Conference Contribution Details
Mandatory Fields
Tindall, D., & Culhane, M.
American Alliance of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (AAHPERD)
'Irish pre-service teachers' self-efficacy toward teaching children with disabilities'
St. Louis, MO. USA
Oral Presentation
Optional Fields


This study examines the effects of a ten-week adapted physical activity (APA) programme on the self-efficacy levels of pre-service physical education teachers towards teaching children with disabilities. The research was conducted on pre-service physical education teachers at a university, located in the south-western part of Ireland, who acted as coaches for children with disabilities within an APA programme for one hour every week. The pre-service teachers completed a ‘Self-Efficacy Scale for Physical Education Teacher Education Majors toward Children with Disabilities’ (SE-PETE-D) questionnaire both before and after their participation in the APA programme. This was followed up by a focus group discussion whereby four participants discussed the results from the questionnaires. They also shared their experiences of the APA programme and the impact it had upon their self-efficacy levels towards teaching students with intellectual, physical and visual disabilities.


Participants included 61 pre-service teachers (PSTs; ages 19-25) in their 3rd year of a physical education initial teacher education (PE-ITE) program at a university within Ireland. PSTs assisted 45 children and young adults (ages 5 to 21) with various disabilities, as they participated in a weekly 1-hour APA programme. Over the course of ten weeks, children engaged in different physical activities such as dance, games, and health-related activity (HRA).

Data was collected from the PSTs through weekly reflective logs completed over the course of the programme. Through these logs, PSTs were to address two specific questions relating to their attitudes: ‘Am I changing?’ And ‘What is causing me to change? PSTs then constructed one final reflection exploring if and how attitudes towards children with disabilities may have or have not changed as a result of participating in the APA programme.


Independent samples t-test showed that self-efficacy scores towards all forms of disabilities were statistically higher after participation in the APA programme than those prior to participation in the programme. Through thematic analysis of the focus group discussion the following themes related to the participants’ experiences emerged: self-efficacy levels to begin with, development of self-efficacy levels, positive attitudes linked to higher levels of self-efficacy, the ability to modify tasks and instructions and levels of self-efficacy in relation to different forms of disabilities. The focus group discussion also confirmed the findings from the questionnaire to be true and accurate.


The results of this research supports the continued implementation and evolution of this current program in its’ efforts to expose Irish pre-service teachers to children with disabilities. Changes in attitude and linkage to elements of programming and experience that influenced them have been recorded through the reflections of the third year PSTs and henceforth, teacher education best practice should utilize these themes to inform teacher education programming.