Professional development for inclusive physical education: Fostering educative experiences

  • Author / Creator
    Hayley Morrison
  • Professional development (PD) opportunities on inclusive physical education (IPE) are limited and even more rare for teachers and educational assistants (EAs) to attend together. Additionally, exploring experiences of teachers and EAs who work together in the IPE environment is limited in the research. Therefore, the aims of the study were (a) to understand and learn about in-service teachers’ and EAs’ experiences with PD for IPE, (b) to explore how they envision PD and supports to teach IPE, and (c) to use this information along with my experiences and the literature to construct a framework for a collaborative IPE-PD experience. In this study I used Dewey’s theory of experience as the theoretical framework. Using a Deweyan framework, I understand education and PD as a continual process of becoming; experience should lead to growth, be continuous, have active engagement, and incorporate reflection to reconstruct past experiences (Dewey, 1938). The study was a multiple/ collective case study design, using interpretive case studies (Merriam, 1998). The cases were three different schools, with one teacher and one EA as participants from each school (six participants; two male & four female). A hermeneutic methodology was also used in this study to interpret participants’ stories holistically, and to better understand the culture, language, and context of their experiences (Smith, 1991). Data collection included one individual interview with each participant, a focus group interview with the participants from each case together, researcher observations and field notes, and researcher journal reflections. The analysis comprised of back and forth recursive interpretations via the hermeneutic circle to identify themes (Packer & Addison, 1989; Patterson & Williams, 2002). The following results have been determined: (a) the participants were unprepared for teaching and assisting IPE; (b) the participants’ past experiences with physical education and current situations of IPE impact their teaching and assisting in IPE; (c) the participants’ planning and choice of activities influence student participation in IPE; (d) the participants’ school district did not offer IPE-PD opportunities; (e) the participants maximized school district consultants as a form of IPE-PD; and (f) the participants desire collaborative IPE-PD to learn and plan. The findings indicate the practitioners desire teacher-EA collaborative PD that considers prior training/ education, past experiences, current context, students and activities for IPE. Collaborative IPE-PD experiences would allow for practitioners to reflect and unpack their experiences; for continuous learning opportunities; and to encourage practitioner growth in the ever-changing inclusive and dynamic PE environments. Researchers should bring teachers and EAs together in conversations to learn more about their working relationships and collaboration in IPE. Additionally, in IPE-PD we need more studies to explore practitioners’ views on the type and processes of PD, including collaborative PD.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Spring 2019
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
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