Perceptions of the Physical Education Doctoral Experience: Does Previous Teaching Experience Matter?

K. Andrew R. Richards, Gabriella M. Mcloughlin, Karen Lux Gaudreault, Victoria Nicole Shiver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the United States, physical education doctoral programs place great stock in recruiting students who have prior in-service teaching experience. However, little is known about how this experience influences perceptions of doctoral education. We conducted this cross-sectional, exploratory study to develop an initial understanding of how prior teaching experience and gender influence physical education doctoral students’ perspectives of program experiences. Participants included 60 physical education doctoral students (29 females, 31 males) who completed an online survey related to their experiences in doctoral education. Data were analyzed using 2 × 2 factorial ANOVAs, and the differences among study variables based on gender and prior teaching experience were examined. Females without experience had more positive perceptions of their program experiences than did those with experience. These results reinforce the role of prior socialization experiences in framing doctoral program socialization. Further research on the recruitment and education of doctoral students with and without teaching experience is warranted.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)255-281
JournalThe Physical Educator
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • physical education
  • socialization
  • sensemaking
  • doctoral training
  • higher education


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