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Practicum Teacher Spotlight: Physical Education

Updated: May 1, 2023

Prior to beginning student teaching, each McKay Student takes part in Practicum. For PETE students, this includes 4 different internship classes taken throughout their program. In these classes, students receive opportunities to teach elementary, middle, and high school PE lessons, as well as help coach a sport. Students assist teachers, teach activities, and help students succeed in the gym or on sports teams.

Physical Education Students complete their practicums in either the Nebo, Jordan, Wasatch, Alpine, or Provo School District. Depending on which grade you teach, you will have a different Practicum teacher.

We recently spoke with Professor David Barney about his experiences as a Practicum Teacher in the PETE program. Professor Barney teaches several PETE classes including PETE 364 (Motor Learning), PETE 231 (Basketball for the PE majors), and PETE 212 (Methods of Teaching Elementary PE for Elementary Education Majors). He is in charge of all students completing their High School Practicum.

About Professor David Barney

"I was born in Mesa, AZ, but grew up in Layton, Utah. I graduated from Weber State University [where] I majored in Physical Education and Minored in History. I served a full-time mission to the Philippines Manila Mission (81-83). I taught for 4 years in the Davis County School District, teaching PE and History on the junior high school level. I also coached basketball. I got my Master’s degree from Utah State and received my doctorate from Florida State University. Before teaching here at BYU, I taught at North Dakota State University in Fargo, ND (5 years) and Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, OK (5 years)."

"I am married and my wife’s name is Torri. We have 2 children. Sports has been a big part of my life, so I enjoy watching and participating in sports. I played basketball at many different levels and thoroughly enjoyed that. Unfortunately, my knees aren’t the same as they were when I was a young man, so I don’t play as much."

Work as a Practicum Teacher

"The work I do as a practicum teacher is setting up the placements (schools), getting schedules to the PE teachers, [and] working with the PE teachers to let them know what is expected from my BYU students. There are in-class preparations with the students, instructing them [on] what is expected of them. Then, when they are out... teaching, I go to the schools and observe... After their teaching we talk about their lesson, the activities and other matters. I have found this to be beneficial for the students and for myself."

The Best part about being a Practicum Teacher

There are many things I enjoy [about] teaching on the university level. By far the best thing is working with our students. BYU students are very bright, driven and professional. I have noticed that my students are not afraid to work, to learn and get out in the schools and “DO” what is expected of them. My students are pleasant, they are fun to be around. It really makes my job so fun and enjoyable. I really feel we (the PE professors) have a great, positive culture among each other and with our students. Thus, making my job so enjoyable and very fulfilling.

Additional Thoughts

I have enjoyed my research throughout my career in higher education, and what I have learned and how it has better informed my teaching. I feel it has helped my students in their preparation to become a PE teacher. When I first became a professor, I was a bit overwhelmed with the ideas of conducting research, but as time has gone by, [I've found] I really enjoy the process.

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