Exploring the Paralympic School Day Professional Development Program on Physical Education Teachers' Attitudes and Self-Efficacy

Author: ORCID icon orcid.org/0000-0002-4565-7351
Leake, Marie, Education - School of Education and Human Development, University of Virginia
Block, Martin, ED-KINE, University of Virginia

This dissertation includes three papers aimed at investigating and enhancing physical educators' attitudes and self-efficacy in teaching students with disabilities within the general physical education (PE) setting. The first paper presented a comprehensive literature review that examined the definitions, conceptualizations, and measurement methods of attitudes among PE teachers towards students with disabilities. The review highlighted inconsistencies in research methodologies and emphasized the need to shift focus towards understanding factors influencing attitudes, such as beliefs about inclusion and perceived behavioral control.
The second paper reported findings from a qualitative study that explored physical educators' attitudes towards teaching students with disabilities following participation in a Paralympic School Day professional development program (PSD-PDP). Results revealed a shift in attitudes towards inclusive teaching practices, indicating an increased awareness and willingness to accommodate diverse needs within the PE classroom.
The third paper adopted a mixed methods approach to investigate physical educators' self-efficacy (SE) in teaching students with disabilities after engaging in the PSD-PDP. Quantitative analysis demonstrated a significant increase in SE scores post-program, corroborated by qualitative data highlighting changes in attitudes and perceptions towards inclusive teaching strategies.
Together, these papers contributed to a deeper understanding of the attitudes and self-efficacy of physical educators in teaching students with disabilities, underscoring the importance of targeted professional development programs in promoting inclusive practices within the PE curriculum. The findings had implications for curriculum design, teacher training, and policy development aimed at fostering an inclusive learning environment for all students in physical education settings.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Adapted physical education, Para sport, Inclusion
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