Publication: Turning over a new leaf- PE specialism graduates’ understanding of ‘quality PE’

Research Impact: Perceptions of quality physical education (QPE) can vary among teachers, due to the many discourses influencing physical education (PE) provision. There are concerns that the educative purposes of PE are not being fulfilled in its current state. This study aims to investigate primary PE specialism graduates’ (PESGs’) understanding of QPE, and how these views were shaped. Eleven semi-structured interviews were carried out with PESGs, guided by preceding survey findings and wider research on teacher socialisation. Interviewee-aided sociograms encouraged participants to reflect on prior experiences and direct interview content, engaging in ‘autobiographical self-thematisation’. Findings suggest that professional socialisation through the PE specialism shaped teaching-oriented views of QPE among PESGs. Engagement with sport and the PE specialism were identified as significant influences in their view of QPE. Opportunities to reflect on prior experiences during the specialism supported PESGs to overcome coaching orientations and develop teaching-oriented views of PE. PESGs believe that QPE should provide the foundations for children’s continued engagement in physical activity. These foundations include the development of fundamental movement skills through a broad and balanced curriculum. By planning enjoyable learning opportunities based on children’s needs, PESGs feel the goals of QPE can be achieved.

Brennan, C., Murtagh, E. and Bowles, R., 2023. Turning over a new leaf: PE specialism graduates’ understanding of ‘quality PE’. Irish Educational Studies, pp.1-18. DOI:

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