Proxemic Behaviour in Pre-service Teacher Training in Physical Education
Pre-service university training in Spain is currently the domain of generic and specific skills which enable graduates to respond effectively to social demands. The main occupation of the physical activity professionals consists of managing groups or individuals who are practising and learning motor activities. The necessary interaction that takes place in this process leads communication skills to play a major role in training. The students in this study led simulated teaching sessions and evaluated themselves and their classmates. Following the sessions, they produced self-reports that revealed proxemic difficulties. These difficulties straddled four categories: Teacher orientation and position; group position and organisation; teacher movement and physical and affective distance-immediacy established between teacher and students. They realised that poor teacher position and orientation vis-à-vis the group hampered proper communication, even leading to disruptive behaviour. They also realised that group organisation cannot be left to chance, in view of its influence on the methodological models followed and their importance in learning, and that the proxemic behaviour of students in a class can provide valuable information for teachers, both for learning and with regard to the emotions that condition the session, such as inhibition in certain body expression exercises. Finally, the students underscored the importance of both physical and emotional immediacy to create an optimal teaching and learning space.