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Education professionals are morally compelled to ensure that all students feel accepted, safe, and are represented in their classes. Physical education is no different; however, specific practitioner-orientated strategies to embark in more socially just practices are scarce in physical education literature. This article provides the first part of an A-Z of social justice education series where practitioners are provided with examples of socially just physical education practices and ideas for use within classes. As an example, the letter A (Ability) unpacks the hyper-focus physical education programs have placed on physical abilities and the need to be ability aware in all domains within the subject. Thus, it is essential that we prioritize a holistic and well-versed program for all students despite their abilities. Resources for each letter are provided where educators can find more information.
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8 Volume 91 Number 4 April 2020
The A–Z of Social Justice
Physical Education: Part 1
Shrehan Lynch ( is a senior lecturer in Secondary Initial Teacher Education in the Cass School of Education at the University of East Lon-
don in London, UK. Sue Sutherland is an associate professor in the Department of Human Sciences at Ohio State University in Columbus, OH. Jennifer
Walton-Fisette is an associate professor in the College of Education, Health and Human Services at Kent State University in Kent, OH.
Social Justice Education
Hate has been plaguing our society; crime is increasing, and daily
we see another malicious religious/race/ethnic/age/gender/sexual ori-
entation/language-related o ense. Politically infl uenced narratives
glide around the media, often neglecting systematic patterns of ineq-
uities that have been working against minority groups for centuries.
Individuals from the most dominant groups in society are a orded
basic human rights, whereas environmental, political and economic
structures work against the realities of many minority groups (see
Figure 1). Critically oriented educationalists (see Blakeney, 2005;
Cochran-Smith, 2004; Fernandez-Balboa, 1993; hooks, 1994) have
focused on addressing social inequities troubling Western society, in
JoperD 9
order to create a more socially aware and morally responsible soci-
ety that accepts rather than hates others. With a focus on diversity,
acceptance and inclusion, education (including physical education)
has an integral role to play in combating social injustice and creating
a more equitable future for all students; such a task can be achieved
through social justice education (SJE).
According to Chapman and Hobel (2010), teaching for social
justice means facilitating educational structures and experiences
where students can embrace and name their ways of knowing
in the world through critical understandings of themselves, their
communities, and their place in wider society. When social justice
is the main aim of a teacher’s pedagogy, it becomes encompassed
within the larger umbrella of SJE. The literature on SJE ranges
from philosophical/conceptual, practical, ethnographic/narrative,
theoretical, and democratically grounded pieces ( Hytten & Bettez,
2011). The practical strand speaks to this article considering our
work was focused on providing examples of SJE for practitioners.
Social Justice Physical Education
Social justice concepts in physical education are not a new fo-
cus. In fact, equality and equity issues in physical education have
been a focus of a number of researchers and practitioners for over
40 years (Walton-Fisette & Sutherland, 2018). In summary of the
research fi ndings, our institutions, such as schools and universi-
ties, refl ect our society and the inequities that circulate it (Culp,
2016). As a result, the fi eld of physical education is predominantly
white, cisgendered, heterosexual and able-bodied; thus, profes-
sionally, physical education lacks the cultural diversity that refl ects
our student population (Harrison & Clark, 2016). Due to the lack
of diversity within the profession, physical education continually
replicates a curriculum that is Eurocentric, elitist, individualist,
masculine and competition-focused (Fernandez-Balboa, 1993) and
reproduces the culture of gendered, racist, sexist and ableist prac-
tices (Lynch & Curtner-Smith, 2019).
Practitioners should learn about equity in physical education
during teacher education; however, many teacher educators do
not teach about SJE or sociocultural issues at all (Hill etal., 2018;
Lynch & Curtner-Smith, 2020). Consequently, Flinto (2018)
urged the physical education profession to provide strategies and
actions for more inclusive spaces for students in our discipline.
What is needed, however, are more strategies as to what SJE
looks like and how it can be enacted within our classes on a daily
basis, along with plans to ensure that we do not perpetuate ineq-
uity. While social justice advocates attempted to encourage SJE
by providing refl ective questions on strands of oppression (see
Figure1) in a recent blog (Lynch & Landi, 2018), we wanted to
share more detailed SJE ideas for physical education. What fol-
lows is an A–M of SJE in physical education (Part 1); the sug-
gested list is by no means exhaustive of every element of SJE but
can be seen as a starting point. By using your professional judg-
ment, you will be able to recognize whether the ideas and strate-
gies outlined are appropriate for your teaching space, and it is
up to you to decide what is appropriate for your context and in-
dividual students’ needs. If you need a quick reference guide, see
Table1, which provides an overview of our fi ve top tips. Impor-
tantly, the language identifi ed within this article should be seen
as relevant for the time; it is not static and will evolve over the
years. Therefore, see the A–Z as evolving language concepts; for
defi nition overviews of the most used words in SJE, see the ABC
social justice glossary (Department of Inclusion & Multicultural
Engagement, Lewis & Clark College, 2014).
