18 SES 00 PS, General Poster Exhibition - NW 18
Posters can be viewed in the General Poster Exhibition throughout the ECER week.
Providing inclusive settings and equal opportunities is becoming one of the main goals in society. Sport is one of the domains in which inclusion can occur (Van der Veken et al., 2020) and considerable research (e.g. May et al., 2019; Ryuh et al., 2019) focuses on the inclusive sport. On a principal level, inclusive sport is an environment in which athletes with and without disabilities participate together, as is the view of the EU KA2+ project DITEAM12.
The idea of inclusive sport is not new (Wilhite et al., 1997), but challenging to implement, with structural and operational barriers (Wright et al., 2019). However, the potential for inclusive sport (Van der Veken et al., 2020) and its successful implementation might rely on the personal beliefs of individuals directly involved (Hodge et al., 2009). Beliefs provide an important starting point for inclusion, as holding specific beliefs towards inclusion can have an important impact on inclusive sport in practice (e.g. Townsend et al., 2015). Furthermore, as the coach is the person most directly working with athletes, we focused on coaches’ beliefs about inclusion in the present study.
Research has shown coaches holding positive beliefs about the inclusion of athletes with disabilities. For example, in earlier research, Kozub & Porretta (1998) found coaches do support integration of athletes with disabilities in sports programs. Currently, May et al. (2019) stressed the importance of coaches possessing an inclusive attitude (e.g. everyone getting to participate, tailoring the sports program to fit athletes with disabilities’ needs). Although, having positive beliefs about inclusion might not be enough for coaches to be open to coaching athletes with disabilities in their clubs, as adequate training on disability is an important factor as well.
Coaches need to feel adequately trained in the field of disability and inclusion, to take on the responsibility of training athletes with disabilities (Kozub & Porretta, 1998). A recent systematic review (Walker et al., 2018) added to this view by stressing the importance of coach learning, especially in regards to informal learning. Although the mentioned review did not specifically focus on disability, learning about disability and inclusion is fundamental to establishing inclusive sport. May et al. (2019) found two-thirds of coaches to have experience in coaching athletes with disabilities, but only one-third of the coaches had any education in regards to disability and coaches who did were more likely to seek help to include athletes with disabilities in their club. Finally, a critical review (Townsend et al., 2021) points out that adding topics such as inclusion and disabilities into the coaching education programs remains an issue of considerable debate. For coach education on disability to be effective, we have to keep in mind that achieving effective professional development for adult learners should be closely connected to their experiences, needs and context in which they work (e.g. Cordingley et al., 2015).
Because one of the aims of the DITEAM12 project is to prepare an educational training on inclusion for coaches, we were interested in assessing coaches’ beliefs on including athletes with disabilities in sport, previous experience with professional development activities on inclusion and disability, and previous experience coaching athletes with disabilities in three European countries (Slovenia, Germany, Spain). Moreover, we were interested in significant differences between the countries, as to adapt the content of the educational training to each country’s context.
Participants The convenience sample consisted of 102 coaches from three EU countries who participated in the study applied in the European Erasmus KA2+ DITEAM12 project, which aims to increase the inclusiveness of sports clubs for children under 12 years of age. The study sample comprises coaches from Slovenia (N = 19; 68,4% of females), Spain (N = 66; 16,7% of females) and Germany (N = 17; 64,7% of females). Instruments Three questionnaires (for coaches, directors of the clubs, parents of the children included in the sports clubs) were designed inside the project partnership and translated from English to all languages of the participating countries. We only present data from the coaches for the selected measures. The coach’s questionnaire combined closed questions, multiple-choice questions, questions with a nominal (yes/no) answer option and a scale with items on a 5-point Likert scale. The questionnaire was divided into different sections: (1) demographics; (2) additional background information: years of working experience, experience in working with athletes with disabilities and with a sports psychologist, previous professional development activity in the area of inclusive sports, etc.; (3) state of inclusion and existence of educational courses; (4) coach’s beliefs: consisted of beliefs about inclusion, competition, the sports club they belong to and the skills the coaches possess, regarding adaptive sports. Coaches assessed on a 5-point Likert scale (1 - "Strongly disagree" to 5 - "Strongly agree") to what extent they agree with 20 statements (item example: "In juvenile sport, there are often violent acts that must be eradicated."). For the purpose of our study, we selected 8 items, based on their content, all assessing coaches’ beliefs regarding inclusion in sport (item example: “I think inclusion of children with disabilities in training and competitions in my club should be mandatory”). The Cronbach's alphas for the selected items were .65 (Germany), .88 (Slovenia) and .92 (Spain). Procedure In September 2020, coaches, directors and parents of the children included in the sports clubs (from Slovenia, Germany, Spain) completed an online version of questionnaires tapping beliefs about inclusion, the current state of inclusion in their sports clubs, and demographic variables. A modified version of the questionnaires was also implemented in the Czech Republic, but as they did not have the scale about beliefs included, they are not presented in the current study. Reliability tests, descriptive statistics, χ² and t-tests, and one-way ANOVA were calculated with IBM SPSS Statistics 27.
