Benefits of inclusion in Physical Education

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Benefits of inclusion in Physical Education:

Benefits of inclusion in Physical Education Kevin Witt APU, Dr. Givens 2013


Introduction It used to be that the exclusion of students with special needs was the norm. Recently though there has been a shift towards the inclusion of students with special needs into the classroom, with physical education as well. There are many benefits to having students with special needs included in a mainstream physical education class.


Purpose The purpose of this study is to examine how students, teachers, and students with special needs react to the inclusive environment in physical education. Finding out how special needs students can benefit from inclusion, how other students appreciate their presence in the class, and what teachers believe about this process are all central to this study.


Reviews Ching Ha, A. & Qi, J. (2012). Hong Kong physical education teachers’ beliefs about teaching students with disabilities: A qualitative analysis. Asian Social Science . The authors started by acknowledging the lack of literature and research in the field. Examine the beliefs of teachers with adaptive students in mainstream classes. Interviewed five teachers with 9-22 years experience. All agreed that the concept of inclusion is good, however the actual application can be difficult. Extremely relevant information given by the teachers, and their opinion and experience can help any new teacher in the field cope with challenges.


Reviews Healy, S., Msetfi, R., & Gallagher, S. (2013). ‘Happy and a bit nervous’: the experiences of students with autism in physical education. British Journal of Learning Disabilities . The authors examined 12 students with autism in physical education. All were in a mainstream class. Interviewed all 12 students. Exclusion, rather than inclusion, was the issue. Exclusion from certain games, exercises, and activities. Self and teacher led exclusion. Highlights the social benefits of inclusion: interactions with peers, availability to participate in outside school activities with peers (sleep-overs or parties).


Reviews Coates, J. & Vickerman, P (2010). Empowering children with special education needs to speak up: experiences of inclusive physical education. Disability & Rehabilitation . USA=No Child Left Behind England=Every Child Matters Extremely similar legislature, dictates the progression of students and students with special needs. Students are vulnerable in their physical education class, getting the feedback from students on instruction will ease tension and alleviate problems. Survey with 65 students between ages of seven to 14, from one primary and one secondary. Mixed method: surveys for all, small focus group interviews for some. Negative feelings about competitive situations. Social and psychological benefits. Students felt empowered when asked on how to improve their PE experience.


Participants The participants were a total of 27 middle school students between the ages of 10-13, in the 6 th and 7 th grade. Three interviews were conducted with three practicing physical education teachers that have experience ranging from six-15 years. All students and teachers are part of a physical education program that practices inclusion.

Survey Instrument :

Survey Instrument Students: The students were given a 14 question Likert scale survey. The range was from always to never. Points were awarded for each response, with five points for each ‘always’ response and one point for each ‘never’ response. Teachers: The teachers were interviewed using certain questions as a guideline, however were simply let alone to explain their experiences with students with special needs. No formal questions were prepared or given to the teachers prior to the interview.


Methodology Mixed methods study : Both qualitative and quantitative measures were used. Qualitative was used for the teachers because their words and their interviews needed to elicit responses that came from experience. Several of the articles I came across also used qualitative procedures for their studies and they received ample information. Quantitative procedures were used for the students to give them an opportunity to give information without being forced to use their words and explain their many feelings. A quantitative study was performed in one of the articles and it gave back good results.


Conclusions The inclusion of students with special needs has many benefits for everyone involved. Students, teachers, and students with special needs can all benefit by having this class together. The challenges arise when new teachers, or teachers with less experience are given difficult students. Enjoying the time with all students, and developing opportunities for all students to learn will increase the social benefits and limit the negative aspects.