Realities for Student Success: Exploring Experiences of Paraeducators Supporting Students with Disabilities in the Physical Education Setting

Mehrtens, Christina, Education - School of Education and Human Development, University of Virginia
Mehrtens, Christina, ED-KINE Education Graduate, University of Virginia

This dissertation comprises three papers examining the training of paraeducators, professional development opportunities, and interprofessional collaboration with physical education teachers while supporting students with disabilities in physical education ( PE) to support students with disabilities. First, a systematic literature review highlights the need for enhanced training and collaboration strategies. The second paper focuses solely on interviews with paraeducators to explore their experiences in supporting students with disabilities in GPE. Findings from the interviews reveal challenges faced by paraeducators and emphasize the importance of clear communication and role definition in effective collaboration. The third paper adopts a hermeneutic phenomenological approach to understand the complexities of interprofessional collaboration in PE. Utilizing classroom observations, interviews, and focus groups, the study aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the experiences of both paraeducators and PE teachers. Together, these studies offer insights and strategies for improving support for students with disabilities in PE settings through effective collaboration between PE teachers and paraeducators.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Physical Education, Adapted Physical Education, Paraeducator, Paraprofessional, Professional Development, Collaboration, Inclusion, Special Education
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