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Journal of Physical Education

On-line version ISSN 2448-2455

J. Phys. Educ. vol.29  Maringá  2018  Epub June 07, 2018

http://dx.doi.org/10.4025/jphyseduc.v28i1.2924 

Artigo Original

CONCERNS OF PHYSICAL EDUCATION TEACHERS ACCORDING TO PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT CYCLES AND SOCIODEMOGRAPHIC CHARACTERISTICS

PREOCUPAÇÕES DE PROFESSORES DE EDUCAÇÃO FÍSICA CONFORME OS CICLOS DE DESENVOLVIMENTO PROFISSIONAL E CARACTERISTICAS SOCIODEMOGRÁFICAS

Suelen Vicente Vieira1  2 

Lucas Jacob Beuttemmuller3 

Jorge Both1 

1Universidade Estadual de Londrina, Londrina-PR, Brasil.

2Centro Universitário de Maringá, Maringá-PR, Brasil.

3Universidade Estadual de Maringá, Maringá-PR, Brasil..

ABSTRACT

The objective of this study was to analyze concerns of teachers according to professional development cycles and sociodemographic variables. The sample was composed of 92 permanent Physical Education teachers from municipal and state networks of Maringá city (Paraná). For data collection, a sociodemographic questionnaire and the Teacher Concerns Scale were used. For data analysis, Anova for independent samples and the t-test for repeated measures were employed. Results showed smaller concern as to the self dimension compared to the task and task impact dimensions. Moreover, teachers in the renewal cycle were more concerned with the task dimension than those in the consolidation cycle. Assessing sociodemographic variables, teachers working for the state network and female teachers showed a higher index of concern with the “task” dimension, while teachers working at only one school showed greater concern with the self dimension. It is concluded that the concerns present similar behavior with career advancement and that sociodemographic variables have a low impact on teacher concern level.

Keywords: Teachers; Physical Education; Concerns; Teaching Career.

RESUMO

O objetivo desse estudo foi analisar as preocupações dos professores conforme os ciclos de desenvolvimento profissional e as variáveis sociodemográficas. A amostra foi composta por 92 professores de Educação Física efetivos das redes municipal e estadual do município de Maringá (Paraná). Para a coleta de dados utilizou-se um questionário sociodemográfico e a Escala de Preocupações dos Professores. Para a análise dos dados empregou-se os testes anova para amostras independentes e para medidas repetidas e teste t. Os resultados evidenciaram menores preocupações docentes com a dimensão consigo quando comparados com as dimensões tarefa e impacto da tarefa. Além disso, os professores do ciclo de renovação apresentaram maior índice de preocupação com a dimensão tarefa que os docentes do ciclo de consolidação. Ao avaliar as variáveis sociodemográficas, observou-se que professores vinculados à rede estadual de ensino e do sexo feminino demonstraram maior índice de preocupação com a dimensão tarefa, enquanto os docentes que atuavam em apenas uma escola demonstraram maior preocupação com a dimensão consigo. Conclui-se que as preocupações apresentam comportamento semelhante com o avanço da carreira e que variáveis sociodemográficas tem baixo impacto de influência no nível de preocupação docente.

Palavras-chave: Professores; Educação Física; Preocupações; Carreira Docente.

Introduction

Teaching is characterized by a professional practice in which teachers invest their time in a student’s education. They are faced with unpredictable factors and adapt their knowledge and skills to meet the needs of their students. Thus, the teaching work consists of inaccurate and unstable limits that change depending on the context of professional activity, which makes the job flexible1.

The teaching activity takes place in school, where students are supposed to learn and socialize. Aided by didactic materials, they intervene in the student’s learning ability. Within the school environment, they establish relationships with students and colleagues, which are permeated by negotiations, conflicts, collaborations, tensions and assistance1.

The job of a Physical Education’s teacher has some specific characteristics that can distinguish him or her from other colleagues, with outstanding extrinsic factors including: the clothes worn (suitable for sports practice), materials used and place where the class effectively happens. The intrinsic factor is the content that the Physical Education teacher develops in school, in this case, the body culture of movement2. Consequently, inadequate material, poor spaces for practice, difficulties with pedagogical supervision, extracurricular activities, systematization of contents, and other factors interfere with teaching performance2),(3.

