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Should social inclusion be a major goal of physical education? (Issues).

Inclusion of students with and without disabilities in general physical education, with appropriate supports, is a desirable practice (Block, 2000; Rizzo & Lavay, 2000; Sherrill, 1998, in press). Everyone knows, however, that physical inclusion (students with and without disabilities receiving instruction, with appropriate supports, in a common space) is not the same as social inclusion (students with and without disabilities interacting with each other in meaningful, satisfying, socially connected ways that contribute to active healthy lifestyles for all). While physical inclusion can be mandated by law and supported by administrative and instructional policies, authentic social inclusion can be achieved only by cooperative homeschool-community programming in which inclusion is given high priority both day and night. To give any phenomenon high priority essentially means to make it a primary goal, to break it down into measurable objectives and benchmarks, to frequently assess performance, to count specific inclusion behaviors toward grades, and to reward improvement. Goals ensure accountability!

AAHPERD AAHPERD American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance  Position Statement on Inclusion: A Brief Critique

The AAHPERD (1995) Position Statement on Inclusion does an excellent job of describing procedures for facilitating inclusion in physical education. It stops short, however, of recognizing that procedures are best operationalized by specific, concrete goals and objectives that everyone understands and works toward. Steeped in the lore 1. Lore - Object-oriented language for knowledge representation. "Etude et Realisation d'un Language Objet: LORE", Y. Caseau, These, Paris-Sud, Nov 1987.
2. Lore - CGE, Marcoussis, France. Set-based language E-mail: Christophe Dony
 that our unique contribution to education is helping students become active, efficient, and healthy movers, the writers of the AAHPERD document emphasized that the major IEP/IFSP goal should never be social development. This ill-conceived statement sabotages well-written procedures and good intentions. The document does not define social development and, thus, allows free reign to stereotyped notions that the social is play, recreation, or fun and, therefore, not worthy of emphasis in the school curriculum and its grading system.

I contend that, for most persons, a physically active lifestyle and health-enhancing level of physical fitness require social competence to enable lifespan inclusion in physical activities. Research shows unequivocally that persons with exercise/sports partners and friends are more likely to engage in daily, moderate-to-vigorous activity than those without. Research also indicates that persons with disabilities list lack of companions as a major barrier to participation in physical activities. This finding applies to individuals with and without disabilities. To achieve inclusion, I believe that social competence must be a primary physical education goal for all students and that it should be treated as a companion goal to motor skill and fitness competence, equal in status and deserving de·serv·ing  
Worthy, as of reward, praise, or aid.

Merit; worthiness.

de·serving·ly adv.
 of conceptualization con·cep·tu·al·ize  
v. con·cep·tu·al·ized, con·cep·tu·al·iz·ing, con·cep·tu·al·iz·es
To form a concept or concepts of, and especially to interpret in a conceptual way:
 as primary, not secondary, not concomitant concomitant /con·com·i·tant/ (kon-kom´i-tant) accompanying; accessory; joined with another.
concomitant adjective Accompanying, accessory, joined with another
. It is time for the AAHPERD inclusion statement to be revised.

The Social Competence Goal Area

Sherrill (1998, in press) defines the social competence goal area as social behaviors In biology, psychology and sociology social behavior is behavior directed towards, or taking place between, members of the same species. Behavior such as predation which involves members of different species is not social.  that promote inclusion in exercise and sport activities (i.e., such personal interactions as greeting, smiling, sharing, cooperating, taking turns, helping, following, leading, cheering, supporting). Of special importance are such behaviors as gaining access to an activity, inviting someone to enter into an activity, accepting and rejecting invitations, and leaving an activity. When I was in graduate school, many of these behaviors were considered sportsmanship and included in grading protocols.

The acronym acronym: see abbreviation.

A word typically made up of the first letters of two or more words; for example, BASIC stands for "Beginners All purpose Symbolic Instruction Code.
 "FIT," which is used to quantify fitness goals, can be applied to measurement of the social inclusion goal:

F for frequency of social interactions (this includes who initiates each interaction)

I for intensity of social interactions (meaningfulness, appropriateness, carryover carryover n. in taxation accounting, using a tax year's deductions, business losses or credits to apply to the following year's tax return to reduce the tax liability. (See: carryback)  value)

