Implementation of early field experiences is a required component in nearly all teacher education programs because of the first-hand training in real-world situations that complement classroom learning. It is through the experiences that pre-service teachers have the platform to develop and demonstrate their competency in content knowledge, pedagogical skills, and professional dispositions. However, the onset of COVID-19 pandemic made it impossible to set up in-person early field experiences. The purpose of this study was to (a) describe an alternative early field experience planned and implemented to accommodate COVID-19 restrictions, (b) document what the participants learned throughout the experience, and (c) provided university faculty with suggestions for virtual early field experiences. Nineteen students enrolled in a 200-level physical education teacher education activity class in the Spring of 2021 submitted 10 weekly reports after watching self-selected videos that were related to soccer and volleyball. The duration of each video submission was analyzed using descriptive statistics. Data analyzed using the standard interpretive methods revealed three main themes. To identify their content knowledge acquisition, the participants described historical facts, abridged rules and regulations, sport-specific skills, strength and conditioning exercises, and tactical moves and team strategies. They also made game-related observations on the players, teams, and officials. Lastly, entertainment value was highlighted as a result of the freedom to choose the videos they were interested in. Suggestions for incorporating this early field experience and future research directions were discussed.
KeywordsObservation, Pre-Service Teachers, Competency, Virtual Field Placement,
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