Preservice Physical Education Teachers' Perceptions Toward Teaching Students With Emotional/Behavioral Disorders in a General Education Setting

TR Number
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Virginia Tech

By law, physical education (PE) teachers must provide direct service to children with disabilities in the least restrictive environment, which, whenever feasible, is a regular PE class. Traditionally, the adapted physical education (APE) specialist was responsible for teaching students with severe disabilities and the PE teacher was responsible for teaching students with mild disabilities. Today, however, many students with disabilities must be taught in a regular PE setting minimizing the need for the APE specialist. Now PE teachers are having to teach all students with disabilities, but some teacher preparation programs are not providing preservice teachers with opportunities to work with these students before their student teaching experience. A qualitative study was conducted to investigate preservice PE teachers' in-class experiences teaching students with emotional/ behavioral disorders (EBD) in a general education setting. Multiple interviews and observations were conducted with four preservice teachers throughout the span of their student teaching experience to examine their thoughts, feelings, and concerns about teaching students with EBD as well as examining their interactions with these students. The participants indicated that in order to feel more qualified to teach students with EBD, they needed more experience. Further, they struggled with issues of inclusion while they encountered a gamut of emotions throughout their experiences. These findings point to the need to enhance preservice PE teachers' experiences with more related fieldwork.

Emotional/Behavioral Disorders, Physical Education, Preservice