The ethnography of physical education teachers' beliefs

  • ASAKURA Masashi
    Doctoral Program in Graduated School of Institute of Comprehensive Human Science, University of Tsukuba
  • SHIMIZU Norihiro
    Institute of Comprehensive Human Science, University of Tsukuba

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Other Title
  • 体育教師の信念に関するエスノグラフィー研究


Practitioners involved in management have independent outlooks and subjective viewpoints, and act based on individual knowledge obtained through experience. Physical education teachers typically have roles as sport and physical education management practitioners. The purpose of this article is to describe physical education teachers' ways of looking at and thinking about factors that lead to action, using the concept of belief, and to clarify the meaning of teachers' actions. A belief held by a person, through linkage with other beliefs held by that person, becomes a factor in a belief system. The beliefs found at the core of an individual's belief system are those that are formed and strengthened by experience throughout the person's life. These beliefs, referred to as "central beliefs" in this article, significantly affect the person's actions. In the present survey, two physical education teachers were selected as subjects, and ethnographic descriptions using mainly participant observations and semi-structured interviews were carried out, along with life history descriptions to infer and analyze the subjects' central beliefs. The main results were as follows. The physical education teachers held two kinds of beliefs: beliefs associated with values, corresponding to terminal goals and ideals; and beliefs that promote the teacher's awareness of specific problems. These types of beliefs have different effects on physical education teachers. The former beliefs lead teachers to take action in order to achieve their terminal goals or ideals, while the latter beliefs help teachers to resolve more immediate problems. Sharing value-associated beliefs with co-workers is difficult, and because these beliefs represent goals formed through life experience, the expression of such beliefs may give rise to conflict. In contrast, beliefs on specific subjects are easy to share among co-workers, and thus give a uniform direction to teachers' actions toward the achievement of individual goals. However, with regard to beliefs on specific subjects, physical education teachers often choose not to discuss their values with others in order to avoid expressing their value-based beliefs. Therefore, while the beliefs of physical education teachers related to specific subjects contribute to the superficial integration of their goals, teachers rarely share individual values, principles, and ideals, delaying cooperation and innovation among teachers.


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