Date of Award

Spring 5-13-2022

Document Type

Dissertation (799 registration)

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership


Graduate Studies

Committee Chair

Boyd Bradbury


adapted physical education, preservice physical educators, attitudes toward teaching individuals with disabilities, disabilities, inclusion, Unified PE


The aim of this study was to explain the effects a practicum had on the attitudes and perceived self-efficacy of preservice physical educators toward teaching students with disabilities in an inclusive learning environment. Existing literature established most physical educators receive one semester-long course in adapted physical education (APE), which often leads to feelings of unpreparedness and negative attitudes toward teaching students with disabilities in the general physical education (GenPE) classroom. The present study utilized a mixed-methods approach to combine quantitative data results from the Physical Educators Attitudes toward Teaching Individuals with Disabilities (PEATID-III) survey (Rizzo, 1993) and qualitative data findings (i.e., reflective journals, summary of experience reports, semi-structured focus group interview) to determine what factors influenced the preservice physical educators (n = 9) change in attitudes and development of self-efficacy during the practicum. The results from this study determined relationship building through 1) connection, 2) valued experience, 3) leading by example, and 4) developing soft skills as a practical approach to changing attitudes toward teaching students with disabilities. Additionally, this study revealed competency and confidence can be developed through knowledge and hands-on experience using 1) course content and 2) modeled pedagogy as valuable tools to build self-efficacy toward inclusion. Finally, this study demonstrated the significance of advocacy as a step toward the future development of positive attitudes and self-efficacy in the APE profession through 1) promoting APE and 2) life-long learning.



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