Challenging pre-service teacher habitus: A self-study of unit design in teacher education

John Williams, Alan Ovens

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The purpose of our paper was to examine how John, the lead author, attempted to bridge the reality-congruence gap between how his Health and Physical Education (HPE) pre-service teachers (PSTs) knew HPE, before commencing the undergraduate unit (subject) central to this paper and how we know contemporary HPE as teacher educators. Here we use reality congruence according to its figurational sociology meaning as “the knowledge of it that is possible” (Giovannini, 2015, n.p.). The “it that is possible,” is the broad disciplinary knowledge necessary for teaching HPE contemporarily, that both authors have acquired over many years. A self-study approach was adopted, using Norbert Elias’s figurational sociology to deductively analyse John’s practice in teaching the reported unit. We used a two-phase approach, with phase one being an exploration of John’s experience of unit design and phase 2 examining John’s assumptions about his practice and his students. We found that John’s approaches were effective in influencing his students to learn and value reality-congruent HPE. Supporting qualitative student satisfaction data suggested many HPE-PSTs valued the teaching approaches John used, which also aligned with their learning preferences. Through planning teacher education curriculum content that challenges traditional notions of PE in particular, it is possible for teacher educators to influence HPE-PSTs towards learning and embracing more reality congruent HPE.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalCurriculum Perspectives
Publication statusPublished - 20 Mar 2024


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