Date of Award

Spring 2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Teaching & Learning


Curriculum and Instruction

Committee Director

Xihe Zhu

Committee Member

Brandon Butler

Committee Member

Justin Haegele


The complexity of physical education instruction provides unique challenges for the physical education teacher. In this research, I sought to describe and examine the types of knowledge that physical education teachers use to inform their instructional practices. I also explored the relation between teaching experience and components of content knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge in overhand throwing. Specifically, what are the task representations, common content knowledge, and specialized content knowledge during an overhand throwing unit of novice, beginning, and accomplished elementary teachers? A naturalistic, qualitative approach involving three elementary physical education teachers examined the elements that they used in the instruction of overhand throwing. Data collection included field notes, semi-structured and long interview, a qualitative measure of teaching performance scale, a common content knowledge assessment, time based summary sheet, task representation coding sheet, and curricular and lesson plan information. Results indicated that longer teaching or sport experience did not confer a higher level of content knowledge or pedagogical knowledge. The scores on a common content knowledge overhand throwing assessment supported, or aligned with many of the components that made up the participants’ pedagogical content knowledge. Having curricular knowledge and access to a quality curriculum, and quality task representation was critical to the appropriateness and maturity of the instructional practices. This research adds to the body of work of pedagogical content knowledge in the field of physical education and in other educational disciplines. The findings alluded to opportunities for future research of pedagogical content knowledge in physical education.


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