Participants' perspectives of an adapted physical education clinical field experience
Andrews, Cora Mick
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The purpose of this study was to analyze the perspectives of a university-based adapted physical education clinical field experience through the eyes of the participants. The participants are the children with disabilities, parents of children with disabilities, and undergraduate students (UGs) teaching in the Pediatric Exercise and Motor Development Clinic (PEMDC). Children were selected according to their ability to understand and respond to questions regarding the clinic while parents and undergraduates were randomly selected. Data collection consisted of interviews, observations, and artifacts (i.e. undergraduates self- teaching evaluations and parents clinic applications). The qualitative data were analyzed using analytic induction which led to the researcher s final interpretations. The findings revealed three themes: (a) connections between the practical teaching experiences were accompanied by content knowledge learned in the classroom; (b) fostering an ethic of care which encompassed individualized contact between the triad of participants and relationships between the clinic itself and real life settings; and (c) time and its relevance for UGs to make significant progress with some children. Participants spoke of the training gained by the UGs, the unique instruction received by the children enabling them to learn and practice life skills as well as fitness and health habits, and the many facets of learning and assistance provided to the parents by the UGs and staff. Through examination and final analysis of the interviews, observations, and artifacts, three recommendations were made for the design of a similar experience: increase UGs contact time with a diversity of children with disabilities, help parents form a more formal advocacy group, and continue research regarding PETE and APE practicums. Practicums, or clinics, provided most participants with unique and individualized learning experiences that included valuable teaching experience for the UGs and increased functional tasks and skills for the children.