The A–M of Social Justice Physical Education
A – Ability Awareness. Every human has unique abilities,
which are special to them. This means our students are gifted in
many di erent ways, such as emotionally, socially, physically and
cognitively. Predominantly in physical education, physical ability
is most valued, with those who are not considered motor com-
petent labeled as “low ability” or “disabled” and those who are
competent movers typically labeled as “high ability.” An ability
awareness educator recognizes that low/high ability does not take
into account the range of abilities that students can o er. For ex-
ample, if a student could not physically perform an overhead clear
in badminton, they may be able to explain it, draw it or teach it
to others. Thus they are an able student. Finding out exactly how
Social justice education, ten strands of oppression
Five Top Tips for a Socially Just
Physical Education Program
1. Know your students: take time to understand
students’ biographies and how they identify
2. Provide opportunities for ownership: allow students to
be the creators of the curriculum
3. Allow students to create class expectations at the
beginning of the school year and ensure they hold each
other accountable
4. Practice democratic principles: implement weekly/
monthly class meetings, where students can evaluate
their HPE class
5. Move away from an authoritative fi gure to a facilitator
in the class
10 Volume 91 Number 4 April 2020
students are able to showcase their abilities is essential, rather than
labeling individuals in categories of “can” and “cannot” or “com-
petent” and “incompetent.” An ability-aware educator would con-
sider teaching the concept of ability to students, to help them re-
frame assumptions about those who are considered “incompetent”
or “unable” through creating an inclusive context where focus is
not heavily on ability. As an example, teachers could invite local
community-based Paralympic teams into their gym or cover a mul-
titude of inclusive sports such as seated volleyball, goalball, and
blind running as part of their units (not in isolation). To learn more
about (dierently) abled curriculum ideas, see Teaching about So-
cial Justice Issues in Physical Education (Walton-Fisette, Suther-
land, & Hill, 2019), which details a number of learning experi-
ences that can be implemented.
B – Be Aware of Your Bias. In order to engage fully in SJE, an
understanding of our own bias is imperative. It is important to be
aware of both our explicit (conscious) and implicit (subconscious)
bias and how this impacts our teaching, because, ultimately, we
can reproduce the very things we are trying to teach about. Explicit
bias occurs at a conscious level and encompasses attitudes and
beliefs about a person or group (
explicit-bias/). Implicit bias, on the other hand, refers to uncon-
scious attitudes and stereotypes that influence our understanding,
actions and decisions (Staats, Capatosto, Wright, & Contractor,
2015). Being aware of explicit bias allows it to be consciously con-
trolled or checked in a way that minimizes the impact on students.
However, implicit bias needs to be identified and understood be-
fore it can be mediated through a variety of strategies. Therefore,
an important first step is finding out what your implicit bias(es)
may be. Visit the Project Implicit website at Harvard University to
take a series of tests on a variety of dierent biases: https://implicit. Once you have identified your bias(es), you
could visit the Kirwin Institute website at Ohio State University for
information and strategies for mediating your implicit biases. Be-
ing aware of our bias(es) is an important step in SJE.
C – Co-constructing Curriculum with a Community of Learn-
ers. Applying SJE means incorporating democratic education
principles. This can include negotiating the physical education cur-
riculum with students and encouraging a community feel among
learners. By giving students voice and choice over their educa-
tion, they can gain a sense of responsibility and ownership in their
physical education class. This can be achieved through class meet-
ings to decide physical education activities, then voting on choices.
The participatory aspect of student voice and choice means that
students are able to embody what a democracy looks and feels
like. However, educators should ensure that each student’s voice
is respected and listened to and that voting is equal and equitable
(see E). In some cases voting should be kept anonymous. A class
survey is a tool that can make voting anonymous. Educators can
find out what activities students want to do in physical education,
collaboratively design a plan for the next semester, and then review
the implemented curriculum afterward to see how it could be im-
proved. Refer to the Institute for Democratic Education in Amer-
ica (Bennis, n.d.) for additional resources to learn more about co-
constructing the curriculum.
D – Diverse Forms of Assessment. Assessing in physical educa-
tion is important to demonstrate student learning in dierent do-
mains. Traditionally, physical educators often fall back on using
standardized tests, product tests, and assessments that focus on the
psychomotor domain. However, as suggested by Cochran-Smith
(2004), a more appropriate practice is to embed diverse forms of
assessment into our classes. A social justice educator incorporates
and prioritizes assessments within the social/emotional and aec-
tive domains to avoid an overreliance on psychomotor assessments
(e.g., learning journals about class relationships or individual white-
boards to reflect on how fun the lesson was). If we assess in many
dierent ways, we provide all students the opportunity to show us
how they learn best. Engaging parents/guardians/caregivers in the
learning journey of their children through the use of alternative
assessments, such as portfolios, can help to raise the visibility and
importance of physical education (Lynch & Curtner-Smith, 2019).
Visit Seesaw ( to learn more about a learning
tool to engage and communicate with students and parents/guard-
ians/caregivers about their journey in physical education.
E – Equality versus Equity versus Liberation. These terms mean
dierent things but are often used interchangeably. Figure2 pro-
vides a great visual that illustrates the dierence in these terms. Eq-
uity means providing everyone with an opportunity to be success-
ful. Equality means fairness or treating everyone the same. If
we provide everyone with the same, we cannot be equitable.
Thus we need equitable teaching spaces. Liberation means
including everyone and removing all barriers, which com-
bines equality and equity. To explain this further, we might
say we want all students to be able to run a mile, but some
students do not have sneakers. To be equitable we would
provide those who needed the sneakers, but some students
might think this is unfair. To make the mile run fair, we could
give everyone the same starting line. But to give everyone
the opportunity to be successful, we could say that there is
no time restriction or stipulate how the mile should be done
so students could skip, walk, hop, jump, bike, swim or run!
