Critical pedagogies for community building: Challenging ableism in higher education physical education in the United States

Shrehan Lynch , Mara Simon, ANTHONY MAHER

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Enacting critical pedagogies within physical education and health education (PE/HE) contexts has been found to increase critical consciousness and disrupt hegemonic taken-for-granted assumptions about ability and the body. The goal of these pedagogies is to come to an understanding of the diversity of humanity through a ‘differently-abled’ framework as well as to critique the construction of disability from a deficit perspective. To the best of our knowledge, no research has yet explored the ways and extent to which a critical pedagogical approach in PE/HE can disrupt normative ableist notions of disability. Therefore, the aim of our research was to explore the extent to which a critical pedagogical approach in PE and HE can disrupt normative ableist notions of disability through a disability-specific, critically orientated, tennis class. Data formed part of a broader research project, a digital ethnography exploring students’ experiences of alternate teaching practices and digital assessment methods in university PE activity courses. Six students from a large southeastern US university chose to participate and student video narratives and reflective essays were collated as data sources. Through inductive and deductive data analysis, the key themes constructed were: (1) ‘the learning journey in critical education,’ underpinned by the following subthemes: (i) ‘initial shock,’ (ii) ‘new experiences,’ and (iii) ‘humbling encounters.’; and (2) ‘consequences of critical pedagogy’, supported by (a) ‘building a community through meaningful relationships,’ and (b) ‘change in perspective.’ We conclude by discussing the pedagogical potential of our critical approach.
Original languageEnglish
JournalTeaching in Higher Education
Early online date7 Jul 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 Jul 2020

Keywords

  • Critical pedagogy
  • Physical Education
  • Teacher Education
  • Disability
  • Ableism

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