2013. Vol.4, No.7A2, 158-164
Published Online July 2013 in SciRes (http://www.scirp.org/journal/ce) http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/ce.2013.47A2020
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
Teachers’ Thought Processes: The Case of Tunisian
Gymnastic University Teachers
1High Institute of Sport and Physical Education, Ksar Saîd, University la Manouba, UMA, Tunis, Tunisia
2Tunisian Research Laboratory Sport Performance Optimization, Tunis, Tunisia
Received May 27th, 2013; revised June 28th, 2013; accepted July 5th, 2013
Copyright © 2013 Naila Bali. 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.
Teacher’s behaviour is substantially influenced and even determined by teachers’ thought processes. Sev-
eral studies concerning effectiveness in physical education have analysed various topics such as student
engagement, curriculum time allocation, teaching methods, teacher behaviour, and teacher perceptions.
However, these investigations have not applied the classroom research findings identified by other re-
searchers. Firstly, this study explains the implied thoughts of the explained Tunisian Gymnastic Univer-
sity Teachers (TGUT) to teach gymnastics learning processes by analyzing their thought processes. Sec-
ondly, we included the analysis of the connection, interaction and relationship between the three topics
reviewed. Thirdly, we identified and analyzed the difference between different Tunisian physical educa-
tional teachers’ thoughts and its influence on their didactical practice intervention. Data were collected
during 4 months of observations and interviews with six TGUT at the high institute of sport and physical
education (ISSEP) in Tunisia. They all teach not mixed class in Level1 (first year, BAC + 1). These inter-
views were semi structured (40 minutes each) and gave teachers the opportunity to share their perspec-
tives on broad topics such as education, teaching, and society, and also on more succinct topics such as
individual students and situations that had occurred in previous lessons. The data were analyzed using
constant comparison. Three topics emerged illustrate how the teachers’ thinking influenced their selecting,
ordering, and formulating of curriculum units, their didactic and pedagogical manoeuvring during lessons.
This study revealed three major conceptions used by TGUT: 1) Teaching based on pedagogical concep-
tions (7.20%), 2) Teaching based on sciences (17.42%), and 3) Teaching based on means and practices
(75.37%). A number of themes emerged from the analysis of each case, aside to the contextualised re-
sponses of individuals. The perception of the TGUT had two consequences: 1) a didactic consequence;
the TGUT plan activities that will assist students in developing only physical skills, 2) the legitimacy of
the contributory sciences in training programs for student teachers of physical education (PE). Basis on
this argument, we might reasonably ask what might be done to address this problem. The issues discussed
in this paper will encourage teachers to reflect on their own teaching beliefs and practices and to include
them in the process of planning and teaching effectiveness.
Keywords: Implied Thinking; Teachers University; Gymnastic; Didactic Intervention
There is a general agreement that shaping competences is the
aim of the teaching effectiveness (Day et al., 1999). Profes-
sional standards will be reflected in many aspects of teaching—
for example, by the degree of knowledge and skills demon-
strated in teaching, by the extent to which the lessons reflect
careful planning, and by the extent to which control teachers
emotions in the classroom. An important aspect of a successful
lesson is the extent to which teachers able to create a positive
environment for learning. However, many factors influence the
teaching effectiveness in classroom such as the teacher’s didac-
tic action and the teacher’s taught process. The relationship
between the teachers’ behaviour and students is mutual and
affects the influence of transmission and acquisition of content.
Teachers refer to ways in which arrange both the physical and
social dimensions of the class in order to provide a supportive
environment for teaching and learning (Wright, 2005). The
teaching profession places one large external requirement on
decisions that teachers have to make quickly, in isolation, and
usually in varied situation. These demands put teachers in the
practicability and intuition’s position as indispensable resources
to survive in the profession. So, these demands favour the im-
provement of beliefs about what do work and not in a class-
room. At the same time, it seems that teachers generate their
own beliefs about how to teach in their school years and these
beliefs are perpetuated in their teaching practice. Thus, educa-
tional beliefs are passed on to the students (Handal, 2003).