Taking it one step further, to liberate students, the activity
might not be to run a mile at all; students could select their
own distance or whether they want to do running in the first
place (see C). To ensure whether a school is really promoting
equality, equity or liberation, consider checking the school’s
policy documents for key terms (e.g., equitable). An inclusive
school will promote liberation and acknowledge that more
should be done to provide every student with the opportu-
nity to be successful.
© iStockphoto/portishead1
JoperD 11
The difference between the terms equality, equity, and liberation, illustrated;
© Interaction Institute for Social Change | Artist: Angus Maguire
F – Fat-phobia.There is continual disagreement about the
overall purpose of physical education. Some scholars have argued
the purpose should be to spread health promotion messages and
combat the “obesity”1 epidemic; others suggest the need for physi-
cal education to be educative and focus on critiquing norms circu-
lating health and physical culture. Those who adopt SJE principles
fall into the latter and seek to question health norms that seemingly
ignore sociocultural issues that a ect a person’s ability to engage in
healthy behaviors, such as taking part in physical activity. Largely
those arguing for health promotion seek to address “overweight”
and “obese” bodies to become “slender,” “slim” and “toned” for
the good of the nation. Physical education has adopted this dis-
course and privileges bodies that conform to normative standards.
Subsequently, many educators see those who deviate from the
norm as lazy, unmotivated, gluttonous and in need of remedia-
tion. In order to create a safe and inclusive space for all students,
educators must be conscious that they do not advocate for thin-
ness and promote fat biases toward students (see B), and ensure
their physical education program does not promote a normative
view of the human body. To ensure all students feel comfortable in
class, educators should attempt to love everyBODY in class despite
their unique body size. They might want to relax their attire policy
and allow students to dress how they feel comfortable and ensure
that images shown to students display an array of body types. To
learn more about how a fat bias can a ect your teaching, read and
access the resources within the Do You Love EveryBODY? blog
(Lynch, 2018) that provides resources on this topic and also high-
lights physical education professionals sharing their anti-fat biases.
G – Gender Equity. Providing the same opportunities for each
gender is essential to SJE. In physical education we see gender
inequity through the curriculum itself, but also in the class struc-
ture. The class structure can force students into complying; not
all students conform to the binary categories of male and female
yet are forced into selecting one of those two categories for physi-
cal education classes. Many physical education programs across
the world continue a tradition of single-sex physical education
classes, which can create an uncomfortable situation for those
who are gender non-conforming. The physical education curricu-
lum itself can also provide inequitable gendered situations, by
only o ering traditional conservative activities — for example,
o ering male class activities such as American football, basket-
ball, cricket, rugby, soccer and baseball, and o ering female class
activities such as dance, gymnastics, yoga, netball, softball and
volleyball. These traditionally gendered activities create a norm
that males should carry out masculine, aggressive, power-like
sports and females should continue the tradition of taking part
in activities that promote females as “aesthetically beautiful cre-
ations.” Teachers can promote gendered practices in their lan-
guage by saying slurs such as “don’t throw like a girl” or “boys
don’t cry, man up.” This binary thinking is dangerous in physi-
cal education and can haunt students throughout their life. Stu-
dents, despite their identity preferences, should be o ered access
to all types of activities. When beginning at the start of the aca-
demic year, teachers should have students introduce themselves
by their name and their pronouns. For example, this may look
like, “Hi, my name is Sahim and Iuse he/him/his pronouns.” This
is a simple way to show transgender/nonbinary students that you
acknowledge their presence. Furthermore, the Gay, Lesbian, and
Straight Education Network (GLSEN) have provided some excel-
lent guidelines for teachers (GLSEN, n.d.).
H – Heteronormativity.The notion of heteronormativity is per-
vasive within physical education, as it is within society in general.
Heteronormativity is the view that endorses heterosexuality as the
“normal” or indeed a natural sexuality expression (Landi, 2018).
Understanding how the notion of heteronormativity is present in
physical education and the ways in which it is manifested in ho-
mophobia is important for SJ in physical education. Students who
identify as LGBTQI and/or gender non-conforming often do not
nd physical education to be a safe and welcoming space (Ayvazo
& Sutherland, 2009). Including curricular choices that are not gen-
dered, being conscious of language when teaching or talking with
students, using images that are inclusive of athletes who identify as
LGTBQI and/or gender non-conforming, and examining policies
to ensure inclusivity of all students can help to create an emotion-
ally and physically safe environment for students who identify as
LGBTQI and/or gender non-conforming. For more resources on
this topic, see GLSEN (n.d.) and PFLAG (2019).
1Similarly to Wann (2009), we use the quotation marks as scare quotes to empha-
size the word’s unwarranted status.
12 Volume 91 Number 4 April 2020
I – Identity. Understanding our own identity is integral when
engaging in SJE. Not only does exploring self-identity allow you
to gain an awareness of how your life experience has influenced
who you are, but it is crucial in providing insight into how self-
identity influences your teaching and interactions with students.
Reflecting on past experiences that have shaped your current
identity is a good way to start this process. Completing the social
identity wheel (LSA Inclusive Teaching Initiative, 2017a) and the
personal identity wheel (LSA Inclusive Teaching Initiative, 2017b)
will provide you with a tool to explore dierent facets of your
identity. Taking this further, you can use this information to re-
flect on how your self-identity influences your teaching in terms
of teaching styles, choice of units, classroom expectations or rules,
dress policies, discipline strategies, feedback, class climate, and so
on. Understanding how your self-identity influences your interac-
tions and expectations of students is important to consider. Is your
classroom a place where all students feel safe, valued and heard?
