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Occupational socialization theory has been used to understand the recruitment, education, and socialization of physical education teachers for nearly 40 yr. It has, however, only recently been applied to the study of adapted physical education teachers. The purpose of this descriptive case study was to understand the socialization of preservice teachers in an adapted physical education teacher education graduate-level program. Participants included 17 purposefully selected preservice teachers (5 male and 12 female) enrolled in a yearlong graduate-level adapted physical education teacher education program. Qualitative data were collected using interviews, reflective journaling, and field notes taken during teaching and coursework observations. Data analysis resulted in the construction of 3 themes: overcoming contextual challenges to meet learners’ needs, the importance of field-based teacher education, and coping with the challenges of marginalization. The discussion connects to and advances occupational socialization theory in adapted physical education and suggests that professional socialization may have a more profound influence on preservice adapted physical education teachers than on their physical education counterparts.
Wilson is with the School of Kinesiology, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Lafayette, LA. Richards is with the Dept. of Kinesiology and Community Health, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL.