Tag Archives: equity

Blogging my research: first interviews on PE teacher education and social justice

We are 10 interviews in on the UK element of the project on social justice and socio-cultural issues in PETE. My first thoughts on some commonalities in what has been discussed.

I usually start the interviews by asking, what actually is social justice, how do you define it? For some participants this is tricky to answer. It’s a term we all had heard, but don’t necessarily use. I wonder if social justice is a recent concept, as one that attempts to encompass more than equality and diversity, to consider fairness, activism, progressive policies, doing more to reach and make things better for all types of marginalised communities and individuals. As my last post on this project noted, there is something about caring and dealing with contemporary events such as the Orlando massacre. To bear in mind for analysis, is how the participants defined social justice.

Two key points raised about the impact of teaching social justice or teaching in a socially just way were the issue of occupational socialisation for teachers (once they are in schools) and activism. As PETE, how do we help pre-service teachers to prepare for maintaining their values in the job? And can teaching social justice be considered a form of activism for educators who do not or cannot engage in social activism “out there” – going to marches, donating money, being politically engaged (although of course the meaning of activism and what counts as proper activism or just back seat activism is unclear). For instance, do we have a duty to educate about and for a socially just world?

A big thank you to the participants so far and those scheduled in for July!


Book review: Equity and Inclusion in Physical Education and Youth Sport (eds. Stidder and Hayes)

Recently I wrote a review for Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly of Stidder and Hayes’ second edition of their text Equity and Inclusion in Physical Education and Youth Sport. You can read that review here if you have a subscription to the journal. Otherwise, here’s my tuppence-worth more briefly.

As the name suggests, Equity and Inclusion presents aspects of inclusion/exclusion that affect young people’s learning, engagement, participation and enjoyment within PE and sport. It takes lines of identity and difference in turn with one chapter each on gender, sexuality, class, ethnicity, special educational needs, and also looks at health, sport for peace, policy, and competitive sport.

My favourite thing about this book is the opening of each chapter with a biographical piece from the author(s) that tells us something of their motivations for writing about the topic of the chapter, including their own experiences as a participant in PE in their own school days. Although I would not argue that any writer anywhere writes from a detached and unemotional position, the biographies of the authors in this book help to show readers how experience of issues of, say gender inequality, affect them (us, everyone?). It seems important in this book to personalise the stories that are created. Sometimes that means reflecting on unhappy stories and at times the book might be better called Inequity and Exclusion. However the editors in their introduction note that their aim is to share elements of good practice with teachers of PE to show how all children might be included. In order to do that, I think the book needs to be read as a whole, not dipped into for a relevant chapter, to avoid treating them as single issues. There are intersections between any of the concerns in the book.

Equity and Inclusion reminds us that we need to be aware of both external pressures such as policy or public discourse within which PE must legitimate itself, while knowing that the focus of PE and youth sport is the young people. It has been a key text on undergraduate modules I’ve taught on that address equality and/or critical pedagogy, and serves well as an introduction to equity issues for students.

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