Physical education teachers' self-reported communication of content relevance
Communicating how class content can satisfy students’ personal interests and goals—referred to as content relevance—is an important teaching behavior that has been linked to numerous indices of student success in school. However, no known studies have examined teachers’ communication of content relevance in K-12 physical education. The purpose of this study was two-fold: (a) to determine the extent to which physical education teachers report communicating content relevance, based on their status as either elementary or secondary teachers, years of teaching experience (< 5 years vs. >10 years) and level of expertise (expert vs. novice), and (b) to identify ways in which the teachers apply this communication behavior when teaching. One hundred and three K-12 physical education teachers attending a state physical education convention were surveyed using an established scale from classroom research. Additionally, participants provided written examples of how they communicated content relevance in their physical education classes. Between-group differences in self-reported communication behavior were analyzed using three separate one-way Analyses of Variance (ANOVA). The teachers’ examples were categorized and organized into themes. Results indicated the only factor accounting for significant differences in teacher communication was teacher expertise, with experts reporting higher frequency of using content relevance strategies than novices. Themes identified in the teachers’ examples served to illustrate multiple ways relevance can be infused into physical education instruction.