Figure1 identifies 10 strands of oppression that can be used to
guide your reflection on this question as it highlights the impor-
tance of understanding intersectionality. Are there students who
identify with certain strands who might not feel as safe, valued or
heard within your classroom?
J – Justice Leads to Joy. Justice in its simplest form is being fair
or just. In education, justice is demonstrated in schooling through
the telling of real history truths such as employing a curriculum that
details Christopher Columbus “invading” the United States, not
“discovering” the United States. Justice is also exhibited through
a school name or mascot, its structures, and its policies. For ex-
ample, is your school or football team named after someone or
something that is culturally insensitive? As an educator, the norm
should include speaking out when recognizing injustice and subse-
quently inequitable practices. It is through advocating for justice
that social justice educators are able to make structural changes in
schools. When changes are made, students can experience more joy
at school, knowing that their space is equitable, and educators want
to make their experience meaningful and purposeful within inclusive
settings. As an example, you might investigate the schools’ discipline
statistics and recognize that minority students of color are frequently
excluded from school to alternate provisions or that they
are over-disciplined; thus the schools’ discipline policy could
be considered Eurocentric and non-inclusive. Second, you
might notice that your school does not have gender-neutral
bathrooms and locker rooms, therefore, the school structure
would need to be addressed to be fully inclusive. Lastly, in-
vestigating the sta diversity could be an insight into recruit-
ment practices. You might find that all the administrators at
your school are white or all male, but the teachers are all
black/brown or female. This could indicate an inequitable
recruitment practice or the need for more positive discrimi-
nation practices. For policy implementation ideas, see Green
and colleagues (2015).
K – Knowledge of Minority Groups. Educators teach
in diverse settings, with students, teachers and administra-
tors from dierent cultural groups than their own. Many of
these students, teachers and administrators may come from
minority groups who have been treated dierently depend-
ing on policy, economics and societal discourses. As a SJE
educator you should seek to become informed of cultural
norms circulating each minority group, along with under-
standing a group’s history. When teachers engage in cultural
awareness, they increase their cultural fluency, which can avoid of-
fending students and their parents/guardians and build teacher-stu-
dent relationships. As an example, encouraging Thanksgiving cele-
brations (or similar holidays) when you have Native American (and
indigenous populations) in your class can be particularly insensitive
and hurtful to students. The Manataka American Indian Council
have overviewed “The REAL Story of Thanksgiving” (Bates, n.d.),
which was designed to inform teachers of the historical distortions
taught within schools. Within physical education, having cultural
awareness might involve knowing that students who identify as
Muslim may be celebrating Ramadan and fasting during particular
months of the year (these change yearly) or that Jehovah’s Wit-
nesses typically would not celebrate Christmas, Easter or practice
yoga. Knowing this information allows teachers to have more valu-
able exchanges with students and understand their cultural norms.
To learn more about dierent minorities, see Teaching Tolerance
for classroom resources, professional development, and further
L – Language/linguism. A SJ educator is cognizant of dier-
ent ways of communicating with students who are English lan-
guage learners (ELL). Although it is not reasonable for teachers
to learn the languages spoken by all of their students, it is reason-
able for teachers to learn key words or phrases to enhance their
communication with students. There are also other strategies that
can be used to aid communication, such as visual demonstrations,
word walls (with appropriate translations), use of cue cards (pic-
torial and/or translated), peer translators if available, and the use
of Google Translate. While communicating with students who are
ELL can be achieved through hard work and creativity, the con-
cept of linguism, which is discrimination based on a person’s lan-
guage, is also important to understand. Modeling dierent com-
munication strategies with students who are ELL can also help to
foster understanding and acceptance with peers who are not ELL.
For more ideas and resources for communicating with students
who are ELL, see Support Real Teachers (n.d.).
M – Media. The power of media in the lives of the youngsters
and youth that we teach is increasing every day. Generation Z and
millennials have been immersed into a culture where technology
is normalized, and for some students the digital has become part
© iStockphoto/jarenwicklund
JoperD 13
of their embodied self. The particular infl uence of social media on
students’ body image is important to understand for a number of
reasons. Students who have a body type that is not celebrated or
promoted in a positive way on social media often face negative
comments and/or bullying in physical education. Indeed, students
who seem to fi t the “ideal body type” also often struggle with their
body image. These students may feel inadequate or turn to un-
healthy means to gain their “ideal body,” whether that be steroids/
human growth hormones or eating disorders. A SJ educator fo-
cuses on helping students to celebrate their bodies to provide some
balance to the infl uence of social media. Providing body-positive
images and media in physical education that shows the strength,
grace, power and di erence of people (including well-known ath-
letes) is one way to celebrate di erent body types. An example unit
is covered in Teaching about Social Justice Issues in Physical Edu-
cation (Walton-Fisette, Sutherland, & Hill, 2019), which outlines
the di ering ways to teach about a “strong body” using media
examples in an inclusive, yet stereotype- disruptingway.
As educators, it is vital that we see our role in making the world
a fairer place as part of our job (Fernandez-Balboa, 1993). Taking
steps toward being a socially just teacher is vital not only for our
own growth and development as teachers, but for the sake of the
students we teach. Creating an environment where all students feel
safe, valued, respected, cared for and heard should be the goal of
physical educators. Within such an environment is where our stu-
dents can fl ourish and develop the knowledge, skills and disposi-
tions to be healthy and active over the lifespan. We have provided
examples of how using a SJE approach within physical education
as a start in making spaces more inclusive and socially aware. This
article has included A–M, so look out for Part 2, which will see
you through the rest of the alphabet. And remember, SJE is fl uid;
it is constantly changing. For additional ideas and lesson activities,
please look out for Teaching about Social Justice Issues in Physical
Education (Walton-Fisette, Sutherland, & Hill, 2019).