Clark et al. (1997) summarized and synthesized the teachers’
thought processes, they said in 1986 that “Even though the
work of researcher is no guided by the desire to prescribe the
teachers a good way of thinking because they don’t need but
it’s very important and necessary to inform them of what passes
in their head might be useful” (Clark & Lambert, 1986). In this
context, several authors in science of education have tried to
define the nature of teaching and knowledge useful to teachers
to teach well (Gauthier, 1997). Beliefs about Teaching and
learning do not always directly be translated into teaching prac-
tices (Hativa et al., 2001; Mellado, 1998; Murray & MacDonald,
1997; Simmons et al., 1999). In this line Grossman (1990)
stated that beliefs represent a “conceptual map for instructional
decision making” (p. 86) and Pajares (1992) asserted that
modifying teachers’ beliefs about teaching and learning is pre-
requisite to changing teachers’ practices. Four major headings
were organised in the literature such as teacher planning, teach-
ers’ interactive thoughts and decisions, teachers’ attributions,
and teachers’ implicit theories. Indeed, the principal idea ex-
pressed by American researchers as Knowledge base and treat-
ment of different concepts for teachers in this literature (i.e.
Anglo-Saxon education research) researches attribute a domi-
nant place for this. In 1990, a new paradigm was discovered in
French literature: “pensée implicates” what designed “implied
thinking” which suggests not imposing on the teachers of the
outside education rules (as it is often the case in the training
courses). The first article deals with the “teachers implied
thinking concept”, by the Canadian researcher Tochon, in 1993
this concept was confirmed by Gauthier’s theory in 1997.
However, critics go well beyond Schön’s (1983) criticisms of
technical rationality, because the problems they identify, the
lack of care compassion, and passion in actions, can also be a
problem in the epistemology of practice that Schön proposes as
the new paradigm for conceptualizing reflective practice. Sev-
eral efforts have been made to identify the major traditions of
practice in teacher education either in particular countries or
more generally. These include analyses by Kirk (1986) in Aus-
tralia by Harnett and Naish (1980) in the UK and by Feiman-
Nemser (1990) in the US. It is an indication of the newness of
this field that most of the work has been done since 1976.
In Tunisia few studies have reported this paradigm. In this
context, we identified only one thesis by Jlidi (2001), other
same paradigm carried out by Ben Abderrahman, (2005) in a
precedent study specially on a thesis we related this paradigm
in physical education (Bali, 2010). Until now, no study exam-
ined the insufficiency and the increasing complexity of the
subject matter of teacher thinking research coupled with the
relevance and timeliness of this topic. For purely practical rea-
sons, we argue and we encourage working on the implied
thoughts on physical activity teachers and especially on Tuni-
sian gymnastics teachers.
First, permission was granted by the University Institutional
Review Board, Tunisian Ministry of sports, Principals of ISSEP
and gymnastic teachers to conduct the current study. Next, the
researcher visited PE classes, explained steps of the study and
video recording process to the teachers and the students, the
confidentiality of video recording, and supervised/answered
In this empirical study, teachers’ thinking is studied in dif-
ferent contexts. Firstly, we analysed the teachers’ thought proc-
esses of the TGUT. We used a sample consisting of 06 TGUT
at ISSEP in Tunisia. These TGUT were teaching not mixed
class Level1 (first year, BAC + 1). We had chosen this level for
two reasons: the students had the same level at the first year at
university and to compare result with other previous research
The participants in this empirical study (Table 1) were six
volunteer TGUT of the total of twelve solicited TGUT worked
in high institutes of sports and physical education (ISSEP) in
Tunisia; (there is only 3 ISSEP in Tunisia including only 12
TGUT teaching level 1). All TGUT participated in this study;
were studied in different contexts and worked in ISSEP that is a
Public high institute of sports and physical education in Tunisia.
Participants were selected to vary demographic and occupa-
tional characteristics of the teachers, including speciality, spor-
tive experience, and years of experience in coaching and year
of experience in teaching presented in Table 1. They were re-
cruited from 3 Sports Higher Institute of sports (Tunis, Kef and
Sfax). The sample of participants was consisted by these TGUT
who was teaching Level1 (first year, BAC + 1). The choice of
this level is because the students had the same level and to
compare result with those of other previous research (Bali,
2005). All participants had accepted to be video recorded dur-
ing a practical session and interviewed.
Participants were not remunerated for participating in the re-
search. They were not informed of the purpose and design of
the research and written informed consent obtained from each
of them. The research proposal was approved by the ethics
board of Sports Ministry.
One week after the video recording sessions observing teach-
ing practices of TGUT (step1), a personal semi-structured in-
terview was then performed. A pilot study was conducted with
two teachers to modify the question items of the interview,
before being conducted with each of these observed and re-
corded teachers. These interviews were conducted with six
TGUT working in the (ISSEP) (step 2). Given the nature of the
research, all the interviews conducted with TGUT were semi-
structured interviews. According to the principles of the semi-
directive interview (Mucchielli, 1976), the interview guide may
slightly change due to data collected by the observations of
teaching practices in these subjects interviewed but without
deviating from the main thesis. The duration was scheduled for
40 - 60 minutes, according to the same considerations, the du-
ration varied slightly from one subject to another.
The interview contained the following predetermined open-
ended questions: 1) what are the designs that are generally
The characteristics of TGUT sample.
Tunisian Gymnastic University Teacher
Recorded and interviewed 06
Years of Experience ≥10 years
Years of practice gymnasticsbetween 5 & 10 years
Years of gymnastics trainingbetween 5 & 10 years
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. 159
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
teachers learning gymnastics gymnastic activities? 2) What are
the designs that are generally teachers’ gymnastics of their
students’ body? 3) The role of the professional experience and
good teaching gymnastic. 4) What is students’ attitude? What is
the Error statue?
All interviews were performed at a convenient place for each
participant, such as a community centres or Institute. All inter-
views were audio taped with agreement from the participants.
We used a Dictaphone to record the answers of teachers in-
terviewed. The questions focus on specific teaching practices
previously recorded teachers interviewed. TGUT are interview-
ed while leaving freedom of speech they can express them-
selves at their ease.
We then proceeded to the transcription (step 3) of audio re-
cordings of semi-structured interviews individually established
after the observation of each teacher to create the corpus of 200
pages and we reported in the grid (Table 2) developed by the
researcher (step 4). This grid is structured into three main cate-
gories illustrated in Table 2: 1) “Teaching based on scientific
considerations”: Whenever the teacher said using scientific
knowledge to explain or correct a gymnastic element, 2)
“Teaching based on conceptions of education referring to
teaching”: Whenever the teacher said referring in his didactic
intervention on metaphors, gestures demonstration, explanation
of terms trivialized by all categories also scientific explanation
that defined above and 3) “Teaching based on means and prac-
tices”: Whenever the teacher said using different style of teach-
ing, schemes, photos, media and drawings; manipulation of his/
her student’s body, using good students to help the others one,
technical explanation or metaphors so, all verbal or no verbal
intervention in relationship with learning round off. This grid
allowed us to categorize (step 5) the TGUT implicit thoughts’
asked about their own teaching practices.
Finally, we involves the linking of analyzes from different
investigation techniques. We crossed the data collected during
the first two steps.
Data were collected in three phases during 4 months. The first
is a pre-interview with the TGUT to constitute their biography
data, such as the number of years of experience, his or her ca-
reer as a gymnast and/or gymnastic coach. At this meet- ing we
presented to the TGUT the various stages of this re- search
about a video recording of a practice session which dealt with
ordinary learning a gymnastic element which is the round off.
Followed by a semi-directive interview related session recorded
representing three phases of the data collection. They gave
teachers an opportunity to share their perspectives on broad
topics such as education, teaching, and society, and also on
more succinct topics such as individual students and situa- tions
that had occurred in previous lessons. Our data were ana- lyzed
using constant comparison. Three themes were emerged to
show how the teachers’ thinking influenced their selecting,
ordering, and formulating of curriculum units, their didactic and
pedagogical manoeuvring during lessons.
Since teaching is a very personal activity and the strategies
that good teachers use to create effective lessons will depend
from a number of factors such as revealed this study. Three
major conceptions used by TGUT emerged from the data col-
lection and were illustrated as categories in Table 2: 1) Teach-
ing based on pedagogical conceptions (7.20%), 2) Teaching
based on the sciences (17.42%) and 3) Teaching based on
means and practices (75.37%). A number of themes have
emerged from the analysis of each category, aside to the con-
textualised responses of individuals. Each category was divided
in items. This research had produced fifteen items illustrated in
Didactic analysis of TGUT thought process.
Category Item Total Percentage
1) Teaching based on the sciences
(a) Total: 104 17.42% (i)
Gymnastic teaching based on the biomechanical knowledge
Justification by real example 104 100% (ii)
Gymnastic teaching based on the differentiated pedagogy (material arrangement)43 100% (iii)
Muscular strengthening 0 0% (iii)
Give meaning to the practice 0 0% (iii)
2) Teaching sending back to
pedagogical conceptions (b)
Total: 43 7.20% (i)
The emotional 0 0% (iii)
Gymnastic teaching based on plans, photos, media. 17 3.77% (iv)
Gymnastic teaching based on showing movements 92 20.44% (iv)
Gymnastic teaching based on the manipulation of the students 91 20.22% (iv)
Gymnastic teaching based on the mutual learning 0 0% (iv)
Gymnastic teaching based on the shows of the good pupils 1 0.2% (iv)
Gymnastic teaching based on the verbal explanation of the movement 35 7.77% (iv)
Gymnastic teaching based on the technical “knowledge” 82 18.22% (iv)
Gymnastic teaching the use of the metaphors 56 12.44% (iv)
Gymnastic teaching based on the correction of the students 51 11.33% (iv)
3) Teaching based on means and
Total: 450 75.37% (i)
Gymnastic teaching based on the strengthening of the learning 25 5.55% (iv)
1) These percentages are calculated with regard to the entire
2) These percentages are calculated with regard to the cate-
gory “Teaching based on sciences”.
3) These percentages are calculated with regard to the cate-
gory “Teaching sending back to pedagogical conceptions”.
4) These percentages are calculated with regard to the cate-
gory “Teaching based on means and practices”.
a) “Teaching based on scientific considerations”: Whenever
the teacher said using scientific knowledge to explain or correct
a gymnastic element,
b) “Teaching based on conceptions of education referring to
teaching”: Whenever the teacher said referring in his didactic
intervention on metaphors, gestures demonstration, and expla-
nation of terms trivialized by all categories also scientific ex-
planation that defined above.
c) “Teaching based on means and practices”: Whenever the
teacher said using different style of teaching, schemes, photos,
media and drawings; manipulation of his/her student’s body,
using good students to help the others one, technical explana-
tion or metaphors so, all verbal or no verbal intervention in
relationship with learning round off.
This study had been interested as the first one on implied
thinking of university physical educational teachers in Tunisia.
Thinking teacher has established a place within the interna-
tional educational research. Clark (1988) claims that research
on teacher thinking can improve teacher preparation by en-
couraging thoughtful teacher educators to ask better questions
of themselves and their skills. However, until now is not so
clear how studies of teacher thinking may been influenced by
the quality of teacher preparation programs and teacher
(Grossman, 1990 Pajares, 1992). In the present study, we pre-
sent a major question that: What was Tunisian university’
teachers taught about? To answer to this question, we inter-
viewed university gymnastics teachers and we found the fol-
lowing results. Our data presented in Table 2 showed that in-
terviewer teachers declared “using the scientific knowledge”
(biomechanics for example) 17.42%. Only 7.20% of their
whole didactic interventions were based on “educational con-
siderations”. Whereas, the percentage 75.37% of their didac-
tics’ practice were based on “means and practices”. When they
were asked about the theoretical foundations which they use in
their teaching—learning of the gymnastics, one of them asserts:
“No; I don’t agree with them (the other teachers of gym-
nastic), because we are teaching students who will be fu-
ture teachers”. So if the student does not understand the
biomechanical parameters and how they take place in the
exercise, he cannot transmit it to his pupils in the future
and he does not know where from the strengths are going
to come. If he does not know for example that, from the
impulse of the leg and the whip of the free leg he is going
to manage to raise his body upward, how could he teach
that, or like consider these elements in his future didactic
practice? If he has no knowledge about this, he cannot
make them communicate to his future pupils, thus he must
know that the strengths result from the leg of impulse and
that through sheathing body. They will be a transmission
of these strengths of lower limbs to the superior members
and the impulse of arms (that is the strengths of arms are
passed on to legs grace). Also, the sheathing body thus if
a pupil has a lax body he cannot make a success of his
movement that is why it is necessary to explain for them
the sheathing body and its utility; how he can communi-
cate these knowledge to his student. If the student did not
learn it during his program!! Thus we can say that the
student must know this biomechanical knowledge, to be
able to communicate them to his future pupils so that they
can learn correctly TGUT1”.
