8th Asia Pacific Conference on Exercise and Sports Science 2017
Name: Walter Senevirathne, PhD
Address: Department of Education, Faculty of Arts, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka
Action Research Methodology for Physical Education Teachers’ Professional Learning: A Good Practice from Sri Lankan Experience.
Teacher education and school education have a symbolic relationship. Developments in both these sectors mutually reinforce the concerns necessary for the qualitative improvement of the entire spectrum of education. Therefore, the Department of Education, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka has undertook a major exercise of developing a “Physical Education Teacher Education” (PETE) which is both contextual and in tune with the emerging concerns and imperatives of the fast changing canvas of physical education teacher education both nationally and globally.
The mission of the Department of Education is to develop committed and competent professionals who can withstand future challenges and serve the nation. Meanwhile, the vision of the department is Excellence in Teacher Education, research and creative thinking in Humanities and Social Sciences for the betterment of individuals and society. The Department of Education is the pioneer in the introduction of post graduate diploma in physical Education in Sri Lanka in 2000.The course for the award of a Post Graduate Diploma in Physical Education (PGDPE) is 18 months duration and offered to candidates as a self-financed course during the week ends. The program consists of both theory and practical components. Field experiences are take place in three settings-elementary, secondary or college level (college here refers to any institution at tertiary level). Students who are concurrently employed as physical education teachers could use their own schools as field sites; other students will be assigned to other sites by the Department. The students will remain in the field for exactly ten weeks (at least 5 hours per day) and they will be subjected to supervision and assessment by two supervisors appointed by the Department. With parallel to teaching practice component every student should conduct action research project and it is compulsory for all students following this course. The action research should be in the format of the part dissertation in the present Post Graduate Diploma in Education Course. The Department has been provide the guidelines and a supervisor is assigned for the supervision of the research project.
This action research methodology has been practice from 2000 and now it has identified as a good practice in teacher professional learning in physical education teacher education program in this context. The action research is a process of systematic reflection, enquiry and action carried out by individuals about their own professional practice (Frost, 2002).Action research is usually describe as cyclic, with action and critical reflection taking place in turn. The reflection is used to review the previous action and plan the next one (Dick, 1997).Why we undertook action research methodology in this postgraduate diploma in physical education program? Because of that teachers should be “reflective practitioners” or should engage in “reflective practice” .This raises the issue of the relationships that exist between educational theory and practice.
It had been identified various good practices though the implementation of action research methodology in PGDPE program in Sri Lanka. Physical education (PE)teachers are concern with studying their own practices and action research provides an excellent medium for this to take place, action research enables practitioners to explore relationship between theory and practice, emphasis on the importance of practitioners undertaking their own research studies, a move towards developing physical education teaching as a research-based profession, can have a beneficial impact both on school improvement and on the professional development of PE teachers in Sri Lanka.