Beginner Physical Education Teacher And Concept Of Discipline: Comparison From Two Countries


Classroom indiscipline seems to be a massive problem among teacher. According to some research, the high per-cent of beginner primary school teacher (75 %) found that classroom indiscipline was the biggest issue during the first three years of their teacher path. Also, researchers showed that physical education teacher (novice and experienced ones) are also faced with classroom indiscipline. What are the main concepts for solving indiscipline issues during physical education classes? Is there a different approach to indiscipline issues in compare of two different educational systems? The main objective is to describe and compare the main concepts about classroom indiscipline which physical education teachers from two different countries face (the Czech Republic and Bosnia and Herzegovina). Research tool were semi-structured interviews conducted with eight physical education teachers from primary schools. Grounded theory, open coding and comparison of different content analyses were used for data analyses. Results showed us that the main concepts for teachers from different countries are building informal authority and choosing a vide scale of discipline tools for maintaining classroom discipline. For maintenance discipline and avoiding indiscipline issues during physical education classes is very important to build solid informal authority trough positive relationships with students and understanding their daily challenges. Furthermore, teachers could use also other tools for maintaining discipline during physical education classes.

Keywords: Novice teacherprimary schoolclassroom disciplinephysical education


Classroom discipline seems to be old as same as the school process. We could simplify the claim that there is no school without some kind of breaking the discipline. Classroom discipline still occupies the focus of schoolers and researches. For teachers, breaking a classroom discipline is a massive challenge (Simón & Alonso-Tapia, 2016; Šimoník, 1995).

School and classroom discipline is mostly identified with the general social system in a particular country or region. Discipline itself is changing with a changing society. In Western countries, society discipline evolved from using force over persuasion to self- control. Parallel, the school discipline was developed, firstly from the outset by coercion and pressure, then come to persuasion and self-discipline. A modern view of school discipline points to the pursuit of decent behaviour through social skills compared to the former influence of a rigorous despotic authority (Průcha, 2009). Classroom discipline could also be considered from socialization aspects, where teachers can develop moral values and positive attitudes (Zachos, Delaveridou, & Gkontzou, 2016). Teachers see the inappropriate, problematic, aggressive and embarrassing behaviour as the main reason for breaking (Galloway & Rogers, 1994).

Bendl (2004) defined discipline as “the conscious compliance of specified standards of behaviour”. Then for “the word ‘conscious’, we include in our definition for reason, because it is important that a person was aware of the standards that knew them and knew what behaviour is required of him” (p. 23).

Beginning physical education teacher

The teacher plays a massive role in the whole educational process and long-term children's educational development. According to Průcha, Walterová and Mareš (2009), the beginning teacher is a graduate from a university with the diploma and educational eligibility but without teaching experiences. Very characteristic for them is the absence of experience, the inability of self-reflection, the inability of assessing their work and assessing the mistakes they make during teaching practice. Janík et al. (2017) call this period of starting teacher's professional path as a key one. During this period the teacher reaches self-confirmation, there is also the beginning of the application of the knowledge learned at the time of study at the relevant pedagogical university.

This period is often very sensitive. Beginning teachers suddenly fall to the full stream of all teaching obligations where they are not completely ready for that. It is also often the critical period, where come to professional burnout, and quite often to drop-outs of beginning teachers from the teaching profession (Píšová & Hanušová, 2016).

School subject Physical education is spread across the globe and despite many cultural differences in different countries, there are crucial similarities about the aim and content of the subject (Quennerstedt, 2013). The authors Oliviera and Graça (2013) sought the problem of the occurrence of an indiscipline behaviour during the physical education class and find out that beginner teachers often take patterns of behaviour that involve lack of flexibility to understand the student’s breaking of discipline or use disproportionate punishment for a so-called trivial breaking of discipline.

Physical education teachers in the Czech Republic and Bosnia and Herzegovina

Some big differences from technical aspects are those that physical education teacher from Czech are holders of double degree university diplomas. They teach not only a physical education but also other subjects like Czech language and literature, English language and literature, Math, Geography or Biology, while their colleagues from Bosnia and Herzegovina are oriented only on subject Physical Education. Another one is that female physical education teachers teach female students while male teachers teach male students. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, there is no split a class according to gender. One teacher teaches both gender groups.

Problem Statement

Beginner physical education teacher faces many challenges. The situation about professional problems of beginning teachers in the Czech environment was mapped out by Šimoník (1995). This author found out that based on 24 particular teaching situations activities almost 75% of beginning teachers faced with the problem of maintaining discipline during classes. According to the National Center for Educational Statistics (1994-1995 Teacher Follow Survey, In Ingersoll & Smith, 2003) beginner teachers choose as the reason for leaving profession Problems with students discipline with almost 35% of the rate. Beginner physical education teacher has similar obstacles on start of his professional path (Gordon, 2016; Richards, Templin, & Graber, 2014).