In this sense, the teaching job covers a diversity of tasks, which comprises much more than the classroom. Factors such as number of students per class, teaching experience, relationship with the school community, among other issues, permeate the teaching activity and influence a teacher’s well-being1),(4),(5. Thus, understanding the professional development of teachers is necessary to understand the process that contains regressions, crises, moments of motivation, etc.6 It is noteworthy that many factors influence the professional development of teachers, with highlight to matters related to personal, professional and political factors7.

Some authors have proposed to study the professional development of teachers, such as Huberman6 and Gonçalves8. In the Brazilian reality, Farias7 developed a theoretical model on the professional development cycles of Physical Education teachers, and five phases were detected, which characterize the teaching career. In the Entry cycle (up to 4 years of teaching), newly-trained teachers present as main characteristic the shock with the reality of work and with the different situations they experience in their first career years. In the Consolidation of Professional Skills cycle (between 5 and 9 years of teaching), teachers consolidate the actions, skills and behaviors that will reflect on their career. In the Affirmation and Diversification cycle (between 10 and 19 years of teaching), teachers confirm their teaching actions in their pedagogical practice and consolidate their professional skills. In the Renewal cycle (between 20 and 27 years of teaching), they reaffirm the need to value education and preserve career achievements. In the Maturity cycle (28 years of teaching or more), they value and believe in public education, education professionals and labor struggles.

Thus, the teaching career is mediated by several factors that influence development. Among these factors, teachers’ concerns stand out, which have to do with actions, behaviors and feelings related to the teaching practice. It should be emphasized that issues linked to infrastructure, planning, age, gender, socioeconomic situation, number of students in the classrooms, student evaluation, interaction with colleagues, among others, can cause concern9.

The Concern Theory10 has evidenced three dimensions of teacher concerns, which are: Self, Task and Task Impact. The Self dimension reports survival concerns of teachers in the school environment, such as dealing with students and fear of not being accepted by the school community. The Task dimension represents concerns with the planning and application of pedagogical activities. Thus, difficulties such as lack of materials and infrastructure, which affect pedagogical activities, are part of this dimension as well. The Task Impact dimension relates to a teacher’s concerns as to the students’ learning needs and how his or her teaching activities impact them.

Therefore, relating concerns to professional development cycles and sociodemographic variables is important, as it may help understand worries and alleviate anxieties that occur late9. In this way, it is possible to elaborate strategies to attenuate experiences and bad feelings that hinder teachers in their pedagogical practice and personal life. However, few studies, with specific samples, have sought to investigate the relationship between personal and professional characteristics with the concerns that affect teachers during their professional career9),(11),(12. In this sense, the objective of this study was to analyze teachers’ concerns according to professional development cycles and sociodemographic variables.

Methods

The research is characterized as descriptive-exploratory, with quantitative approach, whose participants were Physical Education teachers working for the State and Municipal Education Networks of the city of Maringá - Paraná - Brazil.

The selection criteria for this study’s sample were: professionals teaching full time and who were permanently working as teachers for the state and/or municipality. The sample of Physical Education teachers was composed of 92 teachers (mean age of 39.6 years and standard deviation of 9.4 years), of which 36 belonged to the municipal network, 45 to the state network and 11 worked in both networks.

Data collection took place at the schools where the teachers were employed and at pedagogical meetings in the area of Physical Education promoted by the Municipal Education Department [Secretaria Municipal de Educação] (SEDUC) and the Regional Nucleus of Education [Núcleo Regional de Educação] (NRE). Collection used a sociodemographic questionnaire to characterize the research’s participants, considering the following variables: gender, age group, academic background, work place, working hours, number of schools where they work, professional development cycles and employment.

To verify the teachers’ concerns, the Teacher Concerns Questionnarie14),(15 was used, which is based on the concern theory10. This instrument was translated and validated for the Brazilian reality and titled Escala de Preocupações dos Professores12. The questionnaire consists of 15 statements divided into the following dimensions: Self, Task and Task Impact. In order to respond each item of the instrument, the respondent is asked to state his/her opinion considering the 5-point Likert scale, which indicates the level of teacher concern, in which the concept “1” corresponds to “not concerned” and the concept “5” corresponds to “extremely concerned.”

Before starting data collection, authorization was requested from the SEDUC and the NRE. Subsequently, the research project13 was reviewed and approved by the Ethics Committee on Research Involving Humans of the State University of Londrina (legal opinion No 1.664.969).

