Two purposes guided this study. First, the researcher explored in-service teachers’ perceptions of the benefits and barriers physical activity had on students with exceptionalities in school-based activities. Second, the researcher explored in-service teachers’ perceptions of physical activity and how their attitudes affected student’s learning.
One hundred and fifty eight in-service, postgraduate (teachers taking courses in Education) and graduate teachers (teachers taking graduate level courses) volunteered to participate in this study. In-service teachers teaching in Kindergarten to grade 12 classrooms were either employed with a rural school division in Central Saskatchewan or a rural school division in the West Kootenay region of British Columbia. Data was collected using adapted versions the Physical Educators’ Attitude Toward Teaching Individual with Disabilities-III (PEATID-III) (Rizzo, 1993) and the Physical Educators’ Judgement about Inclusion (PEJI) (Hodge, Murata, & Kozub, 2002) in this study. Volunteered participants completed the amalgamated adapted survey titled, Physical Educators’ Judgments and Attitude Towards Teaching Individuals with Exceptionalities.
Pearson correlation analysis was used to determine the relationship between teacher characteristics (e.g., gender, age, whether participants had taught physical education, participants ratings of fitness) and the six survey subscales (e.g., outcomes of teaching students with exceptionalities, effects on student learning, need for more academic preparation, judgement about inclusion, judgement about acceptance of students with exceptionalities, and judgement about perceived training needs) to investigate if there were any statistically significant relationships. An analysis of variance (ANOVA) was also used to examine potential differences between teachers’ attitudes toward instructing students with exceptionalities and the teacher characteristics (number of special education courses taken, years of teaching experience with exceptionalities, and number of adapted PE courses taken). All six subscales were examined compared with teacher characteristics to find potential differences between teachers’ attitudes toward instructing students with exceptionalities and varying levels of experience and pre-service training.
Results showed years of teaching experience and academic preparation influenced teachers’ attitudes towards instructing students with exceptionalities. Physical education teachers who had more additional training had higher self-reported ratings of their ability to teach physical education to all students than physical education teachers with less additional training. Results also indicated the older teachers were, the more negative attitudes they had toward wanting students with exceptionalities in their classrooms. These results support the body of evidence that shows there is a need to promote positive attitudes in the schools toward teaching individuals with exceptionalities physical activity.||en_US