Shrehan Lynch
Sue Sutherland
Jennifer Walton Fisette
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... When pupils are actively involved in their learning, it is thought that they may be able to act politically and ethically to transform and improve their lives and those of others in the schools and communities in which they learn (Azzarito and Ennis 2003;Landi, Lynch, and Walton-Fisette 2020;Lynch, Sutherland, and Walton-Fisette 2020). Given that meaningful physical education warrants the prioritisation of subjective and personal experiences, we suggest that teachers should position themselves as responsive to and supportive of a variety of learning needs and interests, and be willing to problematise structural inequalities that stand in the way of pupils experiencing meaningfulness in movement inside and outside of school. ...
... There are multiple ways that teachers can involve pupils in making decisions that span from relatively simple considerations about, for example, who they want to play with (Koekoek and Knoppers 2015) through to highly complex and demanding processes of co-constructing the curriculum, including considerations about content, pupil roles, and so on (Enright and O'Sullivan 2010;Lynch, Sutherland, and Walton-Fisette 2020). Importantly, teachers should provide opportunities for pupils to make contributions and decisions that 'go beyond mere preference, reflecting concerns about the quality of their own participation, ability, learning, achievement, and social/emotional well-being' (Beni, Fletcher, and Ní Chróinín 2017, 298). ...
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Background An emphasis on meaningfulness may facilitate the types of experiences that are more likely to lead children towards a commitment to physical activity participation in ways that enrich the quality of their lives. While several authors have highlighted the importance of prioritising meaningfulness, direction is lacking on how teachers can consistently and intentionally foster meaningful experiences for pupils in physical education. Purpose Our purpose in this paper is to draw on conceptual understandings of meaningful experiences to propose a coherent set of pedagogical principles that can support teachers in making decisions that facilitate meaningful experiences for pupils. Pedagogical Principles Interrogation of the concepts meaningful experiences provides two preliminary pedagogical principles for teaching for meaningfulness. First, the personal nature of identifying experiences as meaningful indicates the value of adopting democratic approaches that allow for ownership and individualisation of experience. Democratic principles include teachers fostering inclusive environments and helping pupils actively make authentic connections between their lived experiences inside and outside of their classroom and communities. Second, the introspective and retrospective characteristics of meaningful experiences points to the central role of reflection. Reflective principles capture the continuity of experience (past-present-future) to help pupils look back and generate awareness of what makes an experience meaningful while also moving toward future meaningful experiences. These principles also provide insight into ideas and actions that do not represent an approach where personal meaningfulness is prioritised. Conclusions Reflective and democratic pedagogical principles provide concept-based practical direction for teachers in facilitating meaningful experiences for pupils in physical education and for future research on meaningfulness in physical education.
... Teachers must advocate for students who by virtue of their social vulnerability are unable to do so. Lynch et al. (2020) outlined 10 strands of oppression that educators can become more aware of: gender, race, sexual orientation, ability, nationality, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, religion, age and language. Any student at the intersection of several of these identities that are historically marginalized may be even more vulnerable as a result. ...
... For that reason, the authors advocate embracing an approach of cultural humility in physical education (see Cervantes & Clark, 2020). Lynch et al. (2020) recommended that PE teachers "take time to understand students' biographies and how they identify" (p. 9). ...
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The purpose of this article is to first provide PE teachers with an understanding of the different types of trauma students face, including traumatic events, historical trauma experienced by members of racial, ethnic, sexual, and religious minorities, as well as how trauma exposure interferes with student learning. Second, it will encourage teachers to build their own trauma-informed skills, such as self-awareness, self-care, self-regulation, and mindfulness in order to help them model healthy social and emotional skills for their students. Third, since PE teachers operate in a different environment than their classroom counterparts, they require a specialized set of guidelines for trauma-informed instruction that provides safety for all.
... A number of physical education academics have used poetry as a method of research, data, understanding, meaning-making, representation and an act of defiance to traditional research (Dowling et al., 2015;Fitzpatrick, 2012Fitzpatrick, , 2018Lambert, 2009Lambert, , 2016Lambert, , 2017Sparkes, Nilges, Swan, & Dowling, 2003). Multiple scholars have acknowledged the physical education field as one that remains a largely white profession (Douglas & Halas, 2011;Flintoff, 2018), continually reinforces gender and heteronormative stereotypes (Preece & Bullingham, 2020;Scraton, 2018), perpetuates a cycle of reproduction through the curriculum offered (Ennis, 1999), and one that has failed to move beyond traditional ways of teaching and assessment in the field of teacher education (Lynch, Sutherland, & Walton-Fisette, 2020). In this respect, the poem acts both as a challenge to the established ways of doing research, and as a challenge to the established ways of doing physical education. ...
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In this article, the authors reflect on the experience of playing with research data in the form of poetic representation as early career researchers. The first author combined a collection of voices that intersected with her position as a transformative physical education teacher educator. Influenced by feminist thought, the principal author (re)created the research data in the form of a poem called 'The WonderBread Factory' rather than a traditional academic manuscript as a non-conforming piece of academic research. It was through this sense-making creative process that both authors reflected and concluded that poetry as a method can be a transformative process where scholars can transgress understandings of their role in the academy. They end with a call for others to join in solidarity.
