The professional development of the Physical Education staff. 

An opportunity to improve their performance

El desarrollo profesional del profesorado de Educación Física. Una oportunidad para mejorar su desempeño


*Director del Instituto de Investigación y Posgrado de la Facultad de Cultura Física

Profesor Titular Auxiliar Tiempo Completo, Universidad Central del Ecuador

**Docente de la Unidad Educativa Municipal “Sebastián de Benalcázar”

***Docente de la Unidad Educativa Municipal "Julio E. Moreno"

****Docente Titular, Auxiliar Tiempo Completo de la Facultad

de Cultura Física de la Universidad Central del Ecuador

*****Docente del Colegio Nacional “Amazonas”

******Docente de Inglés y Bachillerato Internacional

en la Unidad Educativa “Juan de Salinas” de Sangolquí


PhD. Ángel Freddy Rodríguez Torres*


Lic. Diego Fernando Rodríguez Morillo**


MSc. José Ricardo Garcés Ángulo***


MSc. Valeria Deifilia Granda Encalada****


MSc. Pablo Santiago Reinoso Torresano*****


MSc. Mónica Lucia Caranqui Quiguango******







          Professional development obeys to a phase of personal growth, which is related to self-improvement with social influence, especially by specific postgraduate training programs and by the need for self-improvement in terms of competence and preparation to face the challenges and constant needs of the new generations. However, not all academic areas count on programs for the development of its professionals; such is the case of Physical Education teachers of the Republic of Ecuador, who have no professional training plan, which avoids a constant update and development of the competences for a proper professional performance. This paper is aimed at describing and theoretically analyzing the professional development of the Physical Education staff in the country and how it can influence their teaching performance, for which a systematic bibliographic review was carried out. The most relevant conclusions determined the lack of a planning that favors the professional development of the teachers, affecting their professional life. In that regard, the Ministry of Education must generate training processes for an improvement of their teaching performance.

          Keywords: Physical education. Professional development. Teaching effectiveness.



          El desarrollo profesional obedece a una fase de crecimiento personal, el cual se relaciona con la auto-superación individual con influencia social, en especial por programas específicos de capacitación posgraduada y por la necesidad de auto-crecimiento en términos de competencias y preparación para afrontar los retos y las necesidades constantes de las nuevas generaciones. Sin embargo, no todas las áreas académicas cuentan con programas para el desarrollo de sus profesionales, tal es el caso de los docentes de Educación Física en la República del Ecuador, quienes no cuentan con un plan de capacitación profesional, impidiendo una continua actualización y desarrollo de las competencias para un adecuado desempeño profesional. El objetivo del presente trabajo fue describir y analizar teóricamente el desarrollo profesional que tiene el profesorado de Educación Física en el país y como puede incidir en su gestión docente, para lo cual se realizó una revisión bibliográfica sistemática. Las conclusiones más relevantes determinaron carencias de una planificación que permita el desarrollo profesional de los docentes de Educación Física, afectando su vida profesional. En este sentido, el Ministerio de Educación tiene que generar procesos de capacitación al profesorado de Educación Física que influya de manera significativa en su gestión docente.

          Palabras clave: Educación física. Desarrollo profesional. Efectividad docente.


Reception: 09/19/2016 - Acceptance: 02/18/2017


1st Review: 01/15/2017 - 2nd Review: 02/10/2017


Lecturas: Educación Física y Deportes, Revista Digital. Buenos Aires, Año 21, Nº 225, Febrero de 2017. http://www.efdeportes.com/

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    The constant change of the present day society brings as a consequence the statement of new demands for professionals and so the educational field requires well prepared teachers to face these challenges, determining whether the initial training and the professional development play a leading role to attain that goal.

    The Ministry of Education has focused its attention in the formation of teachers through free and standardized courses according to the curricular guidelines of the National Education Authority. Nevertheless, Physical Education teachers must overcome big obstacles, since they are lack of formation processes that allow an improvement of their professional performance, contributing, in a better way to a quality physical education.

