Education Observatory

Research in Education at the University of Wolverhampton

The factors influencing two primary teachers’ interpretation of games

New published academic research by Kumar Jayantilal and Nick O’Leary


Research studies investigating the occupational socialization of primary teachers delivering physical education has been conspicuous by its absence (O’Leary, 2019). Using Lawson’s (1986) theoretical framework, this study examined two primary teachers’ interpretation of games and the socialising factors influencing their pedagogical games practices. Data were collected using semi-structured interviews and analysed inductively. Three themes appeared around both teachers’ games perspectives: an emphasis on technical learning, a differing use in teaching styles and a contrasting focus on strategical and tactical understanding. A variety of factors influenced these beliefs: negative childhood experiences of physical education, an innovative higher education degree, a continuous professional development course, a physical education planning scheme and the needs of the pupils. It was recommended that practitioners could engage in continuous professional development that develops their strategical and tactical subject knowledge. Furthermore, to complement such courses, teachers could pursue informal learning and utilise communities of practices. Finally, teachers could undertake action research.