Innovation in enhancing the reflective abilities of physical education trainee teachers was explored in this study through establishing peer ‘training buddies’ during their school placements. Opportunities for active engagement in peer- and self-reflection were provided to full-time Post-Graduate Secondary Physical Education trainee teachers (n = 23). Data were collected through surveys, focus group interviews and trainee reflections shared through online discussion boards. Prior to their first school placement trainees were assigned a peer training buddy. Whilst on placement, they recorded each other teaching a physical education lesson; immediately afterwards, the pair watched the recorded lesson and conducted a joint evaluation. This dialogue allowed them to engage in reflective discussion. The process was repeated during the trainees’ second placement with a different peer training buddy. Grounded theory methodology informed an emergent model of reflective practice. By being and having a training buddy, trainees created, enabled and negotiated their own rules, structures and practices for implementing the process. Common themes emerging from the data pointed to a series of mutually-created spaces: safe – non-judgemental and creating a sense of solidarity; relaxed – non-pressured and conversational; equal – involving all participants at the same stage and status; pedagogic – collaborative and involving the sharing of ideas; negotiated – allowing autonomy and ownership of the process; and alternative – experiencing a different school environment. Trainees endorsed the peer review process as a method of engaging in critical reflection. The data illustrated the positive benefits that can be derived from sharing feedback with a peer. The emergent theory presented suggests that the collaborative spaces created by training buddies enhance reflective ability and practice.
- physical education
- initial teacher education