    The academic staff is a key element in education. Several studies show that the quality of the professors is one of the most influencing factors in the learning and performance of students. Therefore, to support and strengthen a quality teaching profession it must be a priority in any society, and to achieve that goal it is essential to know the learning environment of the centers and the working conditions of the staff (Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport, 2014, p.7)

    One of the challenges of education is counting on suitable people for that profession. Unfortunately, in Latin America, those who choose pedagogical careers are academically less brilliant than the total of the higher education students (Bruns y Luque, 2014).

    One of the first challenges to discuss is to get the best students for the profession. Many people that decide to be teachers should be motivated by the satisfaction of making students learn, develop their potential and become responsible citizens and confident of themselves. Teaching not always attracts the best candidates (UNESCO, 2014).

    UNESCO has set four strategies to have the best teachers:

    Attract the best teachers, improve their training, distribute educators more equitably and provide incentives as appropriate salaries and attractive career plans (UNESCO, 2014, p. 45).

    From the OCDE’s study about Teaching and Learning TALIS 2013, are obtained the following conclusions in relation to the importance of the education staff:

    Therefore, and given the importance of the present paper, the aim of the research is to describe and analyze in theory the professional development of the Physical Education staff in the country, and how it can influence the teaching management, for which a systematic bibliographic review was carried out.


    To develop this paper, some ideas stated by Sánchez & Botella (2010) applicable to the reviews were taken into account. In that regard, the intention is to answer the question of what a paradigm is and which are used the most by the scientific community. To attain that goal was made a search of studies based on the following criteria of material selection: works referring to the professional development of the Physical Education staff in the country. Once the criterion of study selection was set, it was carried out the searching process and the pertinent analysis of the content.

    The scientific literature about the topics defined was reviewed; the materials used were research papers, theoretical articles, Phd theses, books, and others. Based on the scientific literature analyzed was carried out an interpretative revision of the information found, defining research studies and theoretical works. The analysis of the information was carried out in an inductive way, since as the material was studied, different elements and fundamentals began to emerge, allowing to understand the way the professional development of the teachers took place, as well as their impact in their professional performance, as it is defined by Sánchez (2010) and Abad et al. (2013).

Physical Education and the staff

    Physical Education (PE) as school discipline contributes specifically to the physical and comprehensive school development of the citizen, its contributions are oriented towards the future graduate, turning them into people capable of building up their body, motor and social and autonomous identity, developing skills that allow them to grow as a citizen of rights in the framework of a democratic state (Ministry of Education, 2016a).

    Physical Education contributes to the comprehensive formation of the Ecuadorian citizens through a permanent and systematic process, which guarantees their plain participation in the national development in order to cultivate social and moral values, with a creative capacity to increase the educative and sport level.

    The Coordinating Ministry of Knowledge and Human Talent (2012) in the article “Hacia el país del conocimiento” (Towards the country of knowledge), states the importance of the physical activity in the holistic and comprehensive development of the human being, and is described below:

    Sport can be used to strengthen the holistic intelligence, because it causes the simultaneous operation of different areas of the brain; stimulates the strategic thinking when medium term predictions are established to attain goals and roadmaps are designed; it works on the logical-rational intelligence when success probabilities are calculated or the rival’s tactic is analyzed; it creates discipline and effectiveness when the working plans are implemented; and generally all of this is done with commitment and passion.

    […] Some studies show that the learning levels at every age increase when the process is ludic and existential […]

    […] The regular practice of sports or the physical activity improves the quality of life and the potential of the Human Talent, that is to say, it is an instrument of preventive health that increases the systemic productivity.

    […] Health can be defined as the complete state of physical, mental and social balance in harmony with life given the environment and not only as the absence of diseases. Sport can become an essential factor of public health. First, as a tool to develop holistic intelligence, making people capable of reducing the distance between what they long for and what they accomplish; second, the practice of sports favors the expectations of an active and relatively long life due to its physiological and psychological benefits; and third, as a public show or family activity it can contribute to social integration in different levels, which is part of the gregarious nature of the human being.

