Being an early-career teacher-researcher in physical education: A narrative inquiry

Vincent Coleman*, Shirley Gray, Sarah MacIsaac

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

This paper describes my practitioner inquiry as a newly qualified teacher, initially used as a form of teacher learning, but ultimately became the reason I remained in the physical education (PE) teaching profession. In Scotland, early-career PE teachers are encouraged to embody the role of teacher–researcher and pursue Career-Long Professional Learning (CLPL) opportunities that nourish creative and enquiring dispositions. However, it is also understood that failure to integrate into political school structures, successfully managing workload and relationships, negotiating curricular content and aims and becoming a competent classroom manager can lead to dissatisfaction and attrition. Supported by critical friends, I use narrative inquiry to explore the contexts and people that shaped my learning during my initial years in the profession and factors contributing to my professional teaching identity. Through this process, I began to understand my professional knowledge landscape as an arena of contested stories that bump, intertwine and converge. This understanding was important for me to feel comfortable as a teacher–researcher and in my decision to remain in the profession. These findings reflect the capacity for growth inherent in a narrative understanding of experience and potential for sustaining PE teacher–researcher identities via research-based practitioner inquiry. Those within Physical Education Teacher Education (PETE) should consider the application of narrative identity work to encourage early-career PE teachers to reflect on the personal, social, and contextual aspects of identity construction in their lives, with the hope they can effectively navigate the shifting landscape of twenty-first century PE.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCurriculum Studies in Health and Physical Education
Early online date18 Oct 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Oct 2021

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • identity
  • teacher-researcher
  • teacher learning
  • narrative inquiry
  • narrative identity


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