Although the right for all to engage in sports has been widely expressed by policy, inclusive sports clubs are rare in the majority of EU countries. Our sample consisted of both inclusive (100% in Slovenia and Germany, 38% in Spain) and non-inclusive clubs (62% in Spain). This is not representative of the current state in participating countries, as participating clubs were interested in the project because they mostly already support inclusion. Although the majority of coaches in all three countries (68% and more) have experience coaching athletes with disabilities, almost none (12% in Spain, 16% in Slovenia) are educated for it, except coaches from Germany, where 53% participated in such a course. Interestingly, German coaches (100%) state that athletes with and without disabilities should not participate in the same competition, while other coaches (68% in Slovenia, 82% in Spain) advocate for inclusive participation. Coaches beliefs regarding inclusion in sport are very positive in Slovenia (M = 4.13, SD = 0.79) and Germany (M = 4.09, SD = 0.68), while coaches in Spain statistically significantly differed from both (M = 3.33, SD = 1.03). However, in our sample, only coaches from Spain were also from non-inclusive clubs. Furthermore, when assessing the importance of participation in an educational course inside each country, a trend emerged in Slovenia and Germany, showing coaches with previous education on inclusion having more positive beliefs about inclusion in sports, which was not the case in Spain. Our results show the need to build on country context-based research (e.g. beliefs about inclusion and previous educational experience with inclusion and disability) in order to create more inclusive sports clubs in the EU and wider. Nonetheless, controlling for social desirability when assessing beliefs and the use of a representative and a larger sample is advised for future studies.
Cordingley, P., Higgins, S., Greany, T., Buckler, N., Coles-Jordan, D., Crisp, B., Saunders, L., & Coe, R. (2015). Developing great teaching: lessons from the international reviews into effective professional development. Project Report. London: Teacher Development Trust. Hodge, S., Ammah, J. O. A., Casebolt, K. M., LaMaster, K., Hersman, B., Samalot‐Rivera, A., & Sato, T. (2009). A Diversity of Voices: Physical education teachers’ beliefs about inclusion and teaching students with disabilities. International Journal of Disability, Development and Education, 56(4), 401–419. Kozub, F. M., & Porretta, D. L. (1998). Interscholastic Coaches’ Attitudes Toward Integration of Adolescents with Disabilities. Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly, 15(4), 328–344. May, T., Sivaratnam, C., Williams, K., McGillivray, J., Whitehouse, A., & Rinehart, N. J. (2019). ‘Everyone gets a kick’: Coach characteristics and approaches to inclusion in an Australian Rules Football program for children. International Journal of Sports Science & Coaching, 14(5), 607–616. Ryuh, Y., Choi, P., Oh, J., Chen, C.-C., & Lee, Y. (2019). Impact of Inclusive Soccer Program on Psychosocial Development of Children with and without Intellectual Disabilities. Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities, 31(5), 691–705. Townsend, R. C., Huntley, T. D., Cushion, C. J., & Culver, D. (2021). Infusing disability into coach education and development: A critical review and agenda for change. Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, 1–14. Townsend, R. C., Smith, B., & Cushion, C. J. (2015). Disability sports coaching: Towards a critical understanding. Sports Coaching Review, 4(2), 80–98. Van der Veken, K., Lauwerier, E., & Willems, S. (2020). “To mean something to someone”: Sport-for-development as a lever for social inclusion. International Journal for Equity in Health, 19(1), 11. Walker, L. F., Thomas, R., & Driska, A. P. (2018). Informal and nonformal learning for sport coaches: A systematic review. International Journal of Sports Science & Coaching, 13(5), 694–707. Wilhite, B., Mushett, C. A., Goldenberg, L., & Trader, B. R. (1997). Promoting Inclusive Sport and Leisure Participation: Evaluation of the Paralympic Day in the Schools Model. Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly, 14(2), 131–146. Wright, A., Roberts, R., Bowman, G., & Crettenden, A. (2019). Barriers and facilitators to physical activity participation for children with physical disability: Comparing and contrasting the views of children, young people, and their clinicians. Disability and Rehabilitation, 41(13), 1499–1507.
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