    Therefore, sports can be an instrument of rescue and assessment of the cultural diversity, acknowledging the extraordinary performance of an African-Ecuadorian, a native, a white person or a mixed-race person, which unquestionably prints an inclusive collective conscience. Likewise, it contributes to cognitive development and to the construction of a system of beliefs and collective values (pp. 47-50).

    There is theoretical evidence that physical exercise has a strong influence in the improvement of intellectual and cognitive abilities (Cárdenas, Zamora & Calero, 2016), supported on functional changes from the practice of physical activity and sports. Several studies have found a positive relationship between the physical activity and the academic performance […] that support the idea that by dedicating some substantial time to physical activity in educative centers, might bring social and academic benefits in children and youths (Ramírez, Vinaccia & Ramón, 2004; UNESCO, 2015a).

    A challenge of the Physical Education is to develop a physically literate person (UNESCO, 2015a quotes Whitehead, 2010), which are characterized as follows:

    Physically literate people are secure and confident of themselves in tune with their motor skills. They show solid control and coordination and can respond to the demands of a shifting environment; get along with people, showing sensitiveness in the verbal and non-verbal communication and will have empathic relationships. The physically literate individual enjoys discovering new activities and will pleasantly take in advice and guidance, trusting in the knowledge that they will success. The individual will appreciate the intrinsic value of the physical education as well as its contribution to health and wellbeing and will be able to look ahead all along his life hoping that the practice of physical education continues to be part of his life (p. 24).

    Unhealthy food and the lack of physical activity are the main causes of non-transmissible diseases […]. Other illnesses related to bad nutrition and lack of physical activity, such as dental decay and osteoporosis are extended causes of morbidity (WHO, 2004, p.2).

The professional development of the teaching staff

    The strengthening of the teaching profession is today one of the main concerns of the Latin American governments. To ensure the quality of those who choose the profession is one of the dominant axes of the educative policy, although there is consensus in the fact that good teachers are determining factors in order to achieve educative quality (Vaillant, 2016).

    The professional development of the academic staff is also known as permanent formation, continuous formation, service formation, lifelong learning, among others.

    “Professional development is an indispensable tool for the school improvement” (Vaillant & Marcelo, 2015, p. 124).

    For Castro & Martínez (2016) the professional development of the staff is

    A continuous process in which professors commit to transform some of their conceptions and practices about pedagogy, methodology and didactics in order to find new paths that allow satisfying the needs or interests of their own contexts (p. 40).

    The European Commission focuses on the professional development of the academic staff, which must be coherent with the needs and requirements of the community, for which they state the following:

    The professional development of teachers is a lifelong process that begins in the initial training of the teachers and concludes with retirement. Generally, this lifelong process is divided in specific phases. The first refers to the preparation of the teachers during the initial training, in which those who want to become a teacher master the basic knowledge and skills. The second stage is the first independent steps as teachers, the first years of confrontation with the reality of being a school teacher. This phase is generally called the induction stage. The third phase is the continuous professional development of those teachers who have overcome the first challenges of becoming teachers (European Commission, 2010, p. 3).

    Research studies show that the quality of the teachers is significantly and positively related to the students’ achievements, which is an important aspect inside the school, since it explains the performance of the students. In addition, other studies have found positive relations between the teacher’s training and the student’s performance, and suggest the a program of on duty training increased the accomplishments of the children (Commission of the European Communities, 2007).

