Disabled and able-bodied children
With the 15th and 17th amendments to school organisation law, the government laid the legal foundations in 1993 and 1996 for the possibility of school integration in elementary, high and junior upper schools. In order that handicapped and able-bodied children be able really to learn together requirements of organisation and method have to be met as do appropriate structural conditions.
Thus first and foremost the significant changes are class composition, pupil numbers, additional teacher employment, differentiation, new extended teaching forms (e.g. self-directed learning) and concepts of teaching entity. Differing organisational models as, for example, integration classes, cooperative classes and support teacher classes which were tested over many years in school experiments will be offered in today's Austrian system of education in order to cope with these challenges.
Because the performance differences in such heterogeneous groups can be great, the problems of optimal differentiation and enabling common learning processes for handicapped and able-bodied in as many areas as possible are for physical education to address.
Of particular importance in the context of physical education teaching is the integration of pupils who enter schools from different ethnic origins and with other cultural and religious backgrounds.
On the one hand physical education should contribute to learning about exercise, on the other it should enable intercultural learning. Intercultural learning, however, always involves an understanding of the orientation of other cultures and a consideration of the relationship of one's own culture.
Physical education in school which makes reference to these aspects must not strengthen old cliches and prejudices, but rather must be so arranged that situations are created which lead to common achievement, to common problem solving and to alternatives e.g. games without winners, group exercises, synchronised gymnastics. cooperative games, dances, common sports weeks. leisure opportunities).