Research Questions

For this paper, we formulate the following research questions: What are the main concepts for solving indiscipline issues during physical education classes? Is there a different approach to indiscipline issues in compare of two different educational systems?

Purpose of the Study

For this research, the objective is to describe and compare the several concepts about discipline, authority, strategies for solving violation of classroom discipline which beginner physical education teachers from the Czech Republic and Bosnia and Herzegovina face with. Regarding the fact that beginner physical education teacher met different issues on the start of his/her professional path, this paper tries to presents their view, experience and strategies on severe challenges due to classroom discipline and authority.

Research Methods

The main research method in this research was a semi-structured interview. All collected data from semi-structured interviews were additionally processed using open coding. With open coding, we created concepts to capture specific matters of facts. All developed terms are grounded in the data and have an abstract nature which encompasses ideas, principles and experiences. Axial coding (Corbin & Strauss, 2015) was the next step for searching theoretical connections between concepts. The final step was the choice of the central concept and formulation of the theory where we used selective coding. This final step of coding is the final stage of the coding and main aim is to identify, specify and to find basic, crucial and central categories for creating a concept of the whole context.


Participants were beginning physical education teachers in the first three years of their professional path. In total ten teachers from both countries have participated in the research. Five were from the Czech Republic (five female teachers) and five from Bosnia and Herzegovina (four male and one female teacher). All interviews were conducted face to face with the physical education teachers in their schools or public spaces like cafes and parks. Additionally, the interviews were transcribed by hand. The interviews took place from April till June 2019.


Based on the semi-structured interviews with beginner physical education teachers, the following concepts were created: a) Perception of the concept of discipline b) Teachers’ building authority; c) Teachers’ discipline-building; d) Adherence to discipline; e) Violation of discipline and solving of undisciplined behaviour.

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Table 2 -
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The result of this content analysis is several central concepts which are described in tables 01 to 05. According to these final results, it is clear that how beginner physical education teacher from two countries deal with the idea of discipline, authority and how they deal with breaking with discipline. Teachers from the Czech Republic perceive discipline as compliance of rules, with satisfying students' behaviour during classes. Their colleagues from Bosnia and Herzegovina see discipline as the absence of lesson interruption accompanied by positive behaviour of students. Czech teachers rely on informal authority, while teachers from Bosnia mostly count on formal authority (Table 01 ). The second concept shows how these beginner physical education teachers build authority. Czech teachers use informal authority together with their fair interaction with students. On the other hand, the Bosnian teacher relies on the creation of formal authority through fair and natural behaviour (Table 02 ). The third central concept shows that general strategy for building discipline is to plan an interesting lesson with strict rules. Bosnian teachers mostly use communication skills for motivation and creation positive working atmosphere (Table 03 ). Next concept represents an adherence of discipline, where teachers from the Czech Republic adhere discipline with voice commands, using a whistle and with the application of praises and punishment. Bosnian colleagues use some advice from their experienced colleagues. They also use communication and motivation skills for adherence the classroom discipline (Table 04 ). The final concept from this paper is breaking the classroom discipline (Table 05 ). In this concept Czech teachers dealt with different types of breaking discipline and established rules. A significant issue in a situation where the student performs bad skills and performance to finish some game as soon as possible. They solve these issues with verbal signals, using a whistle or talk with class teacher and principle, and put notes to students' record book. Their colleagues from Bosnia and Herzegovina dealt with truancy, vulgarism, equipment destroying etc. They usual exclude these students from the class or let them sit on the bench or corner. Furthermore, these students are sent to talk with principle, school pedagogue or psychologist. Discipline violation is accompanied by recording a note to the class book. For conclusion, we can say that beginner physical education teachers from both countries face similar discipline issues during the lesson, while some approach to solve them are different. Beginner physical education teachers from the Czech Republic use also punishment in the form of providing different physical exercises or activities. While Beginner physical education teachers from Bosnia and Herzegovina mostly use communication skills and act according to school rules. This research is qualitative and we cannot apply this conclusion on the whole population of physical education teachers. For more precisely data it is necessary to conduct more extensive researches.


The study was supported by the following projects: The novice physical education teacher in the context of the classroom discipline IGA_PdF_2019_034 & Professional self-concept of the beginning academic workers about their critical thinking, IGA_PdF_2019_033.


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07 November 2019

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Psychology, educational psychology, counseling psychology

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Balaban, V., Buchtová, T., & Chudý, Š. (2019). Beginner Physical Education Teacher And Concept Of Discipline: Comparison From Two Countries. In P. Besedová, N. Heinrichová, & J. Ondráková (Eds.), ICEEPSY 2019: Education and Educational Psychology, vol 72. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 398-406). Future Academy.