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Module 2

Accessibility & Inclusion in the PHE Classroom

Welcome to Module 2:  The purpose of this module is to assist physical educators in understanding the complexities that go hand in hand with building an inclusive environment for your diverse group of students.  Whether you are teaching physical education in a virtual environment or face to face educators need to proactively assess the barriers that students and their families may face in your classroom to ensure equitable engagement. It is important as educators, that we strive to create a learning environment that allows for more inclusion, accessibility, equity, and a culturally responsive approach to pedagogy. This module will ask you to reflect on your current ideas of what equity, diversity and inclusion means, to embrace new perspectives and to share ideas with other teachers of what has worked in your classrooms

Accessibility & Inclusion in the PHE Classroom

Diversity and inclusion in our classrooms is something teachers are constantly navigating and everyone taking this module comes from a wide range of teaching and life experiences dealing with issues around inclusion and diversity. Please take a moment to reflect on your experiences, perhaps stories or students that stand out, are there biases or blind spots that you may want to specifically address on your own throughout this module?  Take note of any preconceived notions you may have noticed about yourself in the last year and any areas you specifically wish to improve upon within the margins of this module. 


Minds On Activity:  Are you teaching in an inclusive school?


This quiz is meant as a minds-on activity to get you thinking and reflect on your teaching practices, your school environment and areas that may need attention. This little quiz was taken from an Inclusive Teaching Blog that has some good ideas, activities, and resources to assist teachers as they navigate through their teaching career, if you like Blogs it might be a good resource for you to bookmark.

  • Do students have a chance to share their interests with peers and adults?

  • Do you always model expected behaviours?

  • Have you made them welcome using their preferred communication method?

  • Do you ever just sit with them and share time and space without placing demands?

  • Do they trust you?

  • Are reactions and interactions always consistent and relentlessly positive?

  • Do they have a voice that all staff actively listen and respond to?

  • Is everything predictable, with routines, schedules co-created with input from the child?

  • Do you teach skills to cope with and thrive during unstructured time?

  • Do all children have their own space or territory and are there safe spaces to escape to?

  • Do you plan and prepare for all transitions?

  • Do you regularly ask “What is their behaviour telling me”?

Ask yourself how many questions did you answer "No" and pay close attention because perhaps those are some areas that you, or your school, could improve upon to create a more inclusive and comfortable learning environment for your students.  As you work through this module, keep these areas in mind if they related to your own teaching practice and perhaps use them as the focus of your reflections and activities. 

The Big Ideas

Breaking Barriers

Breaking Barriers

     Living in this world we are surrounded by people with different experiences, cultures, races, physical or mental abilities, and life perspectives. As human beings it is important we accept and understand that what people show us at face value is only the tip of the iceberg and there is much more than meets the eye. 

Inclusion in our classrooms

Throughout our teaching careers, we will come across a wide variety of students, and the chances of them being from different cultural backgrounds as our own is highly likely which brings rich diversity to our classrooms. We need to learn about our schools' communities and build strong relationships with parents and students alike. Teachers play a powerful role in creating a welcoming classroom environment, and being aware of our actions, both visible and invisible, can make students from any background feel safe.  This sense of belonging in the learning space (be it indoor, outdoor, classroom, gymnasium....imagine the possibilities !) is a way to celebrate our differences. It is also critical to ensuring student success, and the development of a sense of community empowers both teachers and learners alike. This module will challenge you to examine your own school community, identify elements that might need to altering and provides you with resources and ideas to create a more open, diverse, equitable and inclusive learning environment. 

Activity - Read and Reflect

Article Pic - A teacher like me - Teacher racial-ethnic matching.png

The connection a teacher builds with their students is important and can make or break a students' success.  We try our best to not discriminate and to not have our biases, influence our decisions, but first we need to be aware of what our biases are. 

This article reveals that "The reviewed studies also shed light on the ways in which the development of a shared cultural understanding between students and teachers or student responsiveness to a same-race teacher improves student outcomes" p. 520, Redding, C., 2019.  It discusses how teachers and students that share the same ethnic and cultural backgrounds lead to a more positive student outcome.  Other notable observations included less negative disciplinary reports about the students and less complaints about disruptive behaviour, to name a few.

Are these findings hard to believe? When reading this article, consider how many students in your class identify as the same ethnicity as you do, and do you find it easier to build a rapport with that student?  Or to understand their behaviours better than a student with a very different ethnic background that you? Of course we do, we are all human beings with culture and core beliefs that we've grown up with.  It's not wrong to build a rapport with students of the same ethnicity as you, just as it's not wrong to build a rapport with an athlete that plays the same sport you did.  What's wrong is if educators don't try to reach out and build a rapport and understand those students who they have little in common with, with those that are of different ethnicities as your own.  

