|Abstract or Summary
- The inclusion of students with disabilities in general physical education (GPE) classes has become a concept and practice that is expected if not always understood. A review of inclusion in physical education literature suggested that GPE teachers possess less than favorable feelings towards the inclusion of students with disabilities in their classroom (Block & Obrusnikova, 2007). In order to provide teacher-training programs that support inclusive instruction, a closer look into understanding teacher's inclusion behaviors is warranted. The current project aimed to examine (a) an integration of two psychosocial theories to explain teachers' inclusion behaviors and (b) what variables, such as years of experience, training, and beliefs, influenced these behaviors. The first manuscript employed Self-Efficacy Theory (SET) and Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) to predict teachers' behaviors towards including students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). There were 151 participants from a national random sample whom submitted surveys anonymously online. Results from a hierarchical regression analysis with SET entered into the first step, followed by TPB, indicated that self-efficacy explained 3.4% of the variance in behavior and the addition of TPB increased the variance explained to 5.3%. However, upon examining the beta values, SET was the only significant predictor of inclusive behaviors. The second manuscript investigated relationships between GPE teachers' beliefs, training, experience, and behaviors. Participants were 142 current GPE teachers who submitted surveys anonymously online. Results from a regression analysis indicated that teachers' experience, graduate coursework in adapted physical education (APE), and perceptions of strength in undergraduate training in APE significantly predicted their behavior for including students with ASD. Although the proposed integrative framework was not supported for predicting inclusion behavior, results did provide a unique glimpse into what teachers' are faced with in terms of numbers of students, support from other professionals, training, as well as personal confidence. While teacher education appears to be a significant predictor of inclusion behaviors, questions remain as to what kind of training is most successful at preparing teachers' to include students with disabilities. Future research should look not only into teacher education programs, but also into student-level behaviors (i.e. physical activity and engagement) in effort to establish evidence of best practices in teacher education.