Risk and Safety Management in Physical Education: A Study of Teachers’ Practice Perspectives

Abstract

The aim of this article is to explore and understand teachers’ risk and safety management (RSM) practices in physical education (PE) programs in Norway. A survey questionnaire and semistructured interviews were therefore used to generate quantitative data on trends from a larger sample of teachers (n = 698) and rich in-depth qualitative data concerning teachers’ (n = 17) practices. By providing the teachers’ perspectives, a better understanding of the complexity of RSM in PE may be possible.

The results from both the survey and interviews suggest that teachers employ multiple strategies: from safety procedures, complying to compulsory risk measures, to the use of common sense in their RSM practices. The interviewees, on the other hand, initially claim that their RSM practice is quite scarce and, in some respects, not appropriate for PE.

They emphasize measures that cater to the students’ needs and modification to physical activities in their teaching. However, the interview data suggest that teachers do not primarily conceptualize this part of their practice as RSM but as measures of other pedagogical concerns. Combined, the results from both the survey and the interviews may characterize a RSM practice that relies on teaching experience and the use of discretion. The results in this article both converge and diverge and emphasize the importance of multiple data sources in investigating teachers’ RSM practices.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.3389/fspor.2021.663676

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