For data analysis, the single-sample chi-square test was employed with balanced proportions of categories to characterize the profile of the teachers participating in the study. To assess the normal distribution of the dimensions of the teachers’ concerns, the z-score analysis technique for kurtosis and asymmetry was used. It should be noted that z-scores must not exceed the range of -2 and +2 to show the normal distribution of data16. In the case of this investigation, z-scores for the asymmetry of variables ranged between -1.93 and 1.74, while z-scores for kurtosis ranged from -1.71 to 0.60, which determined that the dependent variables of the study had normal distribution.

To assess correlations between concerns and professional development cycles and sociodemographic variables, the t-test and a one-way Anova with Tukey post hoc were adopted. In order to assess the teachers’ concerns according to professional development cycles in detail, the Anova test for repeated measures with Bonferroni post hoc was used. Finally, it is worth highlighting that statistical analyses adopted 95% (p<0.05) as criterion for strong level of significance. Probability values at 94.0% (p=0.06) of level of significance were considered as having poor association. The utilization of weak association between the variables of the study is justified by the fact that the research is a descriptive-exploratory one.

Results

The results of the sociodemographic variables showed that most Physical Education teachers in the study were female (63.0%) (p=0.01), had an undergraduate degree only (71.7%) (p<0.01), worked at state schools (48.9%) (p<0.01), worked full time, 40 hours per week (52.2%) (p<0.01), were aged between 30 and 39 years old (43.5%) (p <0.01), were in the affirmation and diversification cycle of their teaching career (34.8%) (p <0.01), and had internal multiple teaching jobs (35.9%) (p <0.01), that is, worked at two or more schools linked to the same education network (Table 1).

Table 1 Description of the Physical Education teachers’ sociodemographic variables 

Characteristics n (%) p*
Gender Female 58 (63.0) 0.01
Male 34 (37.0)
Education Undergraduate Degree 66 (71.7) <0.01
Graduate Degree 26 (28.3)
State 45 (48.9) <0.01
Work Place City 36 (39.1)
State and City 11 (12.0)
Partial working time 15 (16.3) <0.01
Working Time Full working time 48 (52.2)
Excessive working time 28 (30.4)
Up to 29 years old 13 (14.1) <0.01
Age Group 30 to 39 years old 40 (43.5)
40 to 49 years old 25 (27.2)
50 years old or over 14 (15.2)
One school 35 (38.0) 0.42
Number of schools he/she works at Two schools 32 (34.8)
Three schools or more 25 (27.2)
Career Entry 17 (18.5) <0.01
Professional Development Cycles Consolidation of Career Professional Skills 19 (20.7)
Career Affirmation and Diversification 32 (34.8)
Career Renewal 14 (15.2)
Career Maturity 10 (10.9)
No multiple jobs 28 (30.4) <0.01
Employment Internal Multiple Teaching Jobs 33 (35.9)
Multiple Teaching Jobs 14 (15.2)
Multiple Jobs Multiple Roles 17 (18.5)

Legend: *Probability estimated by the single-sample chi-square test with equally equalized categories

Source: The authors

Regarding the analysis of the dimensions of the Physical Education teachers’ concerns (Table 2), both in the overall analysis (p <0.01) and in the detailed assessment of each cycle of professional development (Entry: p<0.01; Consolidation: p<0.01; Diversification: p<001; Renewal: p<0.01; Maturity: p<0.01), it was observed that the teachers were less concerned with Self dimension compared to Task (p<0.05) and Task Impact (p<0,05). However, it is noteworthy that only in the career entry cycle the Task dimension showed no significant difference with the Self dimension (p=0.11).

Table 2 Teachers’ concerns by professional development cycles 

Professional Development Cycles Self Task Task Impact p*
General Group 2.62 (0.98) a 3.55 (0.84) b 3.72 (0.95) b <0.01
Entry 3.00 (1.25) a 3.55 (0.93) a/b 3.82 (0.89) b <0.01
Consolidation 2.50 (0.78) a 3.20 (0.73) b 3.47 (1.06) b <0.01
Diversification 2.47 (0.87) a 3.58 (0.84) b 3.78 (0.99) b <0.01
Renewal 2.87 (1.08) a 4.06 (0.60) b 4.03 (0.89) b <0.01
Maturity 2.28 (0.94) a 3.36 (0.98) b 3.42 (0.79) b <0.01
p** 0.23** 0.06** 0.41**

Legend: * Probability estimated by Anova for paired data; ** Probability estimated by Anova for independent samples.

