04 SES 06 F JS, Inclusivity within Physical Education, Physical Activity and Sport
Joint Paper Session NW 04 and NW 18
In previous research of inclusive physical education (PE) there is often a focus on pupils with visible physical differences, and how to facilitate and adapt physical education for them to play an active role and feel included in the educational situation (e.g. Vickerman & Coates, 2009b; Overton, Wrench & Garrett, 2016; Lieberman & Block, 2017; Fitzgerald & Stride, 2012; Healy et al., 2013). This line of research shows that for many pupils the demands in PE makes them feel less confident and often leads to an experience of failure:
”Because I can’t walk well, I can’t run well, I can’t do volleyball well, I can’t do any kind of sport well…I’m just no good. I call myself a no good person, you know when I get there in the PE class”. (Blinde & McAllister, 1998, p.67)
Many important lessons regarding inclusion have emerged from this important field. Less is however known about more ‘invisible’ variations. In Sweden for example many pupils who are diagnosed with neurodevelopmental disorders (NDD) such as ADHD and Autism are included in regular classes. We know that these pupils often are more sensitive to demands, stressful situations and they have to struggle to decode social interactions between peers. When it comes to lessons in PE we don’t know much about how they perceive the education situation and what they need for PE to be successful and inclusive for them.
With the purpose to explore processes of inclusion- and exclusion in classes where pupils with NDD are included, we are looking at events that take place during lessons. During a PE-lesson a multitude of events executed by the teacher as well as the pupils can be observed. Events and experience are also two key elements in Dewey’s pragmatist philosophy and they have been successfully utilized in previous research in PE (e.g. Quennerstedt et al., 2014; Öhman et al., 2014; Andersson, 2014). Using pragmatism involves understanding the world as built on the consequences of our actions, problem oriented, pluralistic and rooted in the practice of daily life (Cresswell, 2013). In this study, pragmatism accordingly offers a way of understanding value dimensions of inclusive PE in terms of relations between individual and context (Maivorsdotter, 2012).
The aim of this interview study is to explore how some of these pupils experience the lesson planning and execution of PE practice. The focus is on inclusion and exclusion processes and the main research question is: What becomes of Physical Education in classes where pupils with neurodevelopmental disorders (NDD) are integrated?
Data generation found in previous research regarding inclusion in PE are mainly qualitative and often consists of semi-structured, individual interviews with pupils (Fitzgerald & Stride, 2012; Spencer-Cavaliere & Watkinson, 2010; Healy et al., 2013). This led us to follow the same path and my data assemblage consists of seven field observations and 15 in-depth interviews with pupils in three classes ages 10-11, within two different schools in the same municipality. The municipality has been granted money from Swedish authorities to develop knowledge and tools that provide a more favorable school situation in general for pupils with neurodevelopmental disorders. The selection of respondents is based on the events that took place during the observed PE lessons. No knowledge of which students were diagnosed with NDD were gathered beforehand and for that reason the sample also consists of pupils without diagnosis. This was a conscious choice based on an ambition not to label pupils with a particular diagnosis and also a curiosity of what the class as a whole experience during their ‘inclusive’ PE lessons. In the context of this study there is a connection between sitting by as an observer during lessons and later conducting interviews where you get an opportunity to ask about certain events that were observed during class. This created a situation where you could get “thick descriptions” (Geertz, 1994) of certain observed events. To create a frame around the interviews 6 theme cards were used from which the pupils could choose one topic at the time. The words on the cards were collected from the practical events that was observed during lessons. Rubin & Rubin (2005) describes individual interviews as “a conversational partnership” which is important to establish during the gathering of data and the ambition was to conduct these types of conversations with the pupils in the study.
During the observation sessions of these PE lessons a number of events have been documented. Practices of exclusion of the pupils with NDD was particularly striking in one of the schools and during the interviews pupils gave voice to criticism of the way these lessons were organized. They never knew beforehand what the agenda for the upcoming lesson was and they had little knowledge about what was expected of them. This seems to have led to a strong reluctance to participate actively in these lessons. Examples of successful inclusive practices for the pupils with NDD was also evident in the other school and some factors that might have contributed to this situation will hopefully be presented.
Andersson, J. (2014). Kroppsliggörande, erfarenhet och pedagogiska processer: en undersökning av lärande av kroppstekniker. Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Educational Sciences, Department of Education. Blinde, E. M. & McAllister, S. G. (1998). Listening to the voices of students with physical disabilities. Journal of Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, 69(6), 64 – 68. Fitzgerald, H. & Stride, A. (2012). Stories about Physical Education from Young People with Disabilities. International Journal of Disability, Development and Education. Vol.59, No. 3, September 2012, 283-293 Geertz, C. (1994). Thick descriptions: Toward an interpretive theory of culture. Readings in the Philosophy of Social Science. Michael Martin, Lee C. McIntyre (Red.) Healy, S., Msetfi, R. & Gallagher, S. (2013). ‘Happy and a bit nervous’: the experiences of children with autism in physical education. British Journal of Learning Disabilities, 41, 222 – 228. John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Lieberman, L.J. & Block, M. (2017). Inclusive settings in adapted physical activity – a worldwide reality? Routledge Handbook of Physical Education Pedagogies, 2017. Maivorsdotter, N. (2012). Idrottsutövandets estetik : en narrativ studie om meningsskapande och lärande. (PhD dissertation). Örebro. Retrieved from http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-20405 Overton, H., Wrench, A. & Garrett, R. (2016). Pedagogies for inclusion of junior primary students with disabilities in PE. Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, DOI: 10.1080/17408989.2016.1176134 Rubin, H.J. & Rubin, I.S. (2005) Qualitative Interviewing (2nd ed.): The Art of Hearing Data Sage publication, Sage books. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4135/9781452226651 Spencer-Cavaliere, N. & Watkinson, E.J. (2010). Inclusion understood from the perspectives of children with disability. Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly, 2010, 275 – 293. Human Kinetics, Inc. Vickerman, P. & Coates, J. K. (2009). Trainee and recently qualified physical education teachers’ perspective on including children with special educational needs. Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, 14:2, 137-153 Quennerstedt, M. et al. (2014). What did they learn in school today? A method for exploring aspects of learning in physical education. European Physical Education Review 2014, Vol. 20(2) 282–302. Öhman et al. (2014). Competing for ideal bodies: a study of exergames used as teaching aids in schools. Critical Public Health.
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