Preservice teachers perspectives and experiences teaching personal and social responsibility

K. Andrew R. Richards, Jennifer M. Jacobs, Victoria Nicole Ivy, Michael A. Lawson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Pedagogical models have become an established component of physical education over the past several decades. One such model, the Teaching Personal and Social Responsibility model, has gained momentum in practice and research, though little is known regarding its use in preservice teacher training. The model follows a flexible format focused on teaching life skills (e.g. leadership) that can be applied in all lived ecologies. Occupational socialization theory provides insight into the pretraining and teacher education experiences of preservice teachers that shape their understanding and practice of physical education and associated pedagogical models. Aims: The purpose of this study was to understand the influence of a sequence of methods courses and early field experiences on U.S. preservice teachers’ understanding and implementation of the teaching personal and social responsibility model with youth from a community affected by poverty. Method: This study took on a phenomenological and social constructivist approach. Ten preservice teachers (9 males, 1 female) took part in the study. The participants were an average age of 22.10 years old (SD = 4.38) and seven identified as White and three as Black. Each participant was enrolled in methods and early field experience coursework that provided scaffolded training in primary education in a community affected by poverty. Preservice teachers team-taught groups of 10–15 children twice a week along with one day committed to on-campus reflection. Data collection included autobiographical essays, critical incident reports, reflective journals, non-participatory observations and field notes, and semi-structured interviews. Data were analyzed deductively through the lens of occupational socialization theory, and inductively as theory divergent trends were sought. Open and axial coding was completed with member checking throughout, resulting in a final set of themes and subthemes. Findings: The preservice teachers initially struggled to connect with their students due to conflicting backgrounds, but the teaching personal and social responsibility model guided the relationship-building process. As the model was continuously utilized, more empathy and care were shown towards the children. Preservice teachers felt there was a lack of progression in positive behaviors but were able to empower youth and felt that the model was culturally relevant. Overtime, the students began to appreciate the affective domain despite the challenge of working in a community affected by poverty through frustration towards the larger system limiting any potential progress was present. Conclusions: Subjective theories transitioned to include relationship building and life skills learning, likely because of the extended field experience and faculty support. The preservice teachers desire to connect with and teach the students well displays the connection between models-based practice and positive relationships. Preservice teachers’ knowledge of their students was limited as it was based on secondhand knowledge of youth, teacher educators, and school staff. Evidence indicates some cultural responsiveness development though there were also elements of a deficit model due to white privilege and class differences. Further work explicitly integrating a culturally relevant approach and social justice in teacher education programming should occur.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)188-200
Number of pages13
JournalPhysical Education and Sport Pedagogy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 3 2020


  • Physical education
  • afterschool programs
  • models-based practice
  • occupational socialization theory
  • teacher education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Education
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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