Promoting student ownership in a non-traditional physical education teacher education internship course

Jaimie M. McMullen, Hans Van Der Mars, Julie A. Jahn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: Recently in education, the idea of promoting student ownership has emerged as a means of authentically engaging students in their own learning. Providing them with ownership over their experiences can lead to students making a greater connection with what they are learning. In teacher education, student ownership takes the form of education belonging to the students rather than a 'service' that professors are providing to them.Purpose: The experiences of pre-service teachers were explored to determine the extent to which a course taught using a social constructivist framework fostered a sense of ownership over the course content and organization.Context of the study: The inquiry took place within the context of a non-traditional, elective internship course in a physical education teacher education (PETE) program.Data collection: Data were collected using several different methods including interview, participant observation, and document analysis.Data analysis: Data were analyzed inductively using interpretive methods. Assertions were made based on interpretation of the data associated with the most prominent theme.Findings: The idea of ownership emerged as a prominent theme across data sources and most often emerged when interns discussed the nature of the course, and their relationships with their peers. Interpretation of the various data sources yielded the following assertions: (1) increased ownership was fostered through the nature of the course and the way it was taught, and (2) the development of a team or group atmosphere encouraged feelings of ownership among the interns.Discussion: Although hesitant at first, the interns came to enjoy the fact that the course instructor gave them the freedom to make decisions, and have in-depth discussions. In addition, they appreciated the interdependence that they developed with their peers. Consequently, they described this as being fundamentally different from all of their other PETE-related courses. The interns were able to bridge a gap from being passive participants of their education to active learners in an authentic teaching and learning process. Closely tied to this is previous research of social constructivism with respect to teaching and learning.Implications: These findings are significant because strategies have been identified that could lead to increased ownership of pre-service teachers' learning. These strategies can assist in the preparation of quality Physical Educators who are increasingly engaged, and proactive in the profession.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)337-348
Number of pages12
JournalPhysical Education and Sport Pedagogy
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2014


  • field experience
  • ownership
  • physical education teacher education
  • pre-service teachers
  • social constructivism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Education
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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