Physical education in primary school and impact on primary teacher education students from two different university sites


  • Francesca D'Elia University of Salerno


Purpose. The new curricular design of physical education (PE) in primary school showed several problematic issues, including the different education among the generalist teacher, a graduated in primary teacher education sciences, who taught in I, II and III classes, and the specialist in exercise and sport science, who taught in IV and V classes. An in-depth study on the impact of the legislative innovation in primary teacher education science students, future generalist teachers, from two separate sites is needed, to complete the part of the study on the internal stakeholders of trainees’ category. The aim was to investigate the perceptions of primary teacher education students on the compulsory teaching of PE, as well as the adequacy of their education to teach PE, and to verify which variables could influence their perceptions on PE teaching.

Methods. The sample consisted of 281 primary teacher education students from two south Italy Universities, who completed an ad-hoc questionnaire. Data were analyzed using Chi Square (X2).

Results. Students considered important the introduction of the specialist teacher in primary school to teach PE (76.4 %), because of the perceived inadequacy of own education (49.3%). Observing PE lessons increased perceptions of preparation to design lessons using heuristic and prescriptive methods (p =.03). Students who considered important the PE specialist in primary education, believed that it should be present in the curricular teaching of PE (p =.00). The perceived adequacy of own education to teach PE increased the perceived competence to assess children's physical competences (p =.00) and the usefulness of this practice (p =.00). Prescriptive teaching was considered the most effective method (p =.00).

Conclusions. Future generalist teachers showed interest for the discipline but demonstrated educational gaps that need to be filled using a comprehensive and experiential approach.



04-09-2023 — Updated on 10-01-2024


How to Cite

D’Elia, F. (2024). Physical education in primary school and impact on primary teacher education students from two different university sites. Acta Kinesiologica, 17(1.), 33–40. Retrieved from (Original work published September 4, 2023)



Original Scientific Article