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.


Observation Pre-Service Teachers Competency Virtual Field Placement


  1. National Standards for Initial Physical Education Teacher Education, SHAPE America – Society of Health and Physical Educators, (2017). Retrieved from: https://www.shapeamerica.org/accreditation/upload/National-Standards-for-Initial-Physical-Education-Teacher-Education-2017.pdf
  2. Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), World Health Organization, (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus#tab=tab_1
  3. P. Van Kessel, C. Baronavski, A. Scheller, A. Smith, In their own words, Americans Describe the Struggles and Silver Linings of the COVID-19 Pandemic, Pew Research Center, (2021). https://www.pewresearch.org/2021/03/05/in-their-own-words-americans-describe-the-struggles-and-silver-linings-of-the-covid-19-pandemic/
  4. P.C. Allison, What and How Preservice Physical Education Teachers Observe During an Early Field Experience, Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 58 (3) (1987) 242-249.
  5. D. Barney, R. Christenson, Physical Education Majors Team Teaching in an Early Field Experience in a Junior High School Setting, Asian Journal of Physical Education & Recreation, 15(2) (2009) 16-21.
  6. D. Barney, F. Pleban, Pre-service Physical Education Teacher’s Perceptions of Teaching Before and After a Semester Long Elementary Physical Education Practicum Experience, Physical Educator, 63 (2006) 46-52.
  7. W. Chen, Learning the Skill Theme Approach: Salient and Problematic Aspects of Pedagogical Content Knowledge, Education, 125 (2) (2004) 194-212.
  8. M.D. Curtner-Smith, The impact of an Early Field Experience on Preservice Physical Education Teachers’ Conception of Teaching, Journal of Teaching in Physical Education, 15 (2) (1996) 224-250.
  9. E. Eldar, Effect of Self-Management on Preservice Teachers’ Performance During a Field Experience in Physical Education, Journal of Teaching in Physical Education, 9 (4) (1990) 307-323.
  10. C. Ingersoll, J.M. Jenkins, K. Lux, Teacher knowledge development in early field experience, Journal of Teaching in Physical Education, 33 (3) (2014) 363-382.
  11. T.E. Layne, J. Blasingame, Analysis of a Physical Education Teacher Education Field Experience of Working One-on-One with Students With Severe and Profound Disabilities in a Self-Contained Environment, Physical Educator, 75 (4) (2018) 683-700.
  12. M. O’Sullivan, N. Tsangaridou, What Undergraduate Physical Education Majors Learn during a Field Experience, Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 63 (4) (1992) 381-392.
  13. E.G. Ralph, Developing Professional Attributes among Student Teachers during Field Experience Programs, Education Canada, 29 (1) (1989) 32-40.
  14. A.R. Ramos, K. Esslinger, E. Pyle, The Effects of Field Experience on Delivery of Feedback, The Physical Educator, 72 (5) (2015) 278-287.
  15. I. Rovegno, Learning to teach in a field-based methods course: The development of pedagogical content knowledge, Teaching and Teacher Education, 8 (1) (1992) 69-82.
  16. A. Sebren, Preservice Teachers’ Reflections and Knowledge Development in a Field-Based Elementary Physical Education Methods Course, Journal of Teaching in Physical Education, 14 (3) (1995) 262-283.
  17. J.I. Erdman, Assessing the Purposes of Early Field Experience Programs, Journal of Teacher Education, 34 (4) (1983) 27-31.
  18. J. Goodman, What Students Learn from Early Field Experiences: A Case Study and Critical Analysis, Journal of Teacher Education, 36 (6) (1985) 42-48.
  19. K.J. LaMaster, Enhancing Preservice Teachers Field Experiences through the Addition of a Service-Learning Component, Journal of Experiential Education, 24 (1) (2001) 27-33.
  20. K. Everhart, Using School-based Intramurals as Early Field Experiences for Physical Education Teacher Education Majors, Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance, 85 (9) (2014) 44-46.
  21. Y. Chen, Kill Two Birds with One Stone: Two PETE Courses Exploring Experiential Learning in One Early Field Experience, Journal of Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, 92 (9) (2021) 18-23.
  22. Y. Chen, Kinesiology majors’ perceptions of an early field experience with the homeschoolers, Journal of the Louisiana Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance, 84 (2020), 1-13.
  23. C.A. Webster, J. Moon, H. Bennett, S. Griffin, Implementation and effectiveness of a CSPAP-informed, online secondary methods course with virtual field experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic, Journal of Teaching in Physical Education, 40 (3) (2021) 508-515.
  24. J.P. Goetz, M.D. LeCompte, (1984) Ethnography and Qualitative Design in Educational Research, Academic Press, Massachusetts, United States.
  25. S.A. Mitchell, J.L. Walton-Fisette, (2016) The Essentials of Teaching Physical Education: Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment, Human Kinetics.
  26. Grade-level Outcomes for K-12 Physical Education, SHAPE America – Society of Health and Physical Educators, (2013). Retrieved from: https://www.shapeamerica.org/uploads/pdfs/2017/Grade-Level-Outcomes-for-K-12-Physical-Education.pdf