”Hyvä opettaja. Luokanopettajaopiskelijat liikuntakokemustensa ja opettajuutensa tulkitsijoina” / "A good teacher: Class teacher students’ interpretations of their exercise history and teacher identity".

The purpose of this study was to examine the development of students with different exercise backgrounds during their primary school teacher education, specifically in terms of their identity as teachers and PE teachers. The study is based on a constructivist perception of knowledge and a social constructivist view of learning. The study is narrative and the author’s voice comes through in the study. The author served in a dual role as a researcher and a university teacher for the students..

The study has two parts. The first part comprises an examination of exercise biographies, that is, primary school teacher students’ descriptions of their personal exercise-related experiences (N = 57, a total of 570 A4 pages). These were examined at the beginning of their teacher education. The biographies were analysed in order to identify typical ways of reporting exercise-related experiences (athlete types). The exercise biographies revealed seven athlete types: (1) competitors, (2) hard workers, (3) experience athletes, (4) producers, (5) athletes damaged by exercise, (6) fitness enthusiasts and (7) sportaholics.

The second part of the study was implemented five years later when the students graduated as class teachers. One student representing each athlete type was invited to a personal interview. During the interview, the students talked about their learning experiences during teacher education and their perception of what it means to be a teacher. A narrative analysis showed that the students feel collaborative learning and supervised teaching practice are the best methods for developing teaching skills. They also reported that minor subject studies had provided them with significant insight that helped build their identities as teachers. In the teacher students’ opinion, the most significant challenge in teacher education is linking theoretical studies in educational sciences to practical teaching work as well as the fragmented nature of multidisciplinary studies. Regarding PE teacher skills, the study showed that a student’s athlete type governs his or her approach to PE studies and PE teaching, including personal focus points during exercise, athlete identity, and the objectives of exercise.

The study highlights the diversity of exercise as an experience and the results describe teaching as a cross-disciplinary phenomenon. The study confirms that teacher education needs to accommodate each student’s personality as the foundation of their teacher identity. This study can be used as a tool for promoting students’ self-knowledge of exercise and teaching work.


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City (for University):
University of Jyväskylä