Challenging physical education preservice teachers’ thoughts through good pedagogy – dr. antonio calderon.

Recently, one of our research projects on pedagogies of physical education teacher education has been awarded as the paper of the year for one of the best physical education and sport pedagogy journals. The blended approach that we suggest in that research has been developed by the Sport Pedagogy group from university if Limerick from 2016 and is currently evolving. This approach is emphasised through the block structure which allowed the intended outcomes, the teaching and learning activities, and the assessment tasks to be aligned and interconnected. Each of the four blocks ‘build’ into each other, enhancing prior knowledge, formulating student understanding of the content and supporting the associated assessments. An example of the alignment and the integrated approach is evident in block one of the Sociological Concepts of Teaching and Learning in Physical Education module (Figure 1). First, students were taught face-to-face about the power of physical education to educate young people about body image. They then discussed online about social media impact in creating body ideals and stereotypes. After this, they picked one of the topics and blogged about it, relating their experience and setting goals of how to address such issues in going forward in their teaching practice. Finally, in face-to-face teams they debated (either to support or against) the following statement: ‘Physical education cannot fight the power of Instagram to educate young people to understand body image’ 

Picture1Figure 1. Detailed example of the second and fourth block of Sociological Concept of Teaching and Learning in Physical Education. 

The teacher educators and the preservice teachers that participated, conveyed a positive and encouraging experience of blended learning in the PETE programme. As one of them said: 

“I think one thing that would be a takeaway of the whole blended approach is that everything was kind of aligned … so the first blog was about gender issues … then they had to debate about the [same] topic … and I think the students were ready to debate about the topic because they had been blogging about it and they had the live chat [about it based on the weekly readings on that topic] … I think that was the best thing of this approach, the overall alignment of all the different components feeding each other and acting as just one entity” 

Similar approaches could be used and adapted to different contexts to challenge preservice teachers’ thoughts on relevant topics (as we did for body image or social class) to shape their future pedagogies as physical education teachers. Conscious of the complexities associated, experience like this, may have a positive impact on the wellbeing and development of Irish young people. 


Dr. Antonio Calderón is the Course Director of the Professional Master of Education (Physical Education) and member of the Sport Pedagogy group at the University of Limerick. 

Contact:  ORCID   ResearchGate   @acalderon_pe

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