Contact Theory Applied to APA Service Learning Programs

Welcome to the blog portion of the What's New in APE podcast platform! In this episode we discuss service learning programs (where college students work with individuals with disabilities in a physical activity setting) within college APA programs, and how contact theory is applied to these experiences. Contact theory holds that sustained and meaningful contact between two groups can help to promote acceptance and tolerance (Allport, 1954). To guide this discussion, we had three panelists who have run these programs and conducted research on the topic: Dr. Cathy McKay an assistant professor at James Madison University, Dr. Andrea Taliaferro an associate professor at West Virginia University, and Layne Case a doctoral student who is finishing up her dissertation at Oregon State University. Specifically within this podcast we define contact theory and discuss its application to service learning programs in APA settings, how one could best apply contact theory to their service learning programs, and how in-service teachers might be able to apply aspects of contact theory to their own classroom.  

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