Inclusion 10: the experiences of peer teachers and functionally integrated students in a secondary female inclusive physical education program
As a physical education teacher, I have observed first hand the outcomes of a classroom that did not support the inclusion of all students and the challenges that teachers face while addressing diverse abilities within their classes. In response to this deficit, I created and implemented a physical education curriculum for high school students called <i>Inclusion 10</i> that focused on the inclusion of functionally integrated students and their mainstream peer teachers during their class. This study defined functionally integrated students as those who have a significant intellectual and/or multiple disabilities. Mainstream students are defined as all students whose need can be met through the Regular Education Program (Saskatchewan Learning, 2006). After the study began, the mainstream students took on the role of peer teachers and were referred to as such.<br/> The results of this study were highly positive and reflected the development of positive student relationships as well as the physical, personal, and affective outcomes for all students. Teachers and educational assistants also experienced significant outcomes from their participation within the study.<br/> <i>Inclusion 10</i> is an adapted program based on the Saskatchewan <i>Wellness 10 Curriculum</i> that fosters positive relationships and a healthy physical environment for both mainstream and functionally integrated students. Student voice was an integral piece of this new program. Peer teachers worked closely with the researcher to develop the curriculum activities for <i>Inclusion 10</i>. Providing spaces for students’ voices promoted ownership in learning and respected the needs and interests of the students’ experiences. The research conducted discusses the academic, social, and physical benefits of this program that promote inclusion, integration, and peer teaching amongst secondary mainstream female peer teachers and functionally integrated students. <i>Inclusion 10</i> plays a fundamental role in the development of individuals with and without disabilities (Block & Klavina, 2008) and enhances pedagogical strategies for teachers and curriculum developers.<br/> The qualitative case study explored the interactive experiences of 22 peer teachers, 10 female functionally integrated students, eight male functionally integrated students, one classroom teacher, and nine educational assistants participating in a physical education class that supported inclusion and peer teaching. This one month long study (one-two week teaching/learning session and subsequent interviews) investigated the experiences of all participants involved in the <i>Inclusion 10</i> program taught by the classroom teacher. Data was gathered through field notes, taped interviews, student journals, photographs, and observations. The semi-structured interviews included eight peer teachers, three functionally integrated students, one teacher, and one educational assistant.<br/> The interviews provided a wealth of information that demonstrated positive outcomes such as, a non-competitive atmosphere, caring through peer teaching, positive classroom culture and improved self-esteem. The impact of <i>Inclusion 10</i> went beyond the classroom. Peer teachers developed the motivation to participate in physical education, improved self-esteem, enhanced leadership skills, knowledge about their functionally integrated peers, and empathy and caring towards others. The functionally integrated students experienced an inclusive learning opportunity that enhanced their self-esteem, quality of learning, relationships, and positive behaviors that went beyond the gymnasium. Four common themes emerged from the data: 1) Motivation and Social Implications, 2) Understanding and Appreciation for Others Within and Beyond the Classroom, 3) Developing Leaders Through Inclusive Physical Education and Peer Teaching, and 4) Building Life Skills for the Future. Ultimately, the study showed that <i>Inclusion 10</i> had a very positive effect on all of the students, the educational assistants, and classroom teacher. <i>Inclusion 10</i> is a highly adaptable program for teachers and students that promoted inclusion for all students. The physical, affective, and cognitive outcomes of this program demonstrated the impact of adaptive teaching and learning for all stakeholders.
DegreeMaster of Education (M.Ed.)
CommitteeClaypool, Tim; McVittee, Janet; Murphy, Shaun; Martin, Stephanie
Copyright DateApril 2012
Secondary Physical Education