Source: The authors

Assessing the Professional Development Cycles based on the Concerns construct, the Task dimension (p=0.06) showed a significance index close to the cut-off point adopted in this investigation. It should be noted that in the detailed analysis, the teachers in the Renewal cycle (M=4.06; SD=0.60) were more concerned than teachers in the Consolidation cycle (M=3.20, SD=0.73) (p=0.03). The assessment of the teachers’ concerns by sociodemographic variables (Table 3) showed that only employment relationship associated significantly with the Task dimension (p=0.03), with teachers working for the state being more concerned than those working for the municipality (p=0.03).

Table 3 Teachers ‘concerns by sociodemographic variables 

Concern Dimensions
Variables Self Task Task Impact
M (SD) M (SD) M (SD)
Gender Female 2.63 (1,03) 3.66 (0.89) 3.80 (0.96)
Male 2.58 (0,90) 3.34 (0.73) 3.58 (0.94)
P 0.81* 0.06* 0.30*
Academic Background Undergraduate degree 2.67 (0,90) 3.55 (0.87) 3.80 (0.89)
Graduate degree 2.47 (1,17) 3.51 (0.80) 3.53 (1.10)
P 0.37* 0.83* 0.23*
Employment Relationship State 2.74 (0,95) 3.78 (0.75) a 3.88 (0.83)
City 2.55 (1,04) 3.30 (0.86) b 3.50 (1.03)
State and City 2.30 (0,87 3.36 (0.94) a/b 3.80 (1.10)
P 0.38** 0.03** 0.19**
Working time Partial (<40 weekly hours) 2.42 (1,23) 3.52 (0.97) 3.56 (0.91)
Full (40 weekly hours) 2.67 (1,03) 3.47 (0.82) 3.73 (0.94)
Excessive (>40 weekly hours) 2,61 (0,77) 3.71 (0.82) 3.83 (1.02)
P 0.71** 0.49** 0.67**
Age Group Up to 29 years old 3.20 (1,08) 3.55 (0.92) 4.00 (0.81)
30 to 39 years old 2.54 (0,90) 3.35 (0.77) 3.59 (0.88)
40 to 49 years old 2.54 (1,08) 3.82 (0.91) 3.78 (1.23)
50 years or over 2.40 (0,83) 3.60 (0.78) 3.74 (0.72)
P 0.13** 0.20** 0.60**
Number of Schools One school 2.83 (1,16) a 3.68 (0.86) 3.86 (0.96)
Two schools 2.54 (0,90) b 3.35 (0.77) 3.59 (0.88)
Three schools or more + 2.73 (0,91) a/b 3.26 (0.73) 3.72 (0.86)
P 0.06** 0.13** 0.50**
Multiple Jobs No multiple jobs 2.73 (1,00) 3.47 (0.85) 3.70 (0.91)
Multiple internal teaching jobs 2.46 (1,00) 3.54 (0.94) 3.72 (0.97)
Multiple teaching jobs 2.73 (0,84) 3.67 (0.82) 3.94 (0.84)
Multiple jobs Multiple roles 2.62 (1,06) 3.58 (0.69) 3.59 (1.12)
P 0.96** 0.80** 0.92**

Legend: *Probability estimated by t-test; ** Probability estimated by Anova for independent samples.

Source: the authors

However, it should be noted that the analysis of the gender variable (p=0.06) showed association close to the level of significance adopted for this study with the Task dimension. In addition, the number of schools variable showed a similar characteristic of level of association with the Self dimension (p=0.06). Analyzing the gender variable, women (M=3.66, SD=0.89) were more concerned with the Task dimension than men were (M=3.34, SD=0.73). On the other hand, teachers working at only one school (M=3.68, SD=0.86) were more concerned with the Self dimension than those working at two schools (M=3.35, SD=0, 77) (p=0.05).

Discussion

Assessing the profile of the teachers investigated, most of them reported having only undergraduate degree, although specialization courses help in career advancement17),(18. However, the fact that the teachers in this study are mostly linked to schools in the state is due to the number of public tenders in the education networks researched. Moreover, the greater demand for the state education network may be related to better salary and career plan compared to the municipal network17),(18.

Full working time relates to the insertion of the professional in the work environment of Physical Education, which is diverse. Thus, teachers are able to work in different spaces and fill and/or overload working hours to have a decent salary for personal and family needs19. In addition, multiple internal teaching jobs are also quite recurrent in the teaching profession. It is common that younger teachers do not have the opportunity to fill their working hours at only one school in the network he or she is employed.

