An examination of the induction experiences of beginning physical education teachers regarding their self-perceptions of teaching efficacy and the role and effectiveness of their mentor
Beginning physical education teachers’ perceptions of their induction experiences are formed through a combination of personal attributes and the social context of their teaching environment. Organizational socialization theory has been used to identify the unique induction experiences of beginning physical education teachers, while self-efficacy theory helps to explain the sources that may influence beginning teacher efficacy. The mentoring literature examined as a form of induction assistance has provided limited understanding of the role and effectiveness of a mentor within a physical education setting. This qualitative study used in-depth interview techniques to explore the perceptions of 12 beginning physical education teachers regarding their socialization into teaching, their perceptions of the usefulness and effectiveness of their mentors, and the factors that influenced their teaching efficacy in their beginning years. Four mentors were interviewed regarding their perceptions of the role and effectiveness as a mentor. The beginning teacher and mentor data were analyzed through inductive content analyses. The results revealed that beginning teacher induction was comprised of four higher order themes labeled beginning Beginning Teacher Identity, Learning Your Role and Responsibilities, the Uniqueness of Becoming a Physical Education Teacher, and Sources of Teaching Efficacy. The higher order theme of Beginning Teacher Identity included the lower order themes of Personal Attributes and Teaching Behaviors. The higher order theme of Learning Your Teaching Role and Responsibilities included Previous Training, On The Job Training, and Mentor/Supervisor Assistance. The higher order theme of Uniqueness of a Beginning Physical Education Teacher included School Culture and School Environment. The Sources of Teaching Efficacy higher order theme included the lower order themes of Mastery Experiences, Verbal Encouragement, Physical Demands, and Modeling. The mentor data analysis produced the higher order themes of Role of a Mentor which included providing both emotional and informational support. The higher order theme labeled Mentoring Effectiveness included M entors’ Content Area, Time Availability, and Training. Practical implications include the potential need to address the mentor selection based on content area. Recommendations include improving the selection and training of mentors as well as offering pedagogical support to the beginning teachers along with social and informational support.