... Fortunately, progress has been made to shed light on the robust anatomy of social justice. Lynch et al. (2020) and Landi et al. (2020) generated an A through Z list of social justice concepts and strategies to promote social justice education-a teaching approach designed to create an environment around critical thinking and action related to confronting injustices (Hytten & Bettez, 2011). The abovementioned set of recommendations do provide clarity to the diversity of issues within social justice, albeit the broadness of the term has not waned. ...
Purpose : The primary purpose of this comprehensive literature review was to analyze the current body of social justice research in Physical Education Teacher Education conducted in the United States exclusively. As a secondary purpose, we defined social justice as articulated in the Physical Education Teacher Education literature and summarized discourse undergirding social justice principles. Method : The research design was documentary analysis with keyword searches used to identify articles from selected electronic databases over a 15-year period from 2005 through 2020. Thirteen articles met all inclusion criteria (i.e., empirical studies). These studies were retrieved, reviewed, coded, analyzed thematically, and summarized. Findings/Discussion : From this process, six major recurrent themes emerged: (a) social justice in Black context, (b) learning social justice, (c) diversified and racialized identities, (d) competencies and pedagogies, (e) viewpoints, and (f) criticality and pluralism.
... the body over the past few years and the interactions that occur relative to class, race, sexuality, and ability (Blackshear & Culp, 2020;Clark, 2020;Lynch, Sutherland, & Walton-Fisette, 2020), Liberti (2017) challenged professionals to remove preconceived notions of human movement that marginalize certain bodies while normalizing others. Smith (2011), in studying various periods of history, concluded that individuals under conflict have a propensity to think in terms of hierarchies. ...
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Recently, discussions regarding how to create a positive school climate where all can be successful has come to the forefront. Healthy schools support student learning, well-being, time, space to be active, and opportunities for social and emotional growth. However, a host of numerous trends suggest that the school climate is becoming increasingly hostile towards students who are from immigrant, LBGTQ and ethnic minority groups. What is often seen as disrespectful behavior towards these students, is in fact actions that can be more accurately defined as dehumanization. This article overviews the practice of dehumanization, the implications for learning and introduces proactive strategies to promote the success of all students. ----------------------------------- It should be noted that the title "Everyone Matters" is contextualized for the purpose of talking about dehumanization, as dehumanization is not limited to one group of people.
... This includes, but is not limited to, the reinforcement of negative stereotypes related to girls' ability, perceptions of Black and Brown youth as having superhuman physical capacities, and the exclusion of trans, queer or intersex bodies (Azzarito & Solomon, 2005;Devís-Devís et al., 2018;Harrison & Clark, 2016;Hodge, 2014;Landi, 2018;Sykes, 2011). Given the renewed focus on iStockphoto/kali9 the body over the past few years and the interactions that occur relative to class, race, sexuality, and ability (Blackshear & Culp, 2020;Clark, 2020;Lynch, Sutherland, & Walton-Fisette, 2020), Liberti (2017) challenged professionals to remove preconceived notions of human movement that marginalize certain bodies while normalizing others. Smith (2011), in studying various periods of history, concluded that individuals under conflict have a propensity to think in terms of hierarchies. ...
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Recently, discussions regarding how to create a positive school climate where all can be successful has come to the forefront. Healthy schools support student learning, well-being, time, space to be active, and opportunities for social and emotional growth. However, a host of numerous trends suggest that the school climate is becoming increasingly hostile towards students who are from immigrant, LBGTQ, and ethnic minority groups. What is often seen as disrespectful behavior toward these students is in fact actions that can be more accurately defined as dehumanization. This article overviews the practice of dehumanization, the implications for learning, and introduces proactive strategies to promote the success of all students.
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This thesis examines how child-centred research illuminates complex and intertwined social dynamics for boys in dance. Male involvement in dance has been compared to effeminacy and homosexuality (Owen and Riley, 2020b), which has marginalised male participation. In doing so, dance has been distanced from orthodox masculinity, which is framed in heterosexuality, homophobia, and anti-femininity identities. The pressure to perform within such boundaries has impacted upon gendered and sexual identities. Nonetheless, an attitudinal revolution under the guise of inclusive masculinity theory (Anderson, 2009) maintains more liberal masculine identities are emerging. My research questions therefore ask: (i) what evidence of inclusive masculinity is present in primary aged boys? (ii) how do primary age boys perform masculinities in dance? (iii) What do boys aspire for within lessons to encounter meaningful dance through PE? These questions were answered through data from two case study schools in the West Midlands region of England. The study built on the 'write, draw, show and tell' (WDST) method (Noonan et al., 2016) and added the innovative use of 'emojis' to create the write, draw, show, tell and emoji' (WDSTE) approach. Over a four month duration, observations, focus group interviews using WDSTE, and photo-elicitation, with 18 Year Five and Six (ages 9-11) boys were deployed. The boys' visual and verbal data was thematically analysed (Braun and Clarke, 2006) giving insight into three themes, including the freestyling of masculinity, embodying inclusive masculinity and inquiry, and embodied learning in dance.
Integrating international resources in your advocacy toolbox can help promote a more inclusive environment, set a tone for culturally responsive teaching, and foster cross-curricular collaboration while educating stakeholders about the importance of physical education through an international lens. In this article, we discuss ways that advocacy efforts and materials can reflect these same commitments by describing a good source for and examples of international advocacy materials.
