Methodological actions to contribute to the process of Inclusive Physical Education: An approach to the topic

Mendive. Revista de Educación, january-may 2019; 17(1): 84-96

Translated from the original in Spanish

Methodological actions to contribute to the process of Inclusive Physical Education: An approach to the topic


Acciones metodológicas para contribuir al proceso de Educación Física Inclusiva: una aproximación al tema


Annia Gómez Valdés1, Daimely de la Caridad Planes Rivera2, Yovany Gómez Ledesma3

1University of Pinar del Río «Hermanos Saíz Montes de Oca», Faculty of Physical Culture «Nancy Uranga Romagoza». Pinar del Río. Cuba. Email:
2University of Pinar del Río «Hermanos Saíz Montes de Oca». Faculty of Physical Culture «Nancy Uranga Romagoza ». Didactic Department of Physical Education. Pinar del Rio. Cuba.
3Mantua Municipal University Center Pinar del Rio Cuba.


Received: September 26th, 2018.
Approved: December 12th, 2018. 



The inclusion of children with special educational needs in the schools of general teaching, it is a great challenge for the professionals of the education, in specific, those of the Physical Education; because for diverse reasons they have had insufficient methodological tools to carry out this process from the class of physical education in the primary teaching. The study that is presented has as objective to establish methodological actions to contribute to the process of Inclusive Physical Education in the primary schools of the Pinar del Río city. The use of theoretical methods as analysis-synthesis, inductive-deductive, historical-logical and empiric methods as the survey, the observation and the work with documents, allowed to verify the limitations in the inclusion degree of children with special educational needs, due to the poor characterization of the same ones and the establishment of didactic resources that facilitate their active participation, starting from adapting the instruction to the individual differences, the personal aptitudes and to the degree of personal autonomy. Methodological actions were elaborated that group for the type of special educational needs, then offering to the professor different indications in those that are KEPT either in mind pedagogic supports in the material, in the use of the space, in the motive tasks, in the explanation and demonstration of the physical-sport activity. It concludes exposing the importance of adjusting each one from the activities to the characteristics and each scholar's potentialities and the group in general, recommending their application to verify their effectiveness. 

Keywords: methodological actions; Inclusive Physical Education; special educational needs.


La inclusión de escolares con necesidades educativas especiales (NEE) en las escuelas de la enseñanza general, es un gran reto para los profesionales de la educación, en específico, los de la Educación Física; ya que, por diversas razones, han tenido insuficientes herramientas metodológicas para asumir este reto desde la clase de Educación Física (EF) en la Enseñanza Primaria. El trabajo que se presenta tiene como objetivo establecer acciones metodológicas para contribuir al proceso de Educación Física Inclusiva (EFI) en las escuelas primarias del municipio Pinar del Río. El empleo de métodos teóricos como análisis-síntesis, inductivo-deductivo, histórico-lógico y métodos empíricos como la encuesta, la observación y el análisis documental, permitieron constatar las limitaciones en el grado de inclusión de escolares con necesidades educativas especiales, debido a la pobrecaracterización de los mismos y la falta de recursos didácticos que posibiliten su participación activa. A partir de adaptar la instrucción a las diferencias individuales, las aptitudes personales y al grado de autonomía personal, se elaboraron entonces acciones metodológicas que se agrupan por el tipo de NEE, las cuales brindan al profesor diferentes indicaciones en las que se tienen en cuenta apoyos pedagógicos, mediante un material didáctico, en la utilización del espacio, en las tareas motrices, en la explicación y la demostración de la actividad físico-deportiva. Se concluye exponiendo la importancia de ajustar cada una de las actividades a las características y potencialidades de cada escolar y el grupo en general, recomendando su aplicación para constatar su efectividad.

Palabras clave: acciones metodológicas; Educación Física Inclusiva; necesidades educativas especiales.



One of the great challenges that Cuban education faces today is the search for excellence in teaching, facing the attention to the diversity of students with different conditions and aspirations, this being one of the essential aspects to take into account in development of the teaching-learning process.

