Southern California Elementary Physical Education Specialists and Non- Specialists
Beliefs and Behaviors of the Ideal Purpose and Actual Function of Elementary Physical Education
This study explored the beliefs and behaviors of elementary physical education providers in California relative to the purpose and function of elementary physical education. Research on these types of beliefs and behaviors is important because of the implications on physical education programs conducted in the elementary schools. Properly implemented physical education has been demonstrated to have a positive impact on the fitness levels and motor skill development of students, and such education may lead to the habituation of lifelong physical activity. Randomly selected teachers in southern California school districts completed a three-part questionnaire assessing their beliefs and behaviors regarding the ideal purpose and actual function of elementary physical education. Results of this study indicate that participants were aware of the importance of physical education, but overall, failed to exhibit behaviors that matched their beliefs. These results are pertinent because, in many school districts, primarily nonspecialists will be providing physical education instruction at the elementary level. Understanding the beliefs of non-specialists will help university teacher education programs identify programmatic changes to better prepare elementary school teachers.