Advances in Physical Education
2013. Vol.3, No.2, 98-102
Published Online May 2013 in SciRes (
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
Student’s Dynamics of Didactic Competence during the
“Internship of Preparation for Professional Life” in Physical
Education and Sports. Evolution of Pre and Post Active Planning
Nabila Bennour1, Makram Zghibi2, Sheima Jayari3, Najmeddine Ouessleti4
1UMR EFTS Mirail University of Toulouse II, Toulouse II, France
2University of Franche-Comté, Besançon, France
3Université of Tunis, T u n is , Tunisia
4Higher Institute of Sports and Physical E d uc a t io n , K e f, Tunisia
Email: nabilabennour2
Received February 13th, 2013; revised March 14th, 2013; accepted March 28th, 2013
Copyright © 2013 Nabila Bennour et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons
Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the
original work is properly cited.
This study encourages decision making in the field of university training of Physical Education and Sports
teachers. It consists in observing and analysing the evolution of pre and post active planning of intern
students and identifying their didactic competence during the internship period. Following a qualitative
approach a corpus of seventy-two documents prepared by six intern students at the Higher Institute of
Sports and Physical Education (ISSEP) in Kef was analyzed. The analysis of these document is based on
“guiding questions” constructed from the normative didactic. The analysis of the data allowed inferences
about the didactic competence observed. Case analysis and multi-case analysis revealed a static trend in
the evolution of specific competence in planning. The appearance of recurrent difficulties in some specific
competence reveals the thesis of a “survival strategy” developed by intern students. The in-depth analysis
of the preparations also revealed an ineluctable effect of “pedagogy by objectives” on the logic and nature
of planning and balance sheets of lessons developed. In addition, the study refutes the hypothesis of the
suspected effect of the internal logic of sports activities on the nature of planning and unveils a “tradi-
tional” conception of teaching physical education.
Keywords: Professional Competence; Didactic Competences; Planning
The teacher’s training of Physical Education and Sports pro-
vided by the Tunisian ISSEP is characterized by a double pro-
file: it has both an academic character and a practical profes-
sional character. Practical teaching is assured mainly during the
second cycle of training and it takes place in schools as a course
called “internship of preparation for professional life” (Decree
No. 2006-591 on 1 March 2006). During this internship, intern
students are expected to acquire a bundle of disciplinary, peda-
gogical and didactic competence deemed necessary for their
future teaching role (Desbiens, Borges, & Spallanzani, 2009).
However, in practices, many trainers and inspectors noted
that under the constraints of real class context questions of what
to teach and how to organize and plan are relegated to second
place ceding place to more vital and heavy concerns for the
students, namely the material and human organization, the
classroom control and time management.
Now, several researchers (Amade-Escot, 1989; Marsenach,
Dhellemmes, Goirand, Lebas, Léziart, Latch, Roche, & Roussel,
1991) suggest that the control of all the aspects of the real
situation happens in large part by a good organization of teach-
ing content and a good planning. The latter is understood in the
context of our research as a cognitive activity organization
related to the activity of preparing lessons. It characterizes,
according to Tochon (1993), the anticipation activity of the
teacher during the pre-active phase and regulatory activity dur-
ing the post active phase.
Therefore, we found it interesting to observe more closely
the process of acquiring didactic competence taking place dur-
ing the internship. We decided to study the evolution of didac-
tic competence required in the preparation of teaching se-
quences through the analysis of the students’ prepared lessons.
This clearly shows our interest in didactic competence that is
involved in planning and which is defined as “the dominant
phase of the teacher activity” (Riff & Durand, 1993).
Through this qualitative and descriptive study, we hope to
clarify the real effect of the “internship of preparation for pro-
fessional life” on the acquisition of some didactic competence
which is primarily related to the axis “teacher knowledge”.
Indeed, the didactic intervention is strongly linked to compe-
tence related to the construction and progression of learning
situations and the elaboration of the lessons balance sheets.
