The Use of Mental Imagery By Physical Education Teachers

  • Author / Creator
    Hall, Nathan D
  • Researchers have reported that people in many professions (e.g., professional athletes, coaches, law enforcement officers, family physicians and surgeons) commonly employ mental imagery and find it to be a useful aid when completing the behaviours common to their profession (Hall, 2001; Jedlic, Hall, Munroe-Chandler, & Hall, 2007; Edwards, Sadoski, & Burdenski, 2005). Recently researchers have encouraged the investigation of mental imagery use among physical educators (Hall & Fishburne, 2010). However, there has been no research to date on mental imagery use by physical education teachers. Therefore, the purpose of the present study was to investigate the use of mental imagery by those who teach physical education. Bandura’s (1986) Social Cognitive Theory and Paivio’s Analytic Framework of Mental Imagery (1985) were used as a foundation for this research. Consequently, this research focused on the teaching behaviours and self-regulatory behaviours of physical educators, and the possible use of the cognitive and motivational functions of mental imagery to aid in these behaviours. A basic qualitative study methodology (Merriam, 2009) was employed as a means of completing this investigation. Fifteen teachers who specialized in teaching physical education at the middle or secondary school grade level participated in this research. A convenience sample of participants was recruited from schools in both Alberta and Ontario using the snowball sampling effect (Patton, 1990). The participants varied in gender, age, years of teaching experience, grade(s) presently taught, and gender of students taught. Each physical education teacher who participated in the study completed a one-on-one semi-structured interview, as well as, a short demographic questionnaire. Following data collection thematic coding of the data was completed. The results demonstrated that the physical education teachers in the present study were employing mental imagery to aid in many of the teaching behaviours and self-regulatory behaviours that are common in their profession. In addition, the participants indicated that they used the cognitive function of mental imagery more commonly than the motivational function of mental imagery. Furthermore, most of the participants perceived mental imagery to be a beneficial skill, and yet the use of mental imagery by the participants was completely unstructured (i.e., never planned). These results have potential implications for both present physical education teachers and also physical education teacher education programs.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Spring 2012
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.