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Japanese Elementary Classroom Teachers’ Experiences of Teaching Gymnastics in Physical Education

Sadaomi Iwaki, Takahiro Sato, Emi Tsuda, James Wyant


The purpose of this study was to describe Japanese elementary classroom teachers’ experiences of teaching gymnastics in physical education. This study used a descriptive qualitative approach, grounded in the classroom ecological model, using in-depth, semistructured interviews about teaching gymnastics in physical education. Five teachers (4 males, 1 female) from five public elementary schools in Tokyo, Saitama, and Chiba regions of Japan voluntarily participated in this study. Three major interrelated and complex themes emerged from the data analyses: (a) facilitating peer feedback to improve student learning, (b) holding students accountable using self-reflection and self-evaluation, and (c) the struggles of executing ideal lessons. The findings demonstrate the reciprocal and dynamic nature of the teaching–learning environment in Japanese elementary physical education. Teachers must understand their students’ learning interests and motivations and develop student social task systems in gymnastics lessons.

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Japan; gymnastics; mat exercise; elementary and physical education

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