A critical evaluation of the knowledge and attitude future PE teachers have towards the inclusion of a physically disabled person in sport.
University of Wales Institute Cardiff
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The purpose of this study was to assess the knowledge and attitude of future physical education teachers towards the inclusion of a physically disabled person in sport. Four research questions were generated to facilitate the aims of the study to be achieved. These questions were concerned with perception of inclusion, level of knowledge, attitude, experiences with physically disabled individuals and exposure to opportunities from a secondary PGCE Physical Education course. All questions were in alignment with the inclusion of a physically disabled person in sport and PE. Participants were chosen by means of purposive sampling. 5 students enrolled on a secondary PGCE at a university in South Wales participated in the study. In this exploratory study a semi-structured interview was used to determine the knowledge and attitudes of future Physical Education teachers towards the inclusion of a physically disabled person. The structure of the interview was categorised under four domains; (i) General information; age, gender, activity level and relationship status with a physically disabled individual, (ii) Knowledge; e.g. perception of inclusion in PE, (iii) Experience; In university or personal experience and (iv) Attitude; generally and in a PE context. Open and closed questions were used, allowing for specific information to be highlighted and reasoning for these responses explored. All interviews were recorded and transcribed and all qualitative data from the transcribed text was analysed for discussion. Four recurring themes appeared within this study, these involved knowledge, confidence, experience and attitude in relation to the inclusion of a physically disabled person in sport. From analysis and discussion it was proved that the experience had by future PE teachers in this study was the centre of every theme; therefore a significant link was evident between their experience and the possessed level of knowledge, confidence and attitude. Specifically, relevant positive teaching experience was shown by the results to be dominant concerning future PE teachers’ having the correct knowledge and attitude towards the inclusion of a physically disabled person in sport. Also relevant positive teaching experience was significant in developing confidence in teaching a physically disabled person. Relevant experience was identified as having an experience of actually teaching a class which involved the inclusion of a physically disabled student. In relation to the remaining research questions, it was apparent that perception of inclusion was not related to the other themes. A relationship between knowledge and attitude could not be identified and students did report that the secondary PGCE PE course could offer more opportunities, specifically to do with adapting games, to enhance their ability and knowledge to teach an inclusive practice.
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