Non-disabled secondary school children's lived experiences of a wheelchair basketball programme delivered in the East of England

Evans, Adam B., Bright, Jonathan L. and Brown, Lindsay (2015) Non-disabled secondary school children's lived experiences of a wheelchair basketball programme delivered in the East of England. Sport, Education and Society, 20 (6). pp. 741-761. ISSN 1357-3322

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Item Type:Article
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Frequently an unquestioned belief is held in British schools in the value of ‘normalized’ ability in physical education (PE). Consequently inclusion of disabled students can be problematic. Negative perceptions of disability are rarely challenged. This study investigated the embodied experiences of 49 non-disabled secondary school pupils during a programme designed to introduce disability sport to non-disabled school children entitled ‘The Wheelchair Sports Project’. Funded by a County Sports Partnership, Wheelchair Basketball sessions were delivered by trained coaches during PE for a 12-week period. Forty-nine pupils aged between 10 and 12 years took part in the study. Non-participant observations were completed during the programme, and semi-structured group interviews were completed with 24 participants pre- and post-project. Bourdieu's theoretical framework guided data analysis. The impact of the project on pupils' perceptions of physical disability was investigated. Prior to the project, pupils emphasized the ‘otherness’ of disabled bodies and described disability sport as inferior and not ‘real’. Observations highlighted how pupils experienced physical challenges adapting to wheelchair basketball. Pupils struggled to control wheelchairs and frequently diverged from acceptable behaviour by using their lower limbs to ‘cheat’. Post-programme group interviews demonstrated that, due to their own embodied experiences, pupils began to question their perceptions of the potential ability of participants with physical impairments. Pupils described high physical demands of wheelchair basketball and began to focus upon similarities between themselves and physically disabled individuals. However, participants made no reference to impairments other than physical disability, emphasizing the specificity of the effects of pupils' embodied experiences on their embodied habitus, which, although difficult to assess over the long term, appeared to have an impact on self-perceptions over the short term.

Keywords:Disability, Physical Education, Inclusion, Bourdieu, Embodied experiences, Wheelchair Sport, Children's Perceptions, JCNotOpen
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C600 Sports Science
L Social studies > L300 Sociology
X Education > X330 Academic studies in Secondary Education
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Sport and Exercise Science
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ID Code:10021
Deposited On:21 Jun 2013 09:58

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