Investigations, projects, and recommendations for improvement of inclusion in physical education in europe

Por: Hana Valkova e Maria Dinold.

Athens 2004: Pre-olympic Congress

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It was in the frame of the EU-Project Thematic Network Adapted Physical Activity - Educational and Social Integration of Persons with a Handicap through Adapted Physical Activity (THENAPA) that research projects and other activities have been organized throughout Europe in order to

-          improve the situation of individuals with special needs by developing adapted programs for physical education, rehabilitation, recreation, and sports and extend/improve the knowledge about the concept of APA

-          respect their social integration and increase consciousness concerning special needs in education

-          enhance the acceptance of inclusive education in schools and sports and improve the academic education of the teachers and coaches

Inclusion is understood as a process that is brought about by way of daily life integration, education and physical education (PE) lessons. Inclusion is not the aim, but a means to socialisation and independent living, characterised by a range of variants, from the most restrictive to the least restrictive environment.


Special focus was put on the situation of inclusion in physical education (PE) in integrated classes including the education of the PE-teachers. Opinion data analysis referred to the questionnaires answered by the key persons of the 23 member countries. The collection of information and basic data was different in each country. The results will refer to the developed materials – mainly summarizing the three phases of investigations by questionnaires.


As a result some examples of good practice about PE-teacher education and their support were reported. But the chapter on listing items to improve about teacher training and issues which hinder successful inclusion was far more substantial. Pure quantitative data was rarely provided but a wide range of proposals in reference to the enhancement of continuing education for in-service teachers. Besides proposals for more specialised contents, knowledge and competencies, which have to be taught through these training programmes, the most important issues were:

-          to develop the awareness of the importance of physical activity for all children and all types of schools

-          to change attitudes towards disability and towards special needs of individuals

Discussion / Conclusions

This co-operative project could not identify much research work done on inclusion in PE but the representatives of THENAPA agreed on providing some recommendations to the European Commission with regard to teacher training, legislation for inclusion, current national state of inclusion, practical application of inclusion in PE, and the support system for inclusion in PE.



[1]. Thenapa (2003) CD-ROM: Adapt

[2]. Dinold, M. & Valkova, H. (2003). Inclusion and integration through Adapted Physical Activity, 47-73. K.U.Leuven



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