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Professional Development in Adapted Physical Education with Graduate Web-Based Professional Learning

Takahiro Sato and Justin A. Haegele

Published in Physical Education & Sport Pedagogy


This study investigated in-service PE teachers’ professional development experiences during and after online APE graduate professional learning based on andragogy theory. Andragogy (adult learning) theory addresses the particular needs of adult learners and is based on the idea that there are significant differences in learning characteristics between children and adults. Eight participants were purposefully selected for this study. All participants were in-service PE teachers enrolled in a state-approved online graduate APE endorsement program at a Midwestern public university in the United States. The program included two online courses titled Introduction of APE and Practicum in APE. Three interrelated themes emerged from the data. The first theme, role transformation, described how participants expanded their roles as physical educators, and were motivated to gain knowledge of medical conditions and intervention techniques, which could be embedded into PE lessons for students with disabilities. The second theme, professional community development – mentorship, explained experiences where participants, during and after completion of their courses, were assigned to serve as APE resource specialists to help their PE colleagues learn to teach, assess, and evaluate students with disabilities at their school district. The last theme, understanding the current status of PE represented the participants’ views that taking online APE professional development courses was the only opportunity to know about work conditions, APE resources, and policy of other school district.