Thus, according to the first declarations of the Tunisian
gymnastics teachers, the biomechanics’ knowledge is important
and indispensable in the learning of gymnastic elements as said
another interviewed teacher states it TGUT2:
“The biomechanics is the biomechanics! And the tech-
nique in gymnastics imposes the presence of the knowl-
edge in biomechanics! Nobody can deny the importance
or the contribution of the biomechanical parameters in the
learning process of the gymnastics! Because the gymnas-
tics is a set of compound artificial movements which are
made in the time and in the space: it is the strengths, the
accelerations of the body that guarantee the execution of
the gymnastic elements (TGUT2)”.
Among the educational conceptions cited, there is also a ref-
erence to the differentiated pedagogy (100 %); (Legrand, 1975).
It means according to the third interviewer TGUT3 that:
“I shall try to simplify the exercise at most to the students
in difficulties! I move forward with the students who suc-
ceed and I start again with those who fail. I change educa-
tional situation, since the material exists and also spaces
to work quite… (TGUT3)”.
And as reported one TGUT:
“I think that almost gymnastic teacher plans instruction
according to the Ministry’s educational goals, curriculum,
and assessment framework. They adapt instruction to take
into account differences in students’ learning styles, capa-
bilities, and needs (TGUT5)”.
This confirms the didactic researches (Marsenach, 1998) ac-
cording to which the teachers of physical education generally
use in their practices to “pragmatic knowledge” than to aca-
demic knowledge, (Cizeron, 2003; Bali, 2004, 2005; Bali et al.,
2013b). In a previous study, authors showed that only 13.89% of
the teachers of the ISSEP in Tunisia apply the official programs,
4.63% apply not at all the programs, 9.26% apply them little
and 72.22% apply them but by changing the contents. The ref-
erence to the knowledge, according to the expression of Ter-
risse (2004), appears in our study as a reference to the technical
knowledge, to the means and the practices adopted leave the
teachers (as we shall see it later) rather than a reference to the
So, this raises the problem of the “teachable object” (Mar-
senach, 2000): the TGUT at ISSEP trainers are expected to
teach to the future professors of middle and high schools, skills
of teaching in their turn the gymnastics which is a field required
in the ISSEP syllabus. Yet, the gymnastics is a difficult sport’s
technique. It requires the analysis of the biomechanics (Piard
1988, 1991; Goirand, 1994). In order to succeed in gymnastics,
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. 161
it’s necessary that the learnt gymnastics’ elements are essen-
tially based on biomechanics as confirmed one of the TGUT4
“Because the technique in gymnastics it is the biome-
chanics and if we want to understand and teach somebody
a gymnastic element and make him feeling the movement
and feel his body and how it is going to execute techni-
cally the wanted gymnastic element, that is going to be
really difficult if he does not know a minimum about the
technical and biomechanical knowledge (TGUT4)”.
One interviewed teacher said:
“To me you can not teach gymnastics based on metaphors.
Because in gymnastic, elements are artificial movements,
complicated compounds and we do not learn natural
movements (walking or running...) they need scientific
knowledge and the teacher who control the scientific
knowledge he will succeed in his teaching practices (TG
The biomechanical explanation is the condition by which
movements in question become teachable objects (Marsenach,
1991). However, the educational basis could moderate this
educational failure. However, TGUT based their teaching on
the pedagogical (29.25%) presented here “as the differentiated
pedagogy or the development) of the material” do not seem to
contribute to the constitution of become “teachable objects”
current practical of gymnastics.
Hebrard (2005), Bali (2010) and Bali et al. (2013b) show that
the individual beginning in a sport is incapable to represent his
body in movement as opposed to the confirmed sportsman who
is capable of correcting his movement. This image of the body
in movement really exists and cannot be the simple re- flection
of the demonstration of the movement by others. It is rather
about a real construction which is the synthesis of perceptive,
kinaesthetic and emotional information.
75.37% of the interviewer teachers declare basing their di-
dactic practices on considerations “extra scientists”. We con-
note “extra scientific considerations”, every elements do not
raise contributory sciences (anatomy, biomechanics, physiology,
psychology) considered as the reference of the physical educa-
tion, but rather the pedagogical conceptions and the means and
the practices which are drawn by experience and the real-life
experience of the teacher which are used by the teachers in their
didactic practices (Bali et al., 2013). If, as the adage says,
“teachers teach the way they have been taught” (Frank, 1990: p.
