Since the field of Physical Education carries a broader role of physical activity promotion, it is important for Physical Educators to take leadership roles in Comprehensive School Physical Activity Programs (CSPAP) in schools. Hence, it has been emphasized that Physical Education Teacher Education (PETE) programs may need to prepare PETE majors adequately to promote physical activity beyond quality Physical Education programs in schools. The purpose of this study was to explore the current extent of CSPAP preparation in PETE programs (e.g., curricula and practices).
The first phase of this study comprised a nationwide survey study on PETE programs’ curriculum and experiences for CSPAP implementation. A total of 144 programs completed the online survey about curriculum and learning experiences for the CSPAP components. Descriptive statistics, frequency analysis, chi-square statistics, and analysis of variance were used to analyze data. Findings indicated that 107 of 144 PETE programs (74.3%) had no learning experiences for CSPAP. The prevalent type of learning experiences was incorporating CSPAP components in the existing courses. Field experiences were not frequently used for CSPAP preparation. PETE personnel expressed the utility of field experiences as an ideal CSPAP learning experience.
The second phase of this study addressed PETE majors’ perceptions and learning experiences related to CSPAP in PETE programs. Fourteen PETE students from six programs participated in this study and shared their experiences in PETE programs. Data were collected through a short survey, one formal interview, field images, document gathering, and a follow-up survey. Descriptive statistics, constant comparison, and analytic induction techniques were used to analyze the data. Evidence from interviews, photos, and documents revealed three common themes: a) introducing CSPAP through courses, (b) lacking programmatic experiences in CSPAP implementation (i.e., practice doing it), and (c) interpersonal skills (e.g., communication or cooperation) as a key for CSPAP but limited preparation. Participants’ perception of the role of Physical Educators as physical activity directors evolved during their training.
Expanding existing courses for CSPAP preparation would be a feasible way to introduce CSPAP framework. Additional efforts to include hands-on learning experiences for all CSPAP components in PETE programs should be made.