T for time or duration of social interactions

What Research Has to Say about Social Inclusion

For over two decades, adapted physical education Adapted physical education is a sub-discipline of physical education. It is an individualized program created for students who require a specially designed program for more than 30 days.  leaders have supported contact theory (Allport, 1954) as a means of facilitating social inclusion of children with and without disabilities (e.g., Archie & Sherrill, 1989; Slininger, Sherrill, & Jankowski, 2000; Tripp & Sherrill, 1991). Until recently, however, no physical educators have gathered concrete data on social interactions in an integrated instructional setting. Research on sixth graders and eighth graders, respectively, has now examined social interactions over a period of six weeks (Place & Hodge, 2001; Wells & Sherrill, 2003). The findings are powerful, supporting the need to give primary attention to the goal of social inclusion in physical activity. Place and Hodge (2001) reported that the average percentage of time that 19 classmates Classmates can refer to either:
  •, a social networking website.
  • Classmates (film), a 2006 Malayalam blockbuster directed by Lal Jose, starring Prithviraj, Jayasurya, Indragith, Sunil, Jagathy, Kavya Madhavan, Balachandra Menon, ...
 gave to three girls with mild cerebral palsy cerebral palsy (sərē`brəl pôl`zē), disability caused by brain damage before or during birth or in the first years, resulting in a loss of voluntary muscular control and coordination.  and spina bifida was 2% social talk and less than 1% in each category for praise, use of first name, feedback, and physical contact. Wells and Sherrill (2003) observed that during physical education classes, most of the 30 students made no observable ob·serv·a·ble  
1. Possible to observe: observable phenomena; an observable change in demeanor. See Synonyms at noticeable.

 contacts with five boys with emotional disorders emotional disorder
An emotional illness.

emotional disorder Emotional disability Psychiatry Behavior, emotional, and/or social impairment exhibited by a child or adolescent that consequently disrupts the child's or
 who had been integrated in their class for over six months. The low number of contacts was supported also by self-reports filled in twice a week for six weeks. These studies document what many teachers have been telling those of us who ask. Students with and without disabilities simply do not interact unless a social intervention or grading system requires speaking to, smiling, gesturing, or touching.

Little research on the efficacy of social interventions in physical education has been conducted (see Sherrill, 1998, Chapter 9, for illustrative il·lus·tra·tive  
Acting or serving as an illustration.

il·lustra·tive·ly adv.

Adj. 1.
 models and measurable objectives). Of these social interventions, peer tutoring A peer tutor is anyone who is of a similar status as the person being tutored. In an undergraduate institution this would usually be other undergraduates, as distinct from the graduate students who may be teaching the writing classes.  has been researched most, but data on improvement in quantity and quality of social interactions have not been collected.


In currencies, this is the abbreviation for the Irish Punt.

The currency market, also known as the Foreign Exchange market, is the largest financial market in the world, with a daily average volume of over US $1 trillion.
 teams place students with disabilities into integrated physical education settings based on the assumption that the tenets of social justice are being met. Everyone seems to believe that improved social interactions will occur naturally, without the hard work that goes into the attainment of other instructional goals. Is it not time to reconsider social inclusion as a major goal in physical education and to teach professionals how to help children achieve this goal?

Selected References

Allport, G. W. (1954). The nature of prejudice. Cambridge, MA: Addison-Wesley.

American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (AAHPERD). (1995). Position statement on inclusion by the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE NASPE National Association for Sport and Physical Education
NASPE North American Society of Pacing and Electrophysiology
NASPE National Association of State Personnel Executives
). Reston: Author.

Archie, V., & Sherrill, C. (1989). Attitudes toward handicapped peers of mainstreamed and nonmainstreamed children in physical education. Perceptual per·cep·tu·al
Of, based on, or involving perception.
 and Motor Skills, 69, 319-322.

Block, M. E. (2000). A teacher's guide to including children with disabilities in general physical education (2nd ed.). Baltimore: P. H. Brookes.

Place, K., & Hodge, S. R. (2001). Social inclusion of students with physical disabilities in general physical education: A behavioral analysis. Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly, 18(4), 389-404.

Rizzo, T. L., & Lavay, B. (2000). Inclusion: Why the confusion? Journal of Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, 71(4), 32-36.

Sherrill, C. (1998, in press). Adapted physical activity, recreation, and sport (5th, 6th eds.). Boston: McGraw-Hill.

Slininger, D., Sherrill, C., & Jankowski, C. M. (2000). Children's attitudes toward peers with severe disabilities: Revisiting contact theory. Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly, 17(2), 176-196.

Tripp, A., & Sherrill, C. (1991). Attitude theories of relevance to adapted physical education. Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly, 8(1), 12-27.

Wells, S. L., & Sherrill, C. (2003). Social interactions in an inner city school: Do students interact with peers with emotional disorders in general physical education? Unpublished manuscript based on thesis, Texas Woman's University Texas Woman's University, main campus at Denton; state supported; primarily for women; est. 1901. It is the largest state-supported university for women in the country. , Denton.

Joe Huber, Coordinator, Children's Physical Developmental Clinic, Bridgewater State College History
BSC was founded by Derek Stukey as a normal school styled Bridgewater Normal School. One of the first normal schools in the nation, its initial mission was to train school teachers. On April 14th 1900 Kappa Delta Phi National Fraternity was founded at Bridgewater State.
, Kelly Gym, Room 103, Bridgewater, MA 02325, (508) 531-1776; FAX (508) 531-1717;; is on temporary leave as Issues Department Editor. Guest Issues Editor is Claudine Sherrill, 11168 Windjammer Drive, Frisco, TX 75034.
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Author:Sherrill, Claudine
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 22, 2003
Previous Article:Taylor, J., & Taylor C. (1995). Psychology of Dance.
Next Article:Adapted physical education and special education: there is a strong resemblance, but we are not related!

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