Legal fundamentals in Ecuador about the professional development of the professorate

    The public policy in relation to the professional development of the teaching staff is based on the objectives of the Plan Nacional para el Buen Vivir (National Plan for Good Living) 2013-2017 and is articulated in the Decennial Education Plan 2016-2015, as in the Constitution of the Republic 2008, the Organic Law of Intercultural Education and its regulations, fostering important changes in the national educative practices and new challenges for the work and the teaching training: “The Law recognizes and highly values the work of the teaching staff as an essential factor to achieve an education of quality” (Fabara, 2013, p. 20), as it is described in table 1.

Table 1. Plans and regulations of the professional development of the teaching staff

Plans and regulations


National Plan for Good Living (2013-2017)

Objective 4: To strengthen the abilities and potential of the citizenship

Policies and strategic guidelines

4.5. To strengthen the role of teachers and other professionals of the sector as key actors in the construction of Good Living

b. To foster the continuous update of the academic knowledge of the teachers, as well as strengthening their pedagogical abilities for the comprehensive development of the student in the framework of an integral, inclusive and intercultural education (SENPLADES, 2013, p. 171).


Proposal of the educative community as supply for the new Decennial Education Plan 2016-2025

Policy 1: To guarantee learning opportunities to develop a fair, helpful and innovator community

Goal and strategic policy actions

To increase the percentage of teachers with excellent and satisfactory results in national evaluations
Comprehensive professional training: continuous and fourth level formation for the teachers of the Magisterio Fiscal (Fiscal Faculty) with cultural pertinence, both at disciplinary and pedagogical level, as well as to develop research-action competences in the classroom or in the educative spaces, aspects that this 4th level training gives to the live of a professional (Ministry of Education, 2016b, p. 88-89)

Constitution of the Republic (2008)

In article 349, the State must guarantee the teaching personnel in all levels and modalities, stability, update, continuous formation and pedagogical and academic improvement and a fair payment according to the professional level, the performance and the academic merits. The laws that regulate the teaching career must set a national evaluation system for the performance and the payment policy at all levels. That is to say, it is necessary to put in practice policies of promotion, mobility and alternation of the academic staff (Asamblea, 2008, p. 162).

Organic Law of Intercultural Education - LOEI (2011)

Article 10, item a sets that the teachers of the public sector have the following right: “To have free access to processes of professional development, training, update, continuous training, pedagogical and academic improvement at all levels and modalities, according to their needs and the National Education System’s” (Ministry of Education, 2012, p. 62).

Article 112 states that the professional development is a permanent and comprehensive process of psycho-pedagogical and educative science update. It promotes the continuous training of the teacher through academic incentives such as scholarships for postgraduate studies, access to professionalization in the University of Education or the economic bonus for those with best scores in the evaluation process carried out by the Institute of Evaluation.

The professional development of the teachers of the fiscal educative system leads to the improvement of their knowledge, skills and competences, which will allow increases inside the categories of the rankings and/or the promotion from one function to another (Ministry of Education, 2012, p. 107-108).

Regulations of the Organic Law of Intercultural Education - LOEI (2012)

Article 311 is related to the permanent training processes for education professionals. The National Educative Authority, in order to improve the competences of the professionals of education, certifies, designs and executes processes of training related to the needs detected from the evaluation processes and the needs in tune with curricular, scientific and technological changes that affect their work (Ministry of Education, 2012, p. 238).

Created by the authors

The professional development of the Physical Education

    The professional development of the Physical Education teacher allows strengthening the effectiveness of the active professorship through a training based on the respect of the human rights and the principles of the inclusive education. For that reason, the continuous professional development (CPD) of the teacher must be mandatory, structured, systematic, and a political priority. The CPD should be destined to increase and protect the professional standards, in order to deepen and widen the knowledge and the abilities of the teacher and become an entity that stimulates the youths to practice the physical activity during their idle time and out of the school life (UNESCO, 2015a).

    The International Charter of Physical Education, Physical Activity and Sport in Article 7 # 7.1 states that “All personnel who assume professional responsibility for physical education, physical activity and sport must have appropriate qualifications, training and access to continuous professional development.(UNESCO, 2015b, p. 6). This leads to count of enough quality teachers and educators with collaborative and active pedagogical approaches centred in the students (UNESCO, 2015c).

