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Sport, disability and (inclusive) education: critical insights and understandings from the Playdagogy programme
journal contributionposted on 09.03.2021, 16:44 by Rachel SandfordRachel Sandford, Angharad Beckett, Richard GiulianottiRichard Giulianotti
It has long been held that participation in sport, physical activity (PA) and physical education (PE) can yield valuable benefits for young people (Bailey et al., 2009). Recently, there has been much focus on the role of such activities for moral development in support of social inclusion and social justice agendas, often centred within the broad field of sport-for-development (Coalter, 2013; Rossi & Jeanes, 2016). However, disability, and the social inclusion of disabled people, has been somewhat overlooked by policy, practice, and research in this field. This article considers the findings from a study investigating a sports-based educational programme, Playdagogy, designed for use with children/young people and intended to: (1) raise disability-awareness, (2) promote positive attitudes to disabled people and (