Inclusion in sport education: voices and participation of students with and without disability and teachers' perspectives
Sport Education has been suggested as an appropriate curriculum model to provide an environment conducive to accommodate many students at one time. The present study explored this notion, investigating (a) students without disabilities' conceptions and experiences of participating in a season of Sport Education alongside students with disabilities, (b) voices of students with disabilities regarding their perceptions and experiences of participation in a season of Sport Education, and (c) middle school physical education teachers' perceptions of using the Sport Education curriculum model to include students with disabilities in the general physical education classroom. Participants included 66 seventh grade students, including four students with intellectual and behavioral disabilities, participating in a flag football Sport Education season. Data collection methods comprised formal and informal interviews, focus group interviews, field notes, observations with field notes, critical incident reports and self-reflective journals for teachers. In addition, all lessons were videotaped. Through a Contact Theory framework, the results for students without disabilities showed Sport Education provided enjoyable participation among students, gave students learning ownership, and provided positive experiences with students with disabilities. Five sub-themes aided understanding these students' experiences: a sense of inclusion, perceptions of equality, a climate of assisting others, modifications to the activities, and a greater understanding of students with disabilities. Findings indicated students with disabilities felt they were socially accepted, participated in a student-centered learning environment, had assistance in learning, and perceived responsibilities and participation. Sport Education allowed students with disabilities to take ownership in learning alongside their peers by working in small groups, getting to know other students, and participating in physical education more meaningfully. The Theory of Planned Behavior was used to explore the three physical education teachers' perceptions of using the Sport Education curriculum model to include students with disabilities. Findings indicated that this inclusion is more likely when teachers have positive attitudes toward inclusion. Recognizing a significant amount of a priori planning occurs, teachers also perceived successful inclusion of students with disabilities happens when it promotes a sense of belonging among all students and allows students with disabilities to fulfill meaningful responsibilities during the course of Sport Education.