Aims and Research Questions
This research encourages decision making in the field of
university training of Physical Education and Sports. It has
mainly a social function that manifests itself in the role of
reading the reality to inform us of the knowledge (competence)
with which we must equip intern students and eventually in the
absence of official texts governing the content of the internship
to invite us to reflect on the establishment of a training project
to promote the acquisition of such competence. This research
aims to analyze how intern students organize the motor situa-
tions in relation to the different physical and sport activities
taught (gymnastics, volleyball, athletics, etc.) but also how
these students develop their lesson balance sheets. We expect
therefore to identify the difficulties encountered in their plan-
ning activity and to reveal some gaps ignored by the trainers.
Our research is organized in an effort to improve and evaluate
the internship suggesting some improvement and monitoring of
the internship which can be set up in initial training.
The research aims to answer three basic questions. The first
is related to the evolution of the acquisition of didactic compe-
tence among intern students. The second concerns the pro-
gresses made by these students as to the third it is related to the
persisting difficulties.
We opted for a qualitative approach (Miles & Huberman,
1991). We thus conducted a documentary analysis of a case
study and a subsequent multi-case study.
The case study was conducted on six students, three from
each sex registered in the fourth year Master of Physical Edu-
cation and Sports in the ISSEP of Kef and followers of an in-
ternship at four different host institutions. For each student we
coded the name by these initials: BM, BN, CW, GH, GI and JB.
We selected twelve documents which were numbered accord-
ing to their appearance in the cycle: six documents for lesson
preparation with their six respectives balances sheets that have
learning objectives.
The content analysis of the participants’ production is based
on guiding questions developed from a synthesis of many kinds
of didactic competence defined in the conceptual framework
(both from the didactic scientific and normative references) as a
qualitative indicators of both selected didactic competence:
planning of motors situations and elaboration of balance sheets
lessons. The analysis of the data allowed inferences about di-
dactic competence observed.
We opted for descriptive matrixes (Lessard-Hébert, Goyette,
& Boutin, 1996). Two levels of condensation were carried out.
At a first level of data condensation, lesson by lesson, ma-
trixes correspond to checklists that break the variables of the
study in several indicators. For each intern student and for each
document, data coding from a content analysis takes the form
of a table with two variables to consider: planning of motors
situations and elaboratio n of balance sheets lessons.
The used methodology consists in analyzing the content of
the collected planning documents. For each lesson, we identi-
fied three headings that seem a necessary safeguard to ensure
coherence of the analysis:
Guiding questions are presented as a tool for data querying.
The facts are presented as variable inferences. They are
answers from the findings.
The inference, as stated by Bardin, is a “logical operation,
in which we admit a proposal by virtue of its connection
with other proposals already held to be true” (1996: p. 43).
It is a term to describe induction fr o m facts .
Data condensation matrixes are presented in Table 1.
At a second level of data condensation, the procedure con-
sists in assembling for each student the most significant traits of
planning motor situations and elaborating balance sheets lesson.
This second level is presented as chronological matrix. It aims
at summarizing, lesson by lesson, the inferences made from the
first level of data condensation by highlighting the salient traits
of the didactic competence of pre active planning (motors situa-
tions) and post active one (balance sheets of lessons). From this
inferential analysis we will make the evolutions, the breaks and
the stabilities of the studied sub-competence.
The presentation of results concerns students as demon-
strat ed by Table 2.
At the level of the case study, graphic representations are
made in order to assess general trends in the evolution of
sub-competence during the lessons for each of the cases studied.
We accounted the sub-competence manifestations as positive
responses in one series and the absence of sub-competence
manifestations as negative responses in a second one.
At the level of multi-case studies, a general graphic repre-
sentation combines the responses of the six participants to the
eight sub-competences in all scheduled lessons. The positive
and negative responses were summed and converted to a per-
From the sub-competence inferences, we have observed and
Table 1.
Descriptive matrix of data condensation.
Guiding quest io ns Establishing facts Inferences
Are selected Ed ucational objectives relevant to the lesson objectives?
Are constructive tasks consisten t with the fixed educational goals?
Is there coherence between the observed tasks at different moments of the lesson?
Are motor situations inscribed in a progression?