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Education has the ability to both reproduce and transform broader social structures. Yet, teachers’ responsibilities are constantly increasing whilst budgets, resources, and staffing are depleted. We argue that we are living in a time of great uncertainty and precarity. As physical educators, we should make attempts to be socially conscious of this precarity and provide equitable environments for all students. This article (the second installment of a two-part series) is an attempt to make an important step in enacting a socially just and informed physical education program. In so doing, we highlight specific ways that teachers and teacher educators can prepare for and teach about precarity in physical education. By providing resources, readings, and examples from practice, we provide a framework that promotes ethics of value, care, and zeal for others.
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Background: Teaching for social good and inequity has been presented as needed in sport pedagogy research. However, very little is known how transformative pedagogical practices that teach for social good are implemented and sustained at the elementary level. Purpose: This digital ethnographic study sought to describe one elementary school physical education (PE) teacher's attempt to employ transformative pedagogy (TP). Method: Cochran-Smith's [1998. “Teaching for Social Change: Toward a Grounded Theory of Teacher Education.” In The International Handbook of Educational Change, edited by A. Hargreaves, A. Lieberman, M. Fullan, and D. Hopkins, 916–952. Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2004. Walking the Road: Race, Diversity, and Social Justice in Teacher Education. New York: Teachers College Press] pedagogical principles for social justice education (SJE) drove our data collection and analysis. Seven qualitative methods were employed to collect data about Harry's pedagogies, organizational structures, and the content he taught. These were formal and informal interviews, conversations, short films, document collection, social media accounts, and an electronic journal. Data were analyzed using both inductive and deductive methods [Patton 2015 Patton, M. Q. 2015. Qualitative Research and Evaluation Methods. 4th ed. Thousand Oaks: Sage. [Google Scholar]. Qualitative Research and Evaluation Methods. 4th ed. Thousand Oaks: Sage]. Findings: Harry's TP and the factors that facilitated and limited his practice were uncovered within five main themes: (a) creating communities of learners through restorative practice principles, (b) building on what students bring to school with them for a democratic curriculum, (c) teaching skills, bridging gaps, and the affective component, (d), working with communities in-between social justice illiteracy, and (e) utilizing diverse forms of assessment. Conclusion: We confirmed that there is no best way to teach social justice through PE and that TP must be individual to the teacher. In addition, this study highlighted methods and pedagogies by which teachers could engage in TP. Finally, the study's findings implied how teacher educators might go about working with both preservice and inservice PE teachers with the goal that they focus on facilitating social justice through their pedagogical approach.
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The purpose of this study was to describe sport pedagogy faculty members’ (FMs) efforts at engaging in transformative physical education teacher education (T-PETE). T-PETE stresses the importance of FMs creating social change through their pedagogical approach and begins by asking preservice teachers (PTs) to reflect on their perspectives and practices (Tinning, 2017 Tinning, R. (2017). Transformative pedagogies and physical education. In C. Ennis (Ed.), The Routledge handbook of physical education pedagogies (pp. 295–306). New York: Taylor & Francis. [Google Scholar]. Transformative pedagogies and physical education. In C. Ennis (Ed.), The Routledge handbook of physical education pedagogies (pp. 295–306). New York: Taylor & Francis; Ukpokodu, 2009. The practice of transformative pedagogy. Journal on Excellence in College Teaching, 20(2), 43–67.). Participants were three white, female, able-bodied, lesbian/gay sport pedagogy FMs. The study was conducted in the United States. Feminist theory and feminist pedagogy drove data collection and analysis. Data were collected by employing a series of qualitative methods. An inductive and deductive analysis revealed that FMs had specific T-PETE goals, content, and pedagogies. Furthermore, several factors served to facilitate and limit the FMs’ effectiveness when engaging in T-PETE. The findings suggest that program-wide PETE reform is necessary in the United States for creating social change, and influencing PTs perspectives and practices. In addition, they suggest that American PETE programs might benefit from greater diversity among the FMs who staff them.
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Background: Physical education (PE) and physical education teacher education (PETE) have a substantial literature base that advocates for students to develop a critical consciousness, appreciate multiple perspectives, and engage in actions to enhance social justice [Tinning, R. 2016. “Transformative Pedagogies and Physical Education.” In The Routledge Handbook of Physical Education Pedagogies, edited by C. Ennis, 281–294. New York: Routledge]. Analysing sociocultural issues, critically reflecting on beliefs, knowledge, biography, and values, and developing a sense of agency to enact change, have been recognised as an integral part of the PETE knowledge base for some time [Fernández-Balboa, J. M. 1997. “Physical Education Teacher Preparation in the Postmodern era: Toward a Critical Pedagogy.” In Critical Postmodernism in Human Movement, Physical Education, and Sport, edited by J. M. Fernández-Balboa, 121–138. Albany: State University of New York Press]. However, there remain differences in how social justice itself is conceptualised and enacted. Social justice is aligned heavily with critical and ‘post’ theories where taking action for justice, democracy, and power is central; but social justice is also found in humanist beliefs in student-centredness and equality and has been co-opted by neoliberal forces that promote individual responsibility. While a lack of consensus is not in itself a problem [Bialystok, L. 2014. “Politics Without “Brainwashing”: A Philosophical Defence of Social Justice Education.” Curriculum Inquiry 44 (3): 413–440], diverse definitions might contribute to confusion and lead to uncertainty over what and how to teach for social justice. Purpose: In order to work towards greater certainty around concepts of social justice in the PETE community, this project sought to map variations in definition and conceptualisation of social justice and sociocultural issues among physical education teacher educators (PETEs) and physical education and sport pedagogy (PESP) educators, as part of a wider project on social justice and sociocultural perspectives and practices in PETE. Methods: PETE and PESP faculty (n = 72) in North America, Europe, and Australasia engaged in an in-depth interview, during which they were asked how they define social justice and sociocultural issues. Additional information about participants’ social identity was collected. A constant comparative method of analysing participants’ definitions mapped a range of concepts building on the theoretical framework of neoliberal, humanist, critical, and ‘post’ approaches to social justice. Findings: The data demonstrate that there are a range of understandings about sociocultural issues and social justice. Most commonly, some participants articulated a humanist approach to social justice by encouraging their pre-service teachers (PSTs) to have awareness of equality of opportunity in relation to gender, sexuality, and/or racism. Less prevalent, but strongly stated by those who conceptualised social justice in these terms, was the importance to take action for democracy, empowerment, or critical reflection. The terms diversity and equality, framed in neoliberal and humanist discourses, were most commonly used within the United States (US), while critical pedagogy and alignment with critical and ‘post’ theories were more prevalent in Australia and New Zealand. Conclusion: Differences exist in the ways social justice is conceptualised in PETE. While this can be attributed to the influence of local issues, it is also reflective of what intellectual tools, such as humanism or critical theory, are available for problematising social issues. The range of non-critical concepts found raises concern that PSTs are not getting the tools to enact social justice or tackle sociocultural issues.