    The Ministry of Education implemented the Comprehensive System of Professional-Educative Development (SíProfe in Spanish) that intends to improve the quality of the education and professional development of teachers and other actors of the Ecuadorian educative system. It has been in charge of developing processes of continuous training since year 2008, through courses of continuous training for teachers of the Magisterio Fiscal, on topics that the SER tests have pointed as weakness (Rodríguez, 2015).

    The SíProfe shows it is strategically aimed at “increasing the skills and the performance of the human talent quality specialized in education” (Ministry of Education, 2016c).

    According to the Ministry of Education (2015), the SíProfe executes five strategic actions:

  • Making explicit definitions of the quality performance of several actors of the system.

  • Improving the initial training of the education professionals

  • Improving the selection mechanisms for the admittance to teaching and for the professional promotion.

  • Establishing induction programs for those who insert a new function (new teachers)

  • Offering continuous training courses through the SíProfe.

    The Ministry of Education (2015) states that the “National Program of Continuous Training” has as transversal axis the principles of equity, inclusion, interculturality and respect to the rights established in the Constitution and in the Organic Law of Intercultural Education” (p. 15).

    The SíProfe has an additional goal to “Strengthen the Comprehensive System of the Professional Development in their levels of induction, continuous training and accompanying of the professionals of the national educative system, in correspondence with the initial training of the teacher” (Ministry of Education, 2015, p. 40).

    In regard to the permanent training of the professionals that work in the physical education, physical activity and sport area, the International Charter of Physical Education, Physical Activity and Sport in Article 7 number. 7.2 states that they must be recruited and trained in sufficient numbers to ensure they attain and sustain the competence necessary to nurture the rounded development and safety of all persons in their charge. […]” (UNESCO, 2015b, p. 6). For which it is necessary to create policies that guarantee that the teaching staff feels properly recruited, trained and recognized, professionally qualified and motivated […]. Quality education includes the development of skills, values, attitudes and knowledge that allow the citizens to live healthy lives and take informed decisions and respond to the local and global challenges (UNESCO, 2015c).

    (2015a) states that there are “no enough teachers specialized in physical education at all levels, which leads to a physical education taught by not properly trained personnel” (p. 70). This reality is also present in Ecuador, the increase of the working hours from 2 to 5 hours a week in Basic Education (1st to 10th grade), has generated a deficit of Physical Education teachers to fill these posts, and they have been covered by physical exercise professionals, therefore non-qualified to develop the process effectively, this has influence in the achievement of a quality physical education.

    The Ministry of Education through the SíProfe program has trained the professorship of different school subjects, but unfortunately it is not enough for the physical education area, which means exclusion for their professional development, since only the teachers of the so called “basic subjects” have the opportunity to access specialty courses, as it is described in the following chart:

Chart 1. Description of course offers


Courses 2008-2012

Courses since 2013


  • Orientation and reception for new Initial Education teachers

  • Orientation and reception for new Initial Education teachers

  • Orientation and reception for new General and Basic Education (GBE) and High School teachers

  • Orientation and reception for new Initial Education teachers

  • Orientation and reception for new General Basic Education (GBE)and High School teachers