Another common characteristic observed in this study was the feminization of the teaching profession. In fact, historically, women are seen as caregivers of children and youths and watch out for their children’s education, while men, with urbanization and industrialization, have gained greater possibilities and opportunities to work20.

About concerns, studies carried out in the North American 21),(22 and Brazilian9 realities with physical education teachers presented similar evidence. Teachers were more concerned with the Task Impact dimension and showed lower concern scores with the Self dimension21),(23. Additionally, they were most concerned with the Task Impact and Task dimensions in all cycles9. In contrast, a Turkish study that investigated trainee students23 identified that the Task dimension presented the highest index of concern. The differences of results in those studies can be related to the professional and cultural reality of the analyzed groups, which did not specifically include Physical Education teachers. Thus, it can be seen that the difference between the groups of teachers can be explained by the specificity of the teaching activity in each area, as well as the reality found in each school unit.

The similarity found between the Self and Task dimensions with entry-level teachers can be explained by the characteristics of this career phase, because the application of knowledge acquired during initial training to support planning and pedagogical practice are the focus of the concerns found in the task dimension. Besides, the shock with the reality of teaching, the situations experienced in the first years of the career and interactions in the school environment are all associated with the Self dimension7),(10.

The detailed assessment of concerns by professional development cycles showed that teachers in the Renewal cycle were more concerned with the Task dimension compared to those in the Consolidation cycle. Studies conducted by Wendt and Bain21 and Conkley22 evidenced similar results, with differences associated with the characteristics of each phase. Whereas teachers in the Consolidation cycle are engaged with their job to acquire professional skills, those in the Career Renewal cycle are directing their efforts to improving education, where they use their experiences in the school reality to contribute to colleagues7.

The analysis of concerns by sociodemographic variables evidenced that teachers working only for the state network were more concerned with the Task dimension than those working for the municipal network were.

With regard to the associations that reached low levels of significance, women were more concerned with the Task dimension, and teachers working at only one school were more concerned with the Self dimension. In fact, other authors have shown similar results in relation to gender9),(24),(25),(26),(27, and this characteristic may be related to the double shift that women face because of family routine and professional responsibilities, and work environment problems might amplify the concerns. As for number of schools where teachers work at, those teaching in an educational unit can create greater affinities and involvement with school activities2),(5, which can lead to relationship issues between teachers and other members of the school community19.

Conclusions

Analyzing the evidence presented in the study, it is concluded that the teachers presented less concern with Self and higher concern levels with the Task and Task Impact dimensions. The smaller concern with the Self dimension may be associated with the fact that teachers are permanent professionals in the public service, which may lead to greater professional stability. In this sense, the teachers were more concerned with the product and with the tasks that make up their pedagogical action than with their survival in the school environment. However, it is necessary to emphasize that entry-level teachers presented similar indexes of concern with Self and Task, which can be explained by the characteristic of the entry cycle in the career and of the phase related to the probationary stage before being hired as permanent public servants.

It is emphasized that the greater involvement of teachers in the cycle of Career renewal with the school context causes greater concern with the Task dimension. Thus, this result partly refutes the Concern Theory, according to which at the end of the teaching career teachers as less concerned with the Task dimension.

However, it is important to highlight that Self concerns do not disappear during professional development, they only lessen. This fact shows that throughout their careers, teachers continue to present, even though in a minimal way, concerns regarding the Self dimension.

The greater concern of women and teachers working for the state with the Task dimension may be linked to the overload of activities developed in their personal and professional life, as well as the fact that the state network presents a deficit of physical and pedagogical structure compared to the municipal network. In addition, a teacher’s greater involvement with only one school favors the emergence of concerns related to survival in the workplace.

Thus, when considering the evidence of this study, future researches are suggested in order to analyze the social reality in which the school is inserted, in addition to investigating other professionals who work at the school to provide a broader picture of the school environment. Finally, education networks and authorities should be attentive to teachers in the school environment with the aim of improving working conditions both in the material and the human aspect so that concerns with the Self and Task dimensions are resolved and that the focus of a teacher’ concerns is Task Impact, which is important for the proper development of the teacher’s pedagogical work and the student’s learning, for being the focus of the teaching profession.

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Received: August 24, 2017; Revised: November 13, 2017; Accepted: January 21, 2018

Author address: Rua Santos Dumont, 1292, Zona 03, apartamento 103, Maringá - PR. E-mail: suelen.vv91@gmail.com

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