The purpose of this article was not meant to discourage you but rather shed light on how important it is to be aware of our unconscious biases and be sure to educate ourselves about our students, the community we live and teach in and how our own ethnicity could be a factor in our students' success.  It speaks to the diversity of our students, but also to the lack of diversity of educators within our school systems.  Consider what made you become a teacher and most of you may answer 'because you liked school' or 'because a teacher made a difference in your life'.  Therefore being that positive influence in your students' lives may not only help them succeed, but may also help the next generation of students to become educators.

Activity #1 - Share on Padlet

There is a reality in our schools that not every student feels represented or supported and they often fall through the cracks because they don't advocate for themselves or don't have anyone advocating for them. 


Think of all your students and consider the groups that you are particularly concerned with, in your classroom or in your community.  Perhaps they aren’t getting the support they need, they may be victims of bullying, or haven’t adjusted to learning English as a second language. Are there students struggling with gender identity? racism? poverty? food insecurity? pressures from home?


Every educator taking this module have experienced something that each of us could learn from.  Whether it is about your students, or about yourself as a visible minority in which ever school board you work in, we cannot disregard that inclusion doesn't only mean inclusion in our classrooms, it also means inclusion in the workplace and in our schools aswell. By sharing our little 'teachable moments' we open ourselves up to a very important conversation that starts with the question:  How can we help?

Below are some examples of the groups of students, populations, or individuals living with situations or conditions that may make them feel pushed aside in certain situations.  By taking this module you are already taking a strong step towards educating yourself and being willing to advocate for those whose voices aren't strong enough.

LGBTQ Flag in group of people.jpg


Diverse group of women.jpg

Culture, Race and Ethnicity

Poverty Low income housing 2.jpg


Frustrated Male Mental Health.jpg


Male Graduate.jpg

High Intellectual

Girl with Downs yoga.jpg

Downs syndrome

Messy Desk.jpg


Disabled girl on horse.jpg

Physical Disability

The Padlet link below that will allow you to post and share your ideas.  As described above, you may share a personal story about you or a student, how they were marginalized and how it was or could have been addressed.  You may also use one of the two questions below to guide your answer.  Please keep names and locations anonymous to ensure confidentiality.

Padlet Link

  1. Which groups are you most concerned about in your school/community?  Is there currently any support for these students to feel more included and safe in their environment?  What interventions have taken place, if any, that seemed to erase the divide and help students feel more included and comfortable in your community/school?

  2. Think about how you have helped a student feel safer, or perhaps have advocated for a student who wasn't being heard. What were the circumstances or what needs of the student?  What challenges did the student, the teacher and/or the parents face?  Did you find a solution and what interventions or strategies were put in place? If no solution was found, post a ‘help’ question and perhaps another educator has been in a similar situation and could offer some advice.  

In this video Maria Morukian discusses her idea of “embracing multiple realities” and she emphasizes the importance that we are all individuals with our own perspectives.  This is a very thought provoking statement that every educator knows and needs to take into consideration. 

     Students all have their own stories, just as every teacher has his/her/their own story and perspectives as well. It doesn't matter, whether the student is in grade 1 or grade 10 their past experiences will influence their current behaviour.  Understanding their stories can move mountains when it comes to building relationships with your students.

Activity #2 - Video: Watch and Reflect

While watching this video, take note of your own perspectives and who Maria Morukian may be referring to as ‘the other side’ in the context of your life.  Reflect on the following questions.


  1. In the video, pain and privilege are mentioned. Describe your insights in response to the presenter's comments that, “our stories of pain do not preclude us from having privilege?” How might this quote hide the realities of our students’ lived experiences that are brought to our classrooms? How can we teach this misconception of pain and privilege in our classrooms?

  2. How does the topic of systematized oppression make you feel? Does it exist in your school context? Why or why not? Reflect on how this oppression might be impacting our students based on their looks, economic status, culture, beliefs, ability, etc. What can you do in your classroom to establish a learning environment that is detached and independent from systematized oppression for your students. (ie. creating a space where all students see one another as equals). 

As the video suggests that hearing each others stories and understanding where other people are coming from can go a long way towards breaking down barriers.  We don’t have to cross the line and completely agree with one another however opening up the conversation to share your stories with one another.  If we are accepting of the other person’s point of view, it can go a long way to addressing our differences and finding common ground with one another.  The below activity will go one step further and give you and your students an activity that can explicitly see what your differences are and what you have in common.

Activity #3 - What's Different, What's the same?

Many problems of racism, discrimination, and bullying come from not understanding anyone who may look or act differently than we do.  Once the learning process has started, understanding can begin which will hopefully be followed by acceptance and a celebration of differences.  

