Imagining a way to assist physical educators


Teacher effectiveness has a positive influence on student achievement and learning (Heck, 2009). Consequently, there is considerable value in better understanding the potential skills that can help make teachers more effective. For physical educators, it has been suggested that strategic use of mental imagery could be associated with teacher effectiveness (Hall, 2012) but minimal research has examined this with the general PE teacher population. This study investigated PE teacher's perceptions and use of imagery as part of teaching. Furthermore, this study sought to establish possible associations between PE teacher characteristics (e.g., grade level taught; years experience; gender; teacher education) and teacher's use of imagery. A total of 150 Canadian PE teachers (76 male, 70 female, 4 undeclared; M years-experience = 12.9) completed the Imagery Use by PE Teachers Survey. The survey focused on PE teacher's perceived frequency of imagery use based around common teaching behaviours (e.g., planning; assessment; skill development). Results demonstrated that the majority of teachers (68.5%) believed imagery was extremely important as an aid for performing various teaching behaviours, with the largest number of teachers (n=125) indicating they use imagery to help teach specific physical skills, and also for personal reflection (n=108). Yet, 78.5% of teachers reported most commonly using imagery prior to delivering a lesson. Teaching experience and education were both found to be significantly associated with imagery use perceptions of PE teachers. These findings suggest that imagery is a skill PE teachers are employing, however not all PE teachers use it equally or for the same purposes.

Acknowledgments: University of Winnipeg Major Research Grant