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Promoting inclusion in the adaptive physical education classroom through peer partners

Miller, Gemma L. (2022) Promoting inclusion in the adaptive physical education classroom through peer partners. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This dissertation in practice centers on the problem of practice that students with disabilities are systematically excluded from mainstream health and physical education classes to the detriment of their health and well-being. This dissertation improvement project tests the effects of Partners in PE (PPE) by utilizing a 3-session peer-to-peer curriculum to promote inclusion of general education students into an existing adaptive PE (APE) course at Bethel Park High School in Bethel Park, Pennsylvania. The PPE program was implemented by the APE teacher and 4 “Partners” (i.e., general education students selected for the course), as well as, attended by 10 “Athletes” (i.e., students with disabilities) and 3 paraprofessionals. This dissertation in practice was guided by two inquiry questions: 1) What are the experiences and perspectives of the Partners after participating in the PPE program? and 2) What was the experience of the APE teacher and paraprofessionals regarding implementation and perceived outcomes of the PPE program? The primary investigator collected observations and field notes throughout the program, conducted an interview with the APE teacher, held focus groups with the Partners, and presented an open-ended survey to the paraprofessionals following the PPE program. Qualitative data was transcribed and coded using the content method and analyzed for key categories and themes. Three themes were identified in the data, including: 1) overcoming obstacles to become friends, 2) positive experiences in the program, and 3) recommendations for a future PPE program. Main findings reflected Partners’ lack of previous experience and exposure to the Athletes, and the short training of the Partners, which presented challenges to program implementation. However, the PPE peer-to-peer program was able to build relationships between students and reap benefits for all involved. The data can be used to inform the administrators and school district which may well influence change regarding the policies and procedures to promote inclusion and relationship building in schools.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Miller, Gemma L.gls59@pitt.eduG. Miller
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairNagle,
Committee CoChairRoss,
Committee MemberFarmer,
Committee MemberYeckel,
Date: 5 July 2022
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 5 May 2021
Approval Date: 5 July 2022
Submission Date: 13 June 2022
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 98
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Health and Physical Activity
Degree: EdD - Doctor of Education
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Inclusion, Physical Education, Disabilities, General Education Students, K-12
Date Deposited: 05 Jul 2022 14:17
Last Modified: 05 Jul 2022 14:17


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