Moving between theory and practice: preparing early childhood pre-service teachers for teaching physical education

Sevimli Çelik S.

JOURNAL OF EARLY CHILDHOOD TEACHER EDUCATION, vol.42, no.3, pp.281-298, 2021 (ESCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 42 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/10901027.2020.1735588
  • Journal Indexes: Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI), Scopus, EBSCO Education Source, Educational research abstracts (ERA), ERIC (Education Resources Information Center), Psycinfo
  • Page Numbers: pp.281-298
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


The early years of a child's life are critical in supporting their physical development. As a result, early childhood teachers have a profound responsibility and influence on the development of young children's physical skills. However, up to this point, little attention has been placed on the development of early childhood teachers' pedagogical skills for teaching physical education, and in particular, the dearth of training has most often occurred during pre-service teacher education. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the transformation of early childhood pre-service teachers' attitudes and knowledge regarding physical education as well as their readiness for teaching physical education. To conduct this research, 42 pre-service teachers who attended a physical education course, which combined theoretical principles and practical applications, volunteered to participate in this study. The data were collected through pretest and posttest questionnaires, microteaching reflections, and focus group interviews. Also, each participating pre-service teacher taught a physical education lesson to their university peers, revised the lesson, and then repeated the lesson to a kindergarten class of children aged four to five years old. The research findings suggested that pre-service teachers who held negative attitudes regarding physical education, which stemmed from previous physical education experiences, reversed their attitudes after taking part in the practice-based course from this study. However, it was also determined that even though the personal and professional competencies of the pre-service teachers had improved, the practice-based course was insufficient in providing adequate training for the pre-service teachers' readiness to teach physical education.