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What physical education becomes when pupils with neurodevelopmental disorders are integrated: a transactional understanding
School of Health Sciences, Örebro University, Sweden.
School of Health Sciences, Örebro University, Sweden.
University of Skövde, School of Health Sciences. University of Skövde, Digital Health Research (DHEAR). (Individ och samhälle VIDSOC, Individual and Society)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9434-9232
2021 (English)In: Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, ISSN 1740-8989, E-ISSN 1742-5786, Vol. 26, no 6, p. 578-592Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background

Previous research on inclusive physical education (PE) has often focused on pupils with visible physical disabilities and how best to facilitate and adapt PE so that they can play an active role in the educational situation. Many lessons about inclusion have emerged from this important field. However, less is known about more ‘invisible’ variations. In Sweden, many pupils who are diagnosed with neurodevelopmental disorders (NDD), such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), are integrated into mainstream classes. These pupils are often more sensitive to demands and stressful situations and struggle to decode social interactions. When it comes to lessons in PE, little is known about how pupils with NDD experience the educational situation and what they need to do to be successful in PE.

Purpose

The aim of this article is to explore what PE practices become in classes in which pupils with NDD are integrated in terms of inclusion or exclusion processes. Drawing on the work of John Dewey, we suggest a transactional perspective on inclusion. This facilitates a non-dualistic exploration of inclusive PE and makes it possible to take the experiences of pupils with NDD and their peers into account.

Methods

In the article we use a transactional framework with a focus on experience, meaning-making and habits using the following analytical questions: (i) What are the experiences of integrated PE? (ii) How do these events appear as inclusive? (iii) How do they appear as exclusive? The data generation consisted of 9 field observations and 13 individual interviews with pupils aged between 10 and 11 years in three classes in two different schools in one municipality. The municipality was awarded a grant by the Swedish authorities to work towards the creation of more favourable school situations for pupils with NDD. Three classes in which pupils with NDD diagnoses were integrated in PE were selected.

Findings

The study identified four PE practices in which inclusion and exclusion processes were prominent: (i) to organise, (ii) to cooperate, (iii) to sweat and (iv) to win. ‘To organise’ is a comprehensive practice that is transactionally identified and foregrounded by teachers’ actions. The other three are embedded in the practice ‘to organise’, which foregrounds pupils’ actions. The study shows that pupils are included in a certain kind of PE practice when it becomes an organised practice of sweating, competing and cooperating.

Conclusion

The study reveals that some of the inclusive practices that are designed to support pupils with NDD exclude other pupils with or without NDD. Accordingly, working in an integrated way can be both inclusive and exclusive. It would thus seem that successful inclusive education in PE is as much about group dynamics as about ‘individual pupils with problems’. In order to achieve inclusion, teachers need to focus on actively communicating with pupils, colleagues and parents, on how and what to teach and on what students are supposed to learn.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2021. Vol. 26, no 6, p. 578-592
Keywords [en]
Neurodevelopmental disorders, physical education, inclusion processes, exclusion processes
National Category
Didactics
Research subject
Individual and Society VIDSOC
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:his:diva-19196DOI: 10.1080/17408989.2020.1834525ISI: 000579681500001Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85092916394OAI: oai:DiVA.org:his-19196DiVA, id: diva2:1478100
Note

CC BY 4.0

Published online: 20 Oct 2020.

Available from: 2020-10-21 Created: 2020-10-21 Last updated: 2021-10-18Bibliographically approved

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Maivorsdotter, Ninitha

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