Florian (2015)Conceptualising inclusive pedagogy: The inclusive pedagogical approach in action. In J. M., Deppeler, T., Loreman, R., Smith & L., Florian (eds), Inclusive Pedagogy Across the Curriculum. Vol. 7. (pp. 11-24). Bingley: Emerald Group Publishing Limited. highlights that the lack of clear definition for inclusion largely stems from divergent definitions, approaches and expectations emerging simultaneously. For this reason, this Disentangling Inclusion in Primary School Physical Education (DIPPE) online resource begins by providing an overview of the concept of inclusion and how it has been understood throughout the development of this project. Concurrent with Wrench and Garrett (2018)Diversity and Inclusion. In G., Griggs & K. Petrie (Eds.), Routledge Handbook of Primary Physical Education (pp. 134-144). Abingdon: Routledge., this resource emphasises the need to develop a critical understanding of inclusion – not just recognising difference but providing for differences through adaptations and modifications to curriculum and pedagogy.
In the context of this DIPPE online resource inclusion is understood as a sense of belonging, which includes feeling respected, valued for who you are, feeling a level of supportive energy and commitment from others. This means that diversity is valued and promoted within learning communities.
With increasing diversity in society and classrooms, it is vital that individual differences are expected and understood by teachers and children. In valuing diversity, it is important for teachers to engage children in dialogue about difference, diversity, tolerance, trust, respect and inclusion.
We describe inclusion as valuing diversity and respecting the individual differences present in each classroom. According to UNESCO (2005)Guidelines for inclusion: ensuring access to education for all. this is a process, a continuous search to find better ways of responding to, and learning from, diversity. This process involves identifying and removing barriers to participation through creative problem-solving to enable full participation in class and achievement of learning outcomes across the curriculum. So how can you value diversity and respect individual differences in your physical education classes?
Valuing diversity requires developing ways to fully include and benefit everyone in the class, regardless of children’s additional needs. There is no “one size fits all”, solution however, there are general guidelines that can be applied in all contexts. Essentially, there are two overarching guidelines. Firstly, to promote each child’s achievement, it is ideal to start with a full and accurate understanding of the skills, abilities and needs of all learners. This enables the identification of appropriate goals and supports within the classroom. This can be done with the support of a multidisciplinary team, which includes the young child and a parent or guardian and other education and inclusion colleagues. Secondly, re-evaluating and developing the curriculum to find ways to meet the needs of all children, both with and without additional needs, enables each child to flourish within physical education. This DIPPE resource acts as a guide through the process of learning to promote inclusion within physical education.
Inclusive education for all learners is a right that has been increasingly recognised internationally in recent decades. Education was first established as a human right under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948)UN General Assembly (1948). Universal Declaration of Human Rights (217 (III) A). Paris: United Nations. . This was reiterated in 1966 by the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and again in
The first rights-based document to specifically declare physical education as a fundamental right for all was the International Charter for Physical Education, Physical Activity and Sport (
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD, 2006)Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: resolution / adopted by the General Assembly, 24 January 2007. established inclusive education as a human right for children with additional needs. It also addresses equal access to participation in play, recreation, and sport.
However, research suggests many children with additional needs do not yet receive equal access to physical education, indicating that policies have not entirely translated into inclusive practice (Overton, WrenchPedagogies for inclusion of junior primary students with disabilities in PE. Physical Education and Sport pedagogy. & Garrett, 2017Pedagogies for inclusion of junior primary students with disabilities in PE. Physical Education and Sport pedagogy.;
This figure illustrates the current convergence of international policies, thinking, and action in global physical education, physical activity and sport, with UNESCO policies (elements leading to the circle in green colour) and a United Nations policy (in red colour). The realisation of rights articulated in human rights treaties (elements leading to the circle in navy blue colour) is at the core of this momentum.