Think of situation you have encountered over the last few years where you had to intervene because a single student or group of students felt outcasts from the rest of the class because they 'seemed' different to the other students in your class.  

Now, with that in mind, watch the video and perhaps try the next activity yourse and think about how you could have used the activity in your classroom to start the process of learning, understanding and accepting. 

Video:  This could be a great introductory video to be used in your classroom to discuss diversity and inclusion and break those barriers that may already exist in students.  Older students can use this video as an example, but can role-play and present to the class their own version with the similarities and differences having more substance.


Activity:  Students can use this Venn Diagram as a learning aid.  It can be used in other health units as well, looking at healthy relationships, differences between STIs or leadership styles, the options are endless.

The take-home message about this activity is that we all belong to the human race and should respect and celebrate our differences.  How do we teach this to our students and even more importantly, how do we help them see the truth about everything they see on TV, video games, in movies or on social media that can be construed as segregated or discriminatory?

Link to website with interesting article

Same and Different

Social acceptance throughout Sport

Are people's attitudes, social views or systemic structures creating movement towards a more inclusive classroom helped or hindering it?

This is a philosophical question merits being examined in the context of sport in our school system today. By examining societal and media norms, educators may invite themselves and their students to break some of these ideologies and begin a new dialogue based on a foundation of inclusion.  Some paths forward have been created, but they still need to be developed, collaboratively forged, and taught every day  to increase acceptance and inclusion of every learner.

Social norms and acceptance is not only a battle for the LGBTQIA+ community but has been a battle fought by any marginalized racial group in our country.  Looking at the racial divide that exists in sports and how it slowly decreased in the 1950s with Earl Llyod, Chuck Cooper and Nat Clifton joining the NBA.  The influx of African-American athletes in sports is addressed in The book Taboo: Why Black Athletes Dominate Sports And Why We're Afraid To Talk About It written by Jon Entine.  A review by Cynthia L. Lehman describes the book as “a good beginning to understanding the debate on the subject of race and sports.” sited from the review of the book in the Journal of Black Studies.  


We can thank popular culture and media such as the TV series Will and Grace 1998, Modern Family 2009, and Schitt's Creek 2020 which familiarized the acceptance of the LGBTQ community in society.

Warning: In the last minute of the video Dan Levy speaks about fainting in the shower and waking up naked.  May not be suitable for younger grades.  View video and decide for your class specifically.

Of course, these groups discussed above are not the only individuals who are discriminated against in our society and more specifically, in sport.  Many Indigenous people, new immigrants, females, LGBTQIA+ individuals and people living with mentally or physically disabilities have to fight battles every day to seek acceptance whether in Canada or in their home countries where their participation in sport may not be accepted.  

In summary, where is the representation in your school, for all groups?  Where is it missing? Are there any groups excluded?  What actions can teachers, parents, administrators or policy-makers take to infuse EDI throughout the school culture?  Here are some ways you can advocate for your students and support them in the classroom and on the field.

  •  Offering independent changing room facilities for our students who identify with the LGBTQ+ community, or even allowing students to participate in physical activities in their street clothes. 

  • Altering our sports training schedules to accommodate for students who have to exercise during Ramadam as well as serving food after sundown for any banquets, awards services or high school prom

  • Promoting co-ed inturmeurals or a new co-ed sports league and partner with other schools to allow all high calibre athletes to participate together without any gender divide.  This would be inclusive for students in the LGBTQ+ community as well.

  • Developing clubs or sport competitions for students living with disabilities and have them compete against other schools.  

  • Bringing para-athletes to speak to your classes about their lived experiences of disablity and who served as their heroes in overcoming challenges.

Activity #4 - Video & Questions

This could be a simple minds-on activity to start your equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) unit or as an assignment that your students can look into while teaching about EDI and how marginalized athletes are treated in competition around the world.  This activity also has potential to be structured as a larger project, where more senior grades could do a deep dive and get different perspectives about the EDI issue of their own choosing. The description below is simple so please expand and elorable on it as you see fit for your needs.

Minds - On Activity examining equity in athletics:

Give your students a list of athletes (by narrowing the search you could focus on inequity in a specific sport, ethnic group, or organization like the Olympics). Students pick one athlete and then search with their table group for interviews, blog posts, news articles about that athletes story.

Questions to consider in their table groups

  1. Where there any inequities? What were they?

  2. Did the person overcome them?  Did they have support?

  3. How do you or your group members relate this this article?

  4. Can you put yourself in their shoes - have you experienced something similar? 

  5. In your opinion how can the policy of organizations, government or company change to ensure this will not happen again?

Below are two video examples of how organizations and companies are trying to change public perceptions of what an athlete should look like.  By breaking barriers through these commercials and media representations they open up the conversation. The same way that the TV shows above took a forward approach to representing the LGBTQ community in sitcoms and TV Dramas.  Change makers have to start somewhere.