The diversity of students is shown, not only for those with a special educational need caused by intellectual, sensory or motor deficiencies, but also those with socioeconomic, linguistic, regional disadvantages, among others. Hence, some years ago we are talking about "Inclusive Education" and even more of an international educational policy, which responds to "Education for All."

Education for all in Cuba is fully inserted in the conception formed in the country, in which, education constitutes a social process, organized and directed, based on understanding Cuban society as an educating society, in its essence . Ministry of Education of Cuba, (2014).

For this reason and in compliance with the objectives set by the country to consolidate and exceed the goals already fulfilled from the common commitments agreed in Dakar - 2000 for 2015, it is that a third improvement of education materializes, in which among others aspects, the presence of schoolchildren with special educational needs (SEN) in general schools is evident.

There is talk then of the educational inclusion of these school children, which according to data shown in the Report of the National Review of Education for All to 2015 of the Republic of Cuba . Ministry of Education of Cuba, (2014) in the 2013-2014 academic year was 1966 students included, (1477) in Primary Education and (489) Basic Secondary.

Related to the inclusion in physical activity and sport, different research is distinguished in different countries. In this sense, Spain, Chile, Brazil and Mexico are references, which have made interesting contributions regarding the importance of teacher training for the attention in physical education classes to students with SEN, the conditions they must have the infrastructure to achieve effective inclusion, the valuations of teachers and students included on this process, among others. As well as, different authors have defined educational inclusion or inclusive education, which in summary refers to an educational process where diversity is attended from its organization in the school, the community and the family.

On many occasions the concepts, objectives and principles of inclusion remain in theory, without teachers having the resources and tools that make it feasible in practice, which needs to adapt the teaching to the characteristics of schoolchildren with SEN that you have in the group. That is, from the practice of physical education and sports, it is essential to use adaptations to motor tasks, materials, evaluation, space in correspondence with the specific educational needs of each school, which allows the learning of all and everyone; so that you can talk about an EFI.

The EF for schoolchildren with SEN uses games and sports as instruments of communication, relationship and expression. «Educating through the body and movement serves to acquire the emotional and relationship skills so necessary to live in society. »

Ocete, (2016). In addition to contributing to the socialization and psychomotor development that is needed for an independent life.

The degree of inclusion of students with disabilities in the area of Physical Education will be conditioned by the following aspects: a critical reflection on the current curriculum, the degree of professional and personal commitment of the teacher, the characteristics of said school and the teaching resources or tools teachers who enable their active participation in the classes, regardless of their learning pace and their individual characteristics Quintero, (2008).

In Cuba, scientific research has been carried out related to the integration and inclusion of children with special educational needs in physical-sports activities. These contributions serve as theoretical, methodological, and practical support for this research, since most of them have been directed to adapted physical activities in the context of the special school and attention to health problems in the Physical Education class.

Despite this, it is evident in them that each school, materials, facilities and teaching experience is different. In this way the contradiction underlies that although the existence of innumerable bibliography on the benefits and conceptual foundations of inclusion is true, it is also important to highlight that there are still large gaps on how to approach schoolchildren in the context of the EF according to the NEE.

It is evident then that it is the professionals of the Physical Culture who are responsible for the pedagogical attention of these schoolchildren in the teaching-learning process of the PE. Process aimed at solving a specific need from the point of view of learning. Being, precisely in this process, where the fundamental limitations emerge due to the lack of suitable didactic-methodological tools that respond to the diversity of their group.

These aspects are found in the EF teachers of the primary schools of the municipality of Pinar del Río, which include schoolchildren with SEN, specifically with hearing loss and cochlear implant, language delays, intellectual disability, autism and physical motor limitations.

