Professional preparation of physical education teachers at the undergraduate level: An analysis and comparison between the United States and China.

No Thumbnail Available
Xiang, Sixin
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Middle Tennessee State University
The purpose of this study was to investigate the methods of professional preparation of physical education teachers in the United States and China and to provide recommendations for improvement in professional physical education to the countries. The study was designed to examine the different practices for professional preparation in areas of the admission, curriculum content, and curriculum structure. Such a comparative study may be helpful in order to strengthen each nation's programs and to promote international understanding.
Seven universities in the United States and seven universities in China were selected for comparison after consulting with experts in the field. Data were collected through reviewing undergraduate catalogues, departmental documents, teaching curricula, and documents issued by the U.S. Department of Education, the National Association for Sport and Physical Education, the State Education Commission (China), and the State Physical Education and Sport Commission (China). A descriptive study was conducted discussing the admission, curriculum content, and curriculum structure. Means and percentages were calculated for the number of courses required and class hours required for the areas of general education, major studies, and pedagogical requirements. T-tests were performed on the means for each area to examine whether there were significant differences at.05 level between the countries.
The most significant characteristics of Chinese programs were: (1) strict selective admissions; (2) the major course of study consumed as much as 75 percent of the total program with emphasis on sports skill learning; and (3) student teaching experience was under the full control of the physical education department.
The most impressive features of the American programs were: (1) general education comprised of one third of the total program and covered a very broad liberal and scientific knowledge base; (2) activity and sport performance courses comprised of a very small portion of the total coursework. However, the knowledge of motor learning and development was emphasized; and (3) requirements for professional education were highly emphasized. These requirements were reflected by the stringent admission and retention standards to teacher education, the length of the directed teaching experience, and the system of teacher licensure.