Inclusion & Diversity

Equity, Diversity & Inclusion


The increased awareness of issues surrounding Equity Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) often leaves so many Physical & Health Education teachers, wondering how they can incorporate it into their classroom culture.  The first step is to understand the issues and barriers that we often face and why they are there.  Then you can start to unpack what you can do and where you can implement this theme of inclusion in your classes. This section of the module provides you with some  strategies and ideas you can use in your school to increase awareness of EDI, promote full inclusion in PHE and encourage advocacy for participation for all students.

We face issues of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) every day, whether it's in our large diverse classrooms, witnessing the treatment of our co-workers or of ourselves.  It also surrounds our every day lives through the diversity of individuals living in our communities to the people we work with everyday.  EDI isn't only important to teach our students about, it's also important that we do our best to model and be inclusive with everyone we meet in our lives and also that we allow ourselves to feel included in our workplaces and personal lives.

      erhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends."


                                                                                                        Maya Angelou


These issues affects our lives in both the way we treat others and how we are treated by others.  It is a delicate balance and can be shifted towards the negative depending on an individuals past experiences or current situation.  Simply speaking, our personal behaviours can changed based on how we are treated.                     

Activity #5 - Video: Watch and Reflect

Whether it's in our classroom, a staff meeting, a coaches' meeting or a group of friends, we sometimes ask those around us to behave according to social norms or, as the speaker called it, "behaviour conformity".  Ritu Bhasin discusses how diversity may be welcomed in an organization or company (in our case our schools or classrooms) but the overarching message is still that of 'sameness'.

How many people know your authentic self, and how many co-workers or friends can be authentic in your presence?  Do others whom you know hold back for fear of being judged as different? Are there students who may feel this way as well in class or in school?


There are so many things in our lives that we choose, such as; where to live, who we are friends with, how to wear our hair, what clothes, music and movies we like, what school to attend and so much more.  However there are so many things we cannot choose in life and often times those are the things why we are discriminated against. 

Activity #6 - What we can Choose and Cannot Choose

When we meet someone new, it may be easier to see their physical differences than it is to see our similarities, until you get to know. What happens when you cannot see the person you are meeting?  Watch this video and see how these kids measure up.  This is an extension off the previous activity Same and Different and can be used together to help students understand their peers, why they may dress differently or talk with a different accent.

These types of activities could serve your students well when you mix up table groups, change the seating plan or start a new group project.  The more we recognize the similarities among people the harder it is to discriminate against them, which leads to the below activity that can be used with a variety of different grades and we encourage you to try it out with your students.






Cannot Choose







Sports Fan




Physical Health

Physical Appearance

Morals and Values

Spiritual Beliefs



Skin Colour


Sex at birth





Sexual Orientation


Sex at Birth


Past experiences



Who we are is determined by many things; some things we choose and somethings we cannot choose such as; who our family is, if our parents get divorced, if we are born with a disability. Often times we are bullied or discriminated against because of things we cannot choose


As you can see, the questions or themes can stay on the surface or they can go much deeper for older students.

Try this yourself and with a colleague, ask yourself are you making biases or decisions on someone in your life based on something they did not choose?  Is there merit behind it?

At what point in our lives do we start to unconsciously discriminate against our peers? When do we leave behind adopted belief systems of our parents or families and start to develop our own values?

The above activity should point out that there are certain things in everyone's life that they didn't choose, and yet, these events have a big effect on how a person is viewed by society.  This video is a great demonstration of how those things we do not choose can affect our outcomes, and often how hard we have to fight to be at a level playing field with the rest of our peers. 

Video: The Race of life

How does this resonate with you, your students, your collegues, friends and maybe your family?  Everyone has their own story, so intentionally getting to know the 'other side' as talked about in the video for Activity #2, we can help students overcome challenges and guide them to break barriers down one at a time, for themselves or their peers.

Activity - Blog Articles

The video above talks about how some people live life with a stacked deck in their favour, and others have everything stacked against them.  It's anything but fair! But this is where the discussion of privilege comes into play.  In certain settings we all have privileges that we may take for granted, but it doesn't take away from the fact that our privilege exists. 

A simple example to use with your students is to ask them this:

Have you ever been invited to a party where you only knew the person who invited you?  Or has your best friend invited you to play with all of their other friends? 

Your friend that invited you may not be aware how uncomfortable you feel because you don't know how to act around these new people, or what they like to play etc.  Your friend took it for granted that they already knew all these other people and how comfortable they are with inviting you and having everyone play together.

Now, what if all the other friends spoke a different language? Or looked or dressed differently than you did? And instead of this being on the playground, it was in your classroom, or your workplace?