In an exploratory study, research instruments and techniques such as the survey, class observations and document analysis were applied. The analysis of their results allowed us to determine the following regularities: Lack of systematics in the active participation of schoolchildren with SEN in PE classes, the area of EF is inadequate for the practice of physical-sports activities in the elderly percent of schools, lack of criteria for the psychomotor evaluation of these schoolchildren. This demonstrates that teachers have theoretical-methodological limitations in the EFI process of schoolchildren with SEN, which generates a problem given by the deficiencies in the EFI process of schoolchildren with SEN that manifests itself as anemic, spontaneous and decontextualized, which contrasts with the need to include them in a participatory manner in the PE classes, so that they contribute to their social and educational integration.

The greatest contribution of this research lies in the creation of methodological actions, considering the student's SEN, in order to make reference to the adequacy of the basic elements of the curriculum, based on individualized curricular adaptations that consider the objective, the content, the motor task, methodology, materials, skills, space and evaluation; which will enable its materialization in the EF classes in the primary schools of the Pinar del Río municipality. Hence, the general objective is to establish methodological actions that contribute to the EFI process in a systematic way in the primary schools of the Pinar del Río municipality.



The results shown in this article were obtained by using the following methods:

Theoretical Methods:

Historical-logical: it was used to systematize theories about the EFI process aimed specifically at schoolchildren with SEN, internationally and nationally.

Analytical-synthetic: In the decomposition of the elements that include the object of study, that is, the EFI process of schoolchildren with SEN, as well as, in the elaboration of methodological actions that enable this process in the primary schools of the Pinar del Rio municipality

Inductive-deductive: In inferences about the level of inclusion of schoolchildren with SEN in the PE classes in the primary schools of the Pinar del Río municipality and the methodological actions that are needed to contribute to this process.

Empirical Methods:

Survey: In the search for information related to the inclusion of schoolchildren with SEN in the EF classes based on a questionnaire made to teachers in the primary schools of the municipality of Pinar del Río.

Document analysis: In the search for theoretical and methodological background related to the inclusion of schoolchildren in the PE process through the documentary analysis of the program, the planning of the teaching units, as well as the bibliography those teachers have.

Observation: To assess the attention provided by EF teachers to schoolchildren with SEN included in their class.

Statistical Methods

For the development of the work, descriptive statistics are used in the primary elaboration of the data. This procedure allowed to process the data obtained after the instruments were applied, with their subsequent processing, using as a statistical technique the calculation of relative quantities (%).

To diagnose the current state of inclusion in the process of EF of students with SEN in primary schools in the municipality Pinar del Río was taken as population 37 PE teachers who work directly with these / os school in primary schools in the municipality Pinar del Rio and 7 were taken as a sample representing 32, 43 % of the population.

The sample design is probabilistic, since all teachers had the same possibility of being chosen to form the sample. The type of sampling is simple random, without replacement. The sample is classified as dependent represented by a single group.

The representativeness in the selection was given in the proportion 1 of 5, equivalent to 20% of the population, that is, of 37 PE teachers when divided into groups of 5, a sample of size 7 was obtained.



To characterize the degree of inclusion of schoolchildren with SEN in the PE process in the primary schools of the Pinar del Río municipality, the survey, work with documents and observation were used as instruments; Then the results of your application.

The five teachers surveyed represent 71.4 %. They are graduates in Physical Culture, with an experience ranging between nine and 37 years; they have been working between 1 and 6 years with schoolchildren who present NEE, which make up 19.

The highest percentage has worked with students with hearing impairment and physical-motor disabilities with 37 and 35 % respectively. Specifically within motor physical disabilities they have attended schoolchildren with Obstetric Brachial Palsy, Cerebral Palsy Hemiparesis; in relation to hearing impairments, schoolchildren with mild hearing loss and cochlear implants; of visual impairment they point to a weak visual schoolchild, a schoolboy with dysarthria (language disorders) and refer to the attention of cognitive disorders (intellectual disability).

The seven teachers report knowing what the EFI is (question 6) considering that all schoolchildren with SEN can be included (question 7) to which they argue that: they just need to know their condition to plan their classes and exercises in her / he function and the group average; because they manage to do the activities without difficulty like the others, because the Physical Education classes are going to give them great help, they prepare them physically and mentally and enable their social and personal development; as well as body development, also improve your psychomotor development.

