The Unheard Partner in Adapted Physical Activity Community Service Learning

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Community service learning (CSL), built on collaborative, reciprocal, and diverse disability-community partnerships, is a taken-for-granted pedagogical practice in adapted physical activity. Thus far, the CSL experiences of community members as they support student learning are virtually unknown. The purpose of the study was to understand how community members experienced an undergraduate adapted physical activity CSL course. Using an interpretative phenomenological analysis research approach, 9 adults (2 female, 7 male, mean age 50 years) experiencing disability participated in individual and focus-group interviews. Field notes and artifacts were also gathered. Relational ethics provided a heuristic framework to facilitate the interpretation of the findings. Four themes were crafted: (a) yes, we are willing partners; (b) but . . . we’re in the dark; (c) subjected to being the subject; and (d) engage through relationships. Although overlooked as valuable collaborative and reciprocal partners, relational engagement remained central to the participants’ CSL experience.

The authors are with the University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada.

Marsh Naturkach (rmarsh2@ualberta.ca) is corresponding author.
Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly
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