Research on adapted physical education (APE) teachers' attitudes towards their students with disabilities is extremely limited and most research on general physical education (GPE) teachers' attitudes towards students with disabilities have been based on the concept of inclusion. The Model of Differential Expectations posits that, because students with hidden disabilities (HD) lack obvious physical signs related to their disability, teachers' may expect students with HD to attain close to model performance typical of non-disabled peers; whereas, teachers have lowered and more realistic expectations for students with visible disabilities. To investigate if APE teachers' attitudes towards their students with disabilities differ as a function of whether the disability is hidden or visible, 172 APE teachers attending a national APE conference were surveyed.
Results were consistent with the Model of Differential Expectations and indicate APE teachers tended to form different attitudes and expectations for their students with disabilities depending on whether the disability was hidden or visible. Participants were requested to nominate two of their students for prompts corresponding with the attitudes of attachment and rejection. Chi-square statistical analysis supported hypothesis one; students with visible disabilities were significantly overrepresented among teachers' nominations in the attachment category (χ² (1, N = 340) = 23.786, p < .05). For rejection nominations, Chi-square analysis did not statistically support hypothesis two; students labeled by their APE teachers' as having a hidden disability (as their primary disability) were not significantly overrepresented among teachers' nominations in the rejection category. A Paired Samples t-test revealed that students with behavior issues (a hidden disability) were significantly overrepresented among teachers' nominations in the rejection category (t (155) = 10.59, p = .000).
It is suggested that students with HD are at risk of rejection because of unattainably high teacher expectations and students with visible disabilities are at risk of underachievement due to low teacher expectations. Instructional strategies and specific recommendations for improving both APE and GPE teachers' attitudes toward their students with hidden and visible disabilities are provided and suggestions for future research are offered.
|School:||California State University, Long Beach|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||MAI 51/01M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Physical education, Special education|
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