Remedial class

  • Didactics of Natural Sciences GBE

  • Didactics of Social Sciences GBE

  • Didactics of Mathematics GBE

  • Didactics of the critic thinking in the classroom

  • Initial Education I

  • Learning Assessment

  • Educative inclusion

  • Introduction to Information and Communication Technologies ICTs I

  • Critic Reading I

  • Pedagogy and didactics

  • Prevention and initial approach of sexual crimes in the educative area

  • Evaluation and Learning

  • Pedagogy and Didactics

  • Information technologies and Communication II

  • Pedagogical management for direction personnel

  • Support and follow up in the classroom for direction personnel

  • Educative leadership for direction personnel

  • Spanish Didactics GBE

  • Social Science Didactics GBE

  • Critic Reading 2

  • Critic Reading 3

  • Interculturality and education

  • Curricular adjustments for students with special needs

  • Gender and education

  • Sexuality Education

  • Fostering of the Good Living

  • Development of abilities for high school youths

  • Risk management

  • Learning environment for initial education

  • Educative inclusion


  • First grade curricular update of GBE

  • Curricular CCNN update from 4th to 7th grade GBE

  • Curricular CCNN update from 8th to 1st grade GBE

  • Curricular EESS update from 2nd to 7th grade GBE

  • Curricular EESS update from 8th to 1st grade GBE

  • Curricular update of Spanish and Literature from 2nd to 7th grade GBE

  • Curricular update of Spanish and Literature from 8th to 1st grade GBE

  • Curricular Mathematics update from 2nd to 7th grade GBE

  • Curricular Mathematics update from 8th to 1st grade GBE

  • Introduction to curricular update

  • Introduction to General Unified High School, Math area

  • Introduction General Unified High School, Chemistry area

  • Didactic material

  • General Unified High School

  • Technical High School

  • Curricular updates Coast and Sierra Rural 1st grade GBE

  • Curricular updates Coast and Sierra Rural 2nd to 7th grade GBE

  • Curricular updates Coast and Sierra Rural 4th to 7th grade GBE CCNN

  • Curricular updates Coast and Sierra Rural 8th to 10th grade GBE


Source: Ministry of Education (2015)

    The Ministry of Education (2016b) trained the physical education professorship through the “Aprendiendo en Movimiento” (Learning in Motion) program (120 hours). This program considers that it is possible to learn while being in motion, and that is a lifelong learning, having the following groups of topics: a) let’s assemble a circus, b) let’s recover the traditional games, c) let’s be athletes, d) let’s be gymnasts, e) let’s dance, and f) game with elements (Ministry of Education, 2014).

    The permanent training received by the Physical Education professorship is not coherent with their professional performance, becoming sometimes into a straightjacket without being based on the requirements of the teacher and the educative center. Furthermore, there are no training programs for the physical education teacher, this has led them to self-preparation with articles, books or the internet (Rodríguez, 2015); the teaching practice is not regularly evaluated according to teaching standards, they have no systematic training on child safeguarding and protection; there is non-conformity with the continuous training policy implemented by the Ministry of Education (Pascual & Fernández, 2005; UNESCO, 2015a; Rodríguez, 2015) among other essential aspects. Therefore, the permanent training should be designed to help the teachers learn to execute teaching tasks that allow the students learning to learn.

    In consequence, the educative system should enable the professional development of the professorship that allows them to respond properly to the demands of the current society, since the knowledge acquired in the initial training are not enough for the life of a professional. It requires a permanent update that contributes to a proper direction of the teaching-learning process, which demands of Physical Education teachers an academic and humane training (Hunt, 2009).

    Counting on a continuous professional development of the professorship will allow a higher effectiveness in the teaching-learning process, constantly updating their knowledge and adjusting them to the present day society, bringing about the development of different aspects in which Physical Education has influence on. Undoubtedly, the continuous training of the professorship is a social need exclusive of the educative system in order to achieve effectiveness in the teaching performance in all educative units of Quito Metropolitan District, referred in this paper, with environments that foster the self-esteem of the students and the positive and encouraging expectations for learning


    The continuous or permanent training of the physical education professionals is imperative before the demands of the global society in general and of the local society in particular, requiring a constant update, inclusion and attention to the educative diversity with innovations and new methods, an aspect tackled by the Ministry of Education of Ecuador, although there are difficulties for its implementation in the case of the professionals that teach Physical Education.

    The direction of the teaching-learning process of Physical Education requires the knowledge of the identity of this professional, expressed in their professional competences, starting from the object of study of this discipline and the possibility of reaching an efficient performance.


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