Therefore, in general they mean that it will offer you learning experiences, necessary for an adequate bio - psycho- social development.

71.4 % of respondents report using methodological strategies to develop their classes with schoolchildren with SEN included in the EF. They propose that they are the same as the other students, taking into account their pathology, motivation and activities outlined in the sports strategy. In addition, they refer to systematize the study of disability and use respect as a basis, which denotes poor knowledge about the basic methodological indications to be taken into account by EF teachers for the participation of schoolchildren with SEN in physical sports activities.

86% report that they have been diagnosed with everything the student does not know how to do based on the clinical and pedagogical diagnosis made by the Diagnostic and Orientation Center (CDO), the medical summary, physical appearance, disposition of him and the parents, the diagnosis of skills and abilities and physical-motor development.

If an assessment is made of the correspondence of these answers with what the EF teacher should contribute to the diagnosis; It is found that only 42.9% of teachers refer to work capacity when talking about physical-motor development, motor skills and abilities and 28.6% to behavior when pointing out the interest of schoolchildren and parents

None of the teachers proposes using curricular adaptations to plan, organize and teach their classes (question 12). However, 4 of them representing 57.14 % respond that in the school they have taken collegial measures to include schoolchildren in the PE classes (question 15), highlighting the withdrawal of the cochlear implant, the mismatch of the schedule of class with another group, the incorporation of specific exercises (balance, coordination) and that in the methodological activities the sports strategy is elaborated, which means that they use adaptations of access to the curriculum.

Having the conditions and the necessary material for an EFI in school is a contradictory topic in the answers to questions 16 and 22. Although six of the respondents representing 85.7 % consider not having the right conditions for their classes inclusive, six say they have the necessary material to make them. The biggest contradiction is that they indicate not using curricular adaptations and that the facilities are small, irregular spaces, in land spaces, without the adequate conditions for the realization with the quality of the Physical Education process, which attentive, with the quality of this process, more if the type of school is considered.

Therefore, the answer to question 17 85.7 % review have architectural barriers that are obstacles to participation / os students with NEE, pointing to the plumbing, electrical and poles records for the ne t volleyball as one of they.

Positive element in the survey is that 85.7 % of respondents specify that schoolchildren with SEN do participate in the classes, considering that they are satisfied to participate with everyone in the classes.

The main regularities found in the analysis of the EF Program and its use by teachers are: The EF program indicates the creativity of the teacher to adapt the activities to the diversity of schoolchildren, there is a lack of evidence of the diagnoses made to the schoolchildren with NEE, the didactic units are planned in correspondence with the current week, presence of observations for the sports strategy for schoolchildren with dysarthria and visual and auditory impairment, work in duos, trios and circles predominates as groupings, the game predominates in teams, they conceive the activities increasing the complexity of the tasks.

These aspects allow us to conclude that there is a lack of critical reflection on the teaching resources that teachers will use for the active participation of schoolchildren with SEN in PE classes, even though they are in the area and carry out the planned activities, what is stated in the observations to classes.

The simple and covert observation of seven classes was carried out, one for each teacher. In these, it is verified that curricular adaptations are used only sometimes indicating the lack of preparation in this regard. In addition, the use of alternative materials, of attention to individual differences, the correction of errors, the precautions to be taken according to the class area is poor, highlighting that they use the game as an alternative.

The results of the empirical methods used allowed us to reach the following conclusions: there are limitations in the degree of inclusion of schoolchildren as it fails to comply with several aspects that according to the systematization of the literature consulted for research should be conditioned by: a reflection Criticism of the program, the degree of professional and personal commitment of the teacher, the characteristics of the student, the teaching resources or tools that enable the student's active participation, taking into account their learning pace and individual characteristics.

This allowed elaborating the methodological actions that contribute to the process of Inclusive Physical Education in the primary schools of the Pinar del Río municipality.

In order to make the proposal, the methodological aspects addressed for each special educational need in the subjects Adapted Physical Education and Adapted Physical Activities, of the Degree in Physical Culture.

