Physical Education Paraeducators
Type of DegreePhD Dissertation
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The purpose of this dissertation was to discover the lived experiences and perceptions of administrators, physical educators, and physical education paraeducators (PEPs) in Alabama regarding the hiring, training, responsibilities, and roles of PEPs within physical education and the school as a whole. Role Socialization Theory (RST) was used as a guiding lens to discover the roles of PEPs within physical education and the school as a whole. Thirty-five administrators, 34 physical educators, and 20 PEPs took part in a state-wide anonymous online survey. This survey addressed participants perceptions and experiences regarding the hiring, training, responsibilities, and roles of PEPs both in physical education and the school as a whole. Additionally, 12 physical educators and 12 PEPs took part in informal semi-structured virtual interviews concerning their experiences and perceptions working with or being a PEP. Surveys were analyzed using descriptive statistics. Interviews were analyzed using phenomenological analysis procedures utilizing RST as a guiding lens. Results show that PEPs play an integral role in the success of physical education programs given the large class sizes that exist in this subject area. PEPs are often unprepared and untrained, leaving it to the physical educator to train them “on-the-job”. There seems to be a disconnect between school administrators and school district level employees and those PEPs who work in their physical education programs, which has led to PEPs reporting a lack of communication and acknowledgement from these personnel. Additionally, schools are more frequently moving to hiring for this position through an outside temp agency. Physical educators and PEPs report this is decreasing the value of the position. Physical educators often serve as advocates for their PEPs in their school, and report that their PEPs are commonly taking on more responsibilities than they are qualified for or paid to do.