Date of Award

Spring 2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)


Human Movement Sciences

Committee Director

Justin A. Haegele

Committee Member

Xihe Zhu

Committee Member

Jonna Bobzien


Introduction. While research to date has examined the views of individuals with visual impairments toward integrated public-school physical education, little attention has been given to examining perspectives toward experiences at residential schools for those with visual impairments. By understanding the perspectives of those who attended physical education in both contexts, researchers can gain valuable information about particularities that can make experiences meaningful or challenging. The purpose of this study was to examine how individuals who experienced physical education in both integrated and residential school settings viewed their physical education class experiences. Methods. This study utilized a retrospective interpretative phenomenological approach (IPA) to investigate the experiences of individuals with visual impairments in two distinct physical education contexts. Five adults with visual impairments (aged 20 to 35 years; three males, two females) were enrolled in this study. Data collection for this study included semi-structured telephone interviews and reflective interview notes. Interview data were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim, and data were analyzed thematically using a process guided by IPA. Results. Based on the data analysis, two interrelated themes emerged from the participants transcripts, (a) feelings about inclusion and exclusion, and (b) support needs met at residential schools. The first theme described participants reflections that across school settings, feelings about inclusivity and exclusivity were central to how the participants understood their physical education experiences. The second theme described how perceived teacher support and feelings of relatedness with peers were identified by the participants as important factors related to their willingness to explore the environment and engage in physical education curricula. Discussion. Across school settings, feelings about the inclusivity and exclusivity were central to how the participants understood their physical education experiences. Positive experiences in physical education, which includes engagement and success, are often influenced by supportive teacher behaviors and peer relationships (Coates & Vickerman, 2008; Haegele & Sutherland 2015). Implications for practice. The findings of this study provide teachers a depiction of experiences in two settings that can help them understand what is needed of them to provide meaningful physical education experiences for students with visual impairments.


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