To implement a better inclusion of schoolchildren with SEN in the Physical Education process, it is proposed:

1. Comprehensive diagnosis that contains information about the health and educational process of the schoolchild that favors development and learning with the participation of the family.

2. Establish access adaptations to the curriculum which includes:

It was considered to group the methodological actions by special educational need so it was structured as follows:

1. Methodological actions that contribute to the inclusion of schoolchildren with intellectual disabilities:

2. Methodological actions that contribute to the inclusion of visually impaired schoolchildren:

3. Methodological actions that contribute to the inclusion of schoolchildren with hearing impairments:

4. Methodological actions that contribute to the inclusion of school children with physical disabilities:

5. Methodological actions that contribute to the inclusion of schoolchildren with language disorders:

These actions have as a fundamental purpose that all of you learn together, the fundamental objective of the inclusive school. Organization of Ibero-American States for Education, l. C., (2010)

By way of conclusions, it can be stated that it is vitally important to take into account the pace of learning of each school to specify the teaching resources they need, depending on whether they all participate, benefiting from a quality education, which guarantees a degree of inclusion according to your satisfaction needs for participating in physical sports activities.



At present, from the pedagogical point of view we are talking about educational inclusion or inclusive education. This term refers to the way in which diversity should be answered and is based on the guidelines that are set out in different international laws and congresses on educational issues and human rights that have been held since 1948.

Inclusion at the narrowest level could be seen as a theoretical concept of pedagogy that refers to the way in which the school should respond to diversity, as it could also be thought to be a concept that emerged in the 90s that sought to replace the concept of integration, which for others, persists in a dominant way even in educational practice. Borges and Orosco, (2013)

For Castillo Briseño (2015), inclusive education aims to transform educational centers and their contexts, in order to respond to emerging educational diversity, both from a social and individual perspective, based on equal opportunities. That is, inclusive education, first of all, is conceived as a matter of human rights on equal terms for all and all Castillo, (2015); criterion that is the theoretical basis from which it was based to establish the methodological actions, in such a way that they contribute to an active participation of the schoolchildren with SEN in the EF classes.

From the action of the professional of Physical Culture and Sports, their pedagogical response should start from the Physical Education program and the psychomotor characterization of schoolchildren with SEN to establish their intervention strategy through adapted physical-sports activities that attend to diversity, that is to say, adapted physical activities (AFA) considered as «the process of teaching performance to respond to the needs of students with disabilities» Tierra y Castillo, (2009 , p.57).

In the field of Physical Education, adaptation is designed for schoolchildren who, for whatever reason, cannot participate in it, which is why it is called Adapted Physical Education (EFA) and / or (EFI). The latter has attracted the attention of professionals in physical activity and sports, which receives the influence of inclusive education, so it is based on including schoolchildren with SEN in Physical Education (EF) classes.

Hence, it is important to answer 4 questions Gomendio, (2000, p. 59): What to teach? What collects information about objectives and contents of teaching? How much to teach? It is about deciding how to order and sequence these objectives and contents. How to teach? It is necessary a planning of teaching and learning activities that allows achieving the objectives. What, how and when to evaluate? the evaluation will allow to judge if the desired objectives have been achieved.

This will allow making an adequate proposal to the educational needs in the EF, so adaptations must be made so that everyone can participate.

Therefore, "the challenge of the new teacher of EF is to generate learning environments and transform the class into a process of inclusion by means of methods of understanding and awareness." Vanegas, (2016, p. 11)

Considering these aspects, each methodological action is in correspondence with the psychopedagogical and motor characteristics of schoolchildren with SEN.

The grouping of methodological actions by the type of special educational need includes aspects to be taken into account from the point of view of the material, space, tactics, regulations and behavior of the student to contribute to their inclusion in the Physical Education process in the primary schools of the Pinar del Río municipality; whose proposal is based on general indications related to the diagnosis and the establishment of access adaptations to the curriculum.



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