Is the time allocated to each task proportional to its difficulty?
Planning motors
Do the proposed tasks take int o account the variables of regulations?
Is there a finding and interpretation of the o b st acles encountered by students
during the lesson? Are the y taken into con sideration in the next lesson?
Elaboration of
balance sheets Are findings, i n t erpretations, and perspectives related to the following areas: lea rn i ng activities ,
didactic path and the relationship between teacher/student?
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. 99
Table 2.
Chronological matrix of data condensation.
Guiding quest io ns Inferences summaries
Lesson 1
Lesson 2
Lesson 3
Lesson 4
Lesson 5
Question 1
Lesson 6
Question 2
Question 3
Question 4
Question 5
Question 6
Planning motos situations
Lesson 2
Lesson 3
Lesson 4
Lesson 5
Question 1
Lesson 6
Question 2
Elaboration of balance sheets
commented on the evolutions case by case, then in a second
time, a multi-case comparison. These two sources of informa-
tion have enabled general trends that had been analyzed in
depth to identify and address the observed progresses and the
recurrent difficulties. All of these results have led to a more
global vision and made inferences about the internship effect.
Case Analysis
To understand the dynamic of sub-competence in the plan-
ning of each studied case, our observation focused on the pres-
ence or absence of manifestation of sub-competence involved
and their respective proportions in all the documents selected
for analysis.
In the BM case, we noticed that the sub-competence mani-
festation increased in a linear way until the sixth lesson. A
break of that dynamic appeared at the seventh lesson
through a qualitative leap at the ninth lesson. Note, however,
that the maximum threshold according to BM did not ex-
ceed five sub-competences of the eight expected.
In the case of BN we noted a constant absence of sub-
competence manifestation. During lessons 7 and 12, we as-
sisted to a progression that remains insufficient referring to
the very small number of the manifested sub-competence.
In the case of CW, GI, GH and JB, we found a chaotic,
weak and irregular evolution of the sub-competence mani-
Multi-Case Analysis
The analysis showed a real evolution in manifestation of a
considerable number of sub-competences according to BM. The
regularity and the importance of this evolution are not identi-
fied in the remaining cases. CW presents a less pronounced
evolution, with a threshold of appearance around three of eight
sub-competences per lesson. JB and GH have similar tracings
that do never exceed two of eight sub-competences. Compared
to BM, their evolutions prove to be insignificant. GI and BN do
not manifest any evolution.
As shown in Figure 1, the best manifestation of sub-com-
petence was recorded for BM with 46%, followed by a fairly
large difference for CW with 29%, 21% for GH and JB with
17%. GI and BN have planning that do not express the expected
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
Figure 1.
Proportions of res ponses in all cases and les s o n s a n alyzed.
The general graphic representation below shows a reduced
gap between positive and negative responses according to BM.
This gap is more pronounced in other cases and goes up to 86%
according to BN.
Observed Progress and Recurrent Difficulties
The difficulty of finding a general common trend summariz-
ing the evolution of six studied cases leads us to a deep analysis
of the revealed evolutions. So we studied the progress and the
observed difficulties for each sub-competence.
The achieved progress is observed in four sub-competences:
the consistency of the warm-up, the relevance of objectives, the
coherence of tasks and the progressivity of situations. Recur-
ring difficulties resulting from a lack of progress are identified,
in the sub-competence related to the consistency of the return to
calm, the proportionality of time, the regulation of tasks, and
the elaboration of balance sheet lessons.
Case analysis and multi-case analysis revealed a static trend
in the evolution of specific competence in planning for the ma-
jority of participants (five out of six students). In fact only one
case presented a partial evolution in a limited number of spe-
cific competence. The absence of a clear evolution and the
stagnation of planning quality and balance sheets help to doubt
or to question the systematic positive effects of internship on
the acquisition and evolution of specific competence related to
the planning and elaborating of balance sheets lessons. The
appearance of recurrent difficulties in some sub-competence
supports the thesis of a “survival strategy” developed by the
intern student which consists to promote the furnishing of
preparations by learning situations regardless of their learning
effects and consistent teaching and which ultimate objective is
to deliver a content around which the lesson turns.
