however, there is little done to prepare these individuals for this undertaking and minimal support from the teacher preparation program. The purpose of this study was to determine physical education CTs’ (PECTs) awareness of and preparedness for responsibilities during the student teaching experience and their beliefs regarding training to become a PECT. This mixed methods study involved the collection of survey data from 26 PECTs, and interviews from four PECTs related to experiences and preparedness for the role as a PECT. Survey results revealed inconsistent perceptions of their roles as PECTs, even though 85% of PECTs reported feeling cognizant and prepared for their responsibilities at the start of their PECT experience. Of the 15% of PECTs who did not feel prepared, 75% were first-time PECTs. The qualitative data revealed four major themes surrounding preparedness for their role: (a) importance of communication, (b) knowledge of student teacher preparation program, (c) student teachers’ preparedness for the student teaching experience, (d) and professional development opportunities. Findings suggest that despite feeling prepared overall, PECTs could benefit from formal training that clarifies their roles and responsibilities within the student teaching triad.

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Physical Education Teacher Education; Physical Education Cooperating Teacher; Student Teaching

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