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Publication Title

Sport, Education and Society








Disability simulations have been advocated as a tool to facilitate pedagogical learning among prospective physical education (PE) teachers. However, much of the research currently available neglect the views of people with disabilities about the development and use of such simulations. To address this omission, this study used vignettes and telephone interviews to elicit the views of nine people with visual impairments (VI) regarding the value (or not) of simulating this impairment with prospective PE teachers. Data were analysed thematically and the following themes were constructed in the process: (1) Involving people with VI in simulations; (2) Diversity and complexity of VI; (3) Adapting learning activities; (4) Grouping pupils in relation to ‘ability’; and (5) Seeking the senses and touch as a pedagogical tool. Our findings suggest that simulating VI can (a) facilitate learning about how to plan and teach activities that are tailored to the needs and capabilities of pupils with VI thereby responding creatively to the challenges of inclusion in PE lessons, (b) broaden prospective teachers’ beliefs about ability beyond the physical to include the social, affective and cognitive domains, (c) act as a potential avenue for prospective PE teachers to develop more complex and nuanced views about VI and their own sightedness, and (d) contribute towards disrupting ocular centric, ableist notions of pedagogy in PE as a way of enhancing the meaningful experiences of pupils with VI in lessons. In closing, we reflect on the need for research into the ethics of constructing and delivering VI simulations without involvement from people living with this impairment.


© 2021 The Authors.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) License, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.

Original Publication Citation

Maher, A. J., Haegele, J. A., & Sparkes, A. C. (2022). ‘It’s better than going into it blind’: Reflections by people with visual impairments regarding the use of simulation for pedagogical purposes. Sport, Education and Society, 27(6), 647-661.


0000-0002-8580-4782 (Haegele)