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Research Case studies

Black and Minority Ethnic Students' Experiences of Physical Education Teacher Education


Anne Flintoff

This research project explored the experiences of black and minority ethnic (BME) students’ experiences of Physical Education teacher education (PETE).

Supported by a Recruitment and Retention Challenge Grant from the Training and Development Agency (TDA), the government body responsible for teacher education. The recruitment and retention of BME teacher candidates has been a national priority for the TDA for some time.

However, research by the Association for Physical Education and the Ethnic Minority Foundation, together with an analysis of the TDA’s own figures, show that the specific subject area of PE falls well short of the government target of 11%. There are just 4% BME students opting into PETE nationally each year, and little is known about their experiences.

The project used questionnaires and interviews to explore students’ initial aspirations for teaching PE, the application and interview process; their experiences of training, particularly ‘critical’ points, such as the initial six weeks; teaching placements, and the processes of securing employment. Findings highlight the significance of the heterogeneity of students’ experiences, but how racialised and gendered discourses around embodiment operate to position BME students as ‘Other’.

Research outputs

  • Flintoff, A. (forthcoming) Tales from the playing field: Black and ethnic minority students’ experiences of Physical Education teacher education, invited paper submitted to Race, Ethnicity and Education, special edition on initial teacher education.
  • Flintoff, A. (2013). 'Physical Education and School Sport', in K. Hylton (ed.) Sports Development: policy, process and practice, London: Routledge, pp.151-171.
  • Flintoff, A. (2012) Playing the ‘Race’ Card? Black and minority ethnic students’ experiences of Physical Education teacher education, Sport Education and Society, available online at http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13573322.2012.745397.
  • Flintoff, A. (2012) 'Miss Whitney' and 'Miss, are you a terrorist?': Negotiating a place within physical education, in: F. Dowling, H. Fitgerald & A. Flintoff (Eds) Equity and difference in physical education, youth sport and health: A narrative approach, London, Routledge, p.78-83.
  • Dowling, F. and Flintoff, A. (2011) ‘Getting beyond the dilemmas of normative interview talk of sameness and celebrating difference’, Qualitative Research in Sport and Exercise, 3, 1, 63-79.
  • Flintoff, A., & Webb, L. (2011) 'Just open your eyes a bit more': researching black and minority ethnic trainees' experiences of physical education teacher education., Sport, Education and Society, January 2011. DOI:10.1080/13573322.2011.553951.
  • Flintoff, A., & Money, J. (2009) Does ethnicity matter? Black and ethnic minority students' experiences of Physical Education teacher education, Physical Education Matters, 4, 34-39.
  • The research resulted in the production of a 30,000 word report to the TDA, which can be downloaded here.
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