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Background: Physical education has historically been a repressive place for queer persons. Since physical education spaces are predominantly heteronormative, research on sexual identity management has shown lesbian teachers often try to ‘pass’ as straight or distance themselves from their sexualities. There has been no research to date that examines the experiences of queer male physical educators. Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to use Deleuzo-Guattarian theory to reflect on my affective experiences as a queer male physical educator. A secondary goal is to transcend binary theorising that has shaped previous research in the field. Design and Analysis: This paper uses autoethnographic examination to analyse experiences as a queer male physical educator. Data consists of narratives from my first year as a physical educator. These narratives are analysed using Deleuzo-Guattarian theory to map their affective implications. Conclusion: I conclude the paper by reflecting on and recommending several initiatives that can help shift our field toward a Queer Inclusive Physical Education.
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This article presents a rationale for the infusion of social justice into kinesiology programs for the purpose of reducing inequities in society. Specifically, the current climate for social justice is considered and discussed using examples from an university-inspired service-learning initiative, law, and politics. Of note are the following areas of discussion: (a) differentiation between social diversity and social justice, (b) public pedagogy as a means by which to inspire service action, (c) the creation of climates for speech and application of social justice, (d) modeling and socialization for equity, and (e) the neoliberal threat to inclusiveness. The article concludes with suggestions for practice, research, and training to implore kinesiology programs to position movement as an issue of justice.
This Fritz Duras lecture argues for the importance of physical educators’ critical engagement with issues of race and ethnic diversity. Despite its colonial history and close relationship to sport - where racialised discourses about the body contribute to shaping commonsense ideas about race - we have yet to engage in any sustained way with issues of race in Health and Physical Education (HPE). Concerns over rises in racism, coupled with persistent gaps between a largely white profession and ethnically diverse school populations in developed countries, point to the need to support teachers’ critical engagement with race. In the paper I examine the potential - and challenges - of adopting a critical whiteness perspective for this task. Antiracist perspectives focusing on the effects of racism position white teachers ‘outside’ of race, and contribute to a deficit view of minority ethnic students in HPE as ‘problems’ for not being ‘active or healthy enough’ in relation to an accepted white (male and middle class) norm. Critical whiteness perspectives shift the focus towards an examination of the workings of the dominant culture through a critical engagement with whiteness, centralising white teachers within processes of racialisation. I ask what such an approach might mean for HPE educators and our (antiracist) practice. To do this, I draw on recent research, funded by the British Academy, that sought to explore the cultural resources on which physical educators draw to make sense of race, including an analysis of discourses of race evident in national curricular policy. Examples from the findings demonstrate how whiteness in HPE works through two discursive techniques, universalisation (the way in which white experience and knowledge is taken to count for the experiences of everyone) and naturalism (the ways in which race is defined in relation to ‘others’, so that white bodies and perspectives are seen as ‘natural’ and the norm). The paper concludes by returning to what a critical whiteness perspective might offer teachers in their anti-racist practice.
Ongoing events in the United States show the continual need to address issues of social justice in every social context. Of particular note in this article, the contemporary national focus on race has thrust social justice issues into the forefront of the country’s conscious. Although legal segregation has ran its course, schools and many neighborhoods remain, to a large degree, culturally, ethnically, linguistically, economically, and racially segregated and unequal (Orfield & Lee, 2005). Even though an African American president presently occupies the White House the idea of a postracial America remains an unrealized ideal. Though social justice and racial discussions are firmly entrenched in educational research, investigations that focus on race are scant in physical education literature. Here, we attempt to develop an understanding of social justice in physical education with a focus on racial concerns. We purposely confine the examination to the U.S. context to avoid the dilution of the importance of these issues, while recognizing other international landscapes may differ significantly. To accomplish this goal, we hope to explicate the undergirding theoretical tenants of critical race theory and culturally relevant pedagogy in relation to social justice in physical education. Finally, we make observations of social justice in the physical education and physical education teacher education realms to address and illuminate areas of concern.