As trying to understand these results from the research data,
we adopted two interpretative hypotheses, one relating to the
content and the other to the learner.
The first interpretative hypothesis is to connect didactical
choices according to the internal logics of the physical and
sport activities. We analyzed the characteristics of prescribed
motor situations and their logical progression depending on the
taught activity. The aim of this analysis is, on the one hand, to
identify the general trends in the choice of situations and their
logical progression, and on the other hand, to examine the pos-
sible effect of the internal logics of the activities on students’
The analysis detects a predominance use of “control objec-
tives” (90%) and a “cumulative logic” (33.33%) in teaching
collective sports, as well as “defined tasks” (65.91%) and
“situations under motors solution” (56.52%) in individual
sports such as gymnastic.
Based on the work of Parlebas and Dugas (1998) on “the in-
ternal logic” of physical and sport activities, on theories sup-
ported by Grehaigne, Caty and Marle (2004) in teaching collec-
tive sports and on the works of Bourgeois (1998) on the internal
logic of gymnastic activities, this predominance seems to con-
tradict the effect of the internal logics of activities on the stu-
dents’ choice.
These choices could be explained by the suspected effect of
the pedagogy by objectives, exclusively centered on the ob-
servable and measurable behavior. The transfer of relevant
learning to the cognitive sphere and the creativity of the emo-
tional are difficult to observe and measure beyond the fact that
they are relegated to a second plan. This pedagogical approach
of physical and sport activities seems to affect the choice of
intern students and contributes to the restriction of their techni-
cal and pedagogical knowledge.
The second interpretative hypothesis is to connect didactical
choices to the students’ conceptions of teaching physical and
sport education. Apart from the certain interest in confronting
some progressive logics to internal logics of physical and sport
activities taught, the logic of tasks progression can be a good
indicator of students’ conceptions of education, the learner and
the activity. Like the inferences made by Amade-Escot (1989)
on the basis of a typology of the motor situations used by
teachers, inference conceptions based on the logics of progres-
sivity used by intern students seems possible. The use of this
indicator in the study of intern student planning is interesting.
The study of different lessons revealed that the trends in stu-
dent’s didactical choices are not random and seem to arise from
a traditional conception of teaching physical education. Indeed,
the conceptions used in the student’s planning belong to a
characteristic teaching model of “the yesterday teaching” de-
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. 101
scribed by Marsenach, Dhellemmes, Goirand, Lebas, Léziart,
Latch, Roche and Roussel (1991).
The planning of intern students is characterized by a formal
conception of teaching content focused on the external form of
actions regardless of their production context. The proposed
content refers to practitioner’s actions of a very high level and
they are offered to pupils regardless of their levels. The didactic
treatment of activities shows essentially a chronological cut of
sportive gestures; each subject makes the object of a specific
learning. The organization of contents seems to be based on the
idea that it is through successive accumulation and juxtaposi-
tion that pupils construct their knowledge. The situations of-
fered to pupils are gridded by success criteria designed to re-
duce the differences between pupils with reference to gestural
The organization of a training action is designed to lead to
acquiring competences indicating the subject's adaptation to the
environment with which it was confronted. Although several
authors (Blanchard-Laville & Nadot, 2001) agree that all kinds
of professional competence constituting a referential could not
be fully acquired at the end of initial training. It is quite legiti-
mate to expect the premises of adaptation that manifest through
reappearance even if it is an irregular competent behavior. This
means in our case a coherent and structured planning. Remind-
ing also that our analysis focused on an average superior than
50% of the planned lessons, which represents a sufficient cor-
pus to draw conclusions about the overall effect of the intern-
ship. We can also say that the internship had little effect on the
acquisition of competence in planning teaching sequences. The
study of workload, procedures and training content during the
internship in a subsequent study could shed new lights on this
provisional finding.
In a remedial perspective, at a final step can be considered
and lead to a didactic engineering research, which aim is to
build proposals for the internship and even design strategies
and principles of training in an attempt to exceed gaps shown
by our research.
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