12) and the same way in Tunisia (Bali, 2005, 2010).
One of the gymnastic teachers interviewed asserts:
“The Tunisian university teachers plan activities that will
assist students in developing only physical skills. Profes-
sional standards will be reflected in many aspects of their
The declarations of these teachers express that these last ones
based their teaching on “the gestural demonstration” (20.44%)
as said one of them:
“Ah, yes, it is imperative to show them that element. For
me, it’s not enough to just show them pictures patterns, as
do some gym teachers (TGUT4)”.
They also declare basing their teaching on the physical ma-
nipulation of the students and the sensation of the movement
(20.22%). Effectively, TGUT3 declares:
“… I explain to him why and I help him to redo the
movement in the upholder with my hands and making him
sensitive of this movement and its fault manipulates his
body manually). I say to him that the fault is at the level
of shoulders”. And it works with them I can even say that
“touch them” have a good results for the correction and
even before you start learning. if I manipulates the student,
he understand what to do or at least the criterion of suc-
cess this gesture is to get this feeling. Thus the student has
to see the gymnastic movement and feel this movement so
that he can make it. For example when he has the good
elements, you can help him to stretch his legs and you say
to him: it is like that, that it is necessary to perform (TG
According to Calderhead & Robson (1991) and Bali et al
(2013b), many teachers believe that they already know what
they need to be able to teach, as a result of having the opportu-
nity to observe teachers every school day over many years. And
in gymnastics, the gestural demonstration and the manipulation
are very important for the learning of the pupils. “This confirms
the equality of the proportions of these two items. The TGUT
interviewed justify this carried attention on the kinaesthetic
perceptions by the specificity of the gymnastic action which
takes place most of the time outside the visual control. It is true
that gymnastics in action and in rotation does not allow a visual
control of the actions. Traditionally admitted, that the gymnas-
tics requests the kinaesthetic perceptive dimension (Carnus,
2001). It would allow to understand not only the fact that the
teacher goes without the visual guide, essential perceptive di-
mension for studying beginners, but although he makes, con-
cerning the flexion of the head a choice which, although dic-
tated by a concern of security, turns out to be a major didactic
stumbling block. As the student cannot envisage the determin-
ing part of the visual marks, he cannot understand the conse-
quences of the flexion of the head which he prescribes repeat-
edly. The Tunisian teachers of gymnastics consider the ma-
nipulation of a little active student upright, as an inescapable
experience giving the student good sensations of verticality. The
same group of teachers interviewed declares using metaphors
(12.44%) to explain the gymnastic movement to their students:
“Yes completely. I use many metaphors during the prac-
tical sessions, for example: to say round or hollow back I
take the example of the cat. for sheathing I said: hard as
“a wall” or like when a girl wants to wear “waisted pants”
needs to sheathe her body (buttocks and abdomen) and for
the boys I explain when someone receives a blow in the
abdomen for how he does not feel the blow, brings your
body like a balloon, as a ball to roll, etc. I say to them
hard as “a wall” or as when a girl wants to wear waited
pants needs to sheathe her body (buttocks and stomach)
for the boys when somebody receives a blow in the stom-
ach (drink the stomach) how it makes not to feel the blow,
groups your body as a ball, as a ball to roll, roll to the
right or to the left as a balloon etc. I give them marks that
is images as I have just told it or about marks material as
to look at the wall, to fix a point to the wall and to look at
it, to look at the feet of his/he) companion, look at the
window, etc”. A declaration which seems opposite: yes!
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
For me we cannot teach the gymnastics by basing itself on
metaphors. Because in the gymnastics elements are artifi-
cial, compound and complicated movements we do not
learn natural movements as if he/she walk or run) needs
them scientific knowledge and if the teacher masters these
scientific knowledge he is going to succeed in his didactic
We can explain the use of the metaphors by the search for the
sense give meaning with regard to compared with a social ref-
erence practice): the one two shows: some pupils are in trouble
at the school not because they do not possess the mental opera-
tions nor the necessary performances to master the required
skills, but because they taught knowledge has no real meaning
for them, because the type of questions which answer this
knowledge do not make sense for them.
“Learn first, you will understand later, (TGUT4)”.
