Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Amelia Lee


This study examined the effects of knowledge of subject matter (overhand throwing) and of throwing-specific instructional strategies on teacher's interactive thinking. The impact of these two categories of teacher knowledge on lesson objectives, the quality of skill practice, and kindergartners' overhand throwing development over a unit of instruction were also explored. Eight kindergarten classroom teachers who possessed high generic teaching skill competence taught a six-week overhand throwing unit to the children (N = 150) in their intact classes. Prior to the unit, four of the teachers were exposed to a training program that increased their knowledge of overhand throwing. Four teachers (comparison group) did not experience this knowledge training. During the throwing unit, stimulated recall interviews were conducted. The interviews were audiotaped, transcribed, and coded to evaluate teacher thoughts, decisions, concerns, information sources, awarenesses, and lesson objectives. In order to determine the quality of throwing practice, the student practice trials were videotaped and analyzed for frequency of opposite foot stepping. The students were pretested and posttested on an overhand throwing test that included a throw for distance, and a developmental stage assessment (foot, pelvic-spine, and arm actions). The results indicated that teachers' knowledge of subject matter and of content-specific instructional strategies play very important roles during throwing instruction. The knowledge that was acquired during the training sessions influenced the teachers' lesson objectives and interactive thinking. This resulted in higher quality decisions. Sound professional decision-making combined with instructional procedures and strategies which focused on specific developmental body actions enabled the knowledgeable teachers to conduct lessons where the students were engaged in a high number of correct practice trials, which in turn facilitated overhand throwing development/performance. Conversely, the knowledge deficient teachers demonstrated lesson objectives and interactive thoughts/decisions that lacked an awareness of overhand throwing developmental concepts. This resulted in poorer quality practice trials and decreased the likelihood of overhand throwing development/performance gains. The overall results support the view that formal physical education instruction in public school settings under the direction of knowledgeable teachers does make a difference.