Understanding inclusive pedagogy from perspectives of primary and elementary physical and health educators

Patey, Matthew (2017) Understanding inclusive pedagogy from perspectives of primary and elementary physical and health educators. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Living a life within inclusive environments is a human right (Canadian Human Rights Commission, 2013), and these environments must exist across several domains of one’s everyday life. Physical and health education (PHE) is important to improve a child’s well-being physically, socially, cognitively, and spiritually (Kilborn, 2016). Accordingly, these benefits of PHE should be equitably accessible to all children. Teachers play significant roles in students’ inclusive learning experiences. However, the perspectives and practices of teachers in establishing inclusiveness within PHE contexts are not fully explored in the research literature. Furthermore, there is a lack of empirical knowledge regarding primary/elementary educators’ understandings of inclusive pedagogy and their day-to-day pedagogic practices. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to understand the ways in which primary/elementary PHE teachers understand the inclusive pedagogy and their ways of engaging in inclusive pedagogy in day-to-day PHE contexts. Specific research questions were “How do primary/elementary PHE teachers understand inclusive pedagogy” and “What do primary/elementary PHE teachers do dayto- day to promote inclusiveness in their pedagogic practices?” An explorative qualitative research design was employed. 11 primary/elementary PHE teachers participated in one-on-one interviews. Thematic analysis was performed to highlight primary/elementary PHE teachers’ perspectives and practices of inclusive pedagogy. According to participants, inclusive pedagogy is “for everyone,” “but mission impossible”—considering the diverse backgrounds of students and teachers, as well as the current constructions of the educational system. They also perceived that inclusive pedagogy is “to create a safe place” for everyone within PHE contexts. In order to create and maintain inclusive environments, participants highlighted what they do in their dayto- day pedagogic practices: (1) planning from the beginning using a universal pedagogical design; (2) sharing ownership of teaching and learning with students by providing students leadership roles and responsibilities, and by ensuring students’ choices in learning and; (3) building rapports and positive relationships with students and maintain affirmative partnerships with co-educators; (4) being responsive and flexible by mindfully implementing adaptation strategies, and engaging in critical reflections on their own inclusive pedagogic practices in PHE. This study has provided empirical knowledge regarding the complex processes and mechanisms of providing inclusive pedagogy within primary/elementary PHE from the perspectives of teachers, for further cross-cultural comparisons with those of administrators, parents, and children. Furthermore, this study has highlighted teachers’ understandings of inclusive pedagogy, as well as actions they take to ensure the establishment and sustainability of inclusion in their PHE program, which may encourage other teachers to be reflexive about their own pedagogic practices in promoting inclusion.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/13064
Item ID: 13064
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references.
Keywords: inclusion, education, inclusive education, physical and health education, elementary education, pedagogy, diversity, equity
Department(s): Human Kinetics and Recreation, School of > Physical Education
Date: December 2017
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Physical education -- Study and teaching; Inclusive education -- Study and teaching

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