We can also explain the use of the metaphors by the search
for the sense (give meaning with regard to compared with a
social reference practice): the one of interviewed teacher said:
“Some of the pupils are in trouble at the school not be-
cause they do not possess the mental operations nor the
necessary performances to master the skills which are
asked them, but because they taught knowledge has no
real meaning for them, because the type of questions
which answers to this knowledge does not make sense for
And one other TGUT said to his students:
“Learns you will understand when it is correct (TGUT6)”.
The first TGUT interviewed said:
These teachers declare also using “the remediation: the cor-
rections of the students” (11.33%) to make them learn the
One of TGUT reported also:
“The student must do the movement by himself and I ex-
plain to him his fault ... and then I correct gestural dem-
onstration and manual handling, I think that the sensation
of movement is essential (TGUT2)”.
The same group of teachers say base their teachings on the
verbal explanation of the movement in a very low proportion
(7.7%) while several previous studies showed that the verbal
explanation helps the pupils to learn better (Bali et al., 2013a).
Let us quote for example the works of Piard (1986) about the
teaching of the gymnastics. We find an approach inspired by
similar references. The author insists on the necessity of pre-
senting to the learners the rational bases of orientation, con-
taining all the necessary theoretical marks”. Teachers also de-
clare that they do not base their didactic interventions on the
mutual learning (apprenticeship) of the students (0%). They
rather the strengthening’s of the learning (5.55%), in plans
(3.77%) and in the gestural show motor skills of the good pu-
All these declarations confirm the observations results of the
gymnastics practical sessions and confirm result of a previous
study (Bali, 2010; Bali et al., 2013b). However, during the con-
versations we listed some contradictions in the declarations of
the gymnastics teachers that we are going to analyze in the
These contradictions are certainly individual, but verify par-
tially a thesis developed by Crahay (2000) according to which
one; the implicit thoughts of the teachers do not establish sys-
tems of ideas (thesis developed by Tochon, 1991) but rather
crumbs of ideas! It means that the teachers questioned about
their didactic practices do not answer the questions of the re-
searcher by making reference to a system of ideas beforehand
constructed and thoughtful, but rather in blow by blow. What
let the opportunity to all the contradictions to justify, at all costs,
their didactic practices?
Wilcox (1987) suggested that PE teachers follow teaching
styles and programmes that are similar to their school experi-
ence, displaying minimal appreciation for the nature and needs
of students. For example, if PE was exclusively “playing
games”, a teachers may believe that PE is easy to teach. Con-
sequently, students develop a “subjective warrant” (Lawson,
1983, 1986) for PE in which teaching is considered only a
small component (Crum, 1990). Similarly, these types of ex-
periences may potentially perpetuate a teaching force previ-
ously stereotyped as “rolling out the ball” (Hutchinson, 1993: p.
Crum (1990) described these types of school experiences of
students who pursue careers in PE teaching as more influential
than PE teacher education, and perpetuate a non-teaching ide-
The perception of the TGUT had two consequences: firstly a
didactic one—The TGUT plan activities that will assist stu-
dents in developing only physical skills. Future teachers of PE
are not learning teachable objects but motor skills, devoid of
any scientific knowledge. The only alternative left to them is to
perpetuate the teaching of PE by “demonstration”, helping to
cut the motor gesture of its theoretical foundations. The second
consequence refers to the legitimacy of the contributory sci-
ences in training programs for student teachers of PE. As well
as they illuminate and facilitate, through reinvestment in the
field of motor learning, their legitimacy or all remain indisput-
able. From the moment they are useless in practice, they be-
come cumbersome for student teachers who “learn”. On the
basis of this argument we might reasonably ask what might be
done to address this problem.
With regard to effective teaching in the realm of physical
education, studies indicate the importance of reflection (Carson,
1997; Jagger, 1989) and the evaluation of lesson effectiveness
(Borich, 1996; Rink, 1993). Understanding that teacher devel-
opment requires observation, analysis, and judgment about what
occurs during instruction and using that information to make
changes in personal teaching behaviours was a critical feature
of this topic. The teachers explored ways to reflect upon their
teaching performance and student learning, and also developed
an understanding of how to evaluate for effectiveness.
We hope that the issues discussed in this paper will help
teachers reflect on their own teaching beliefs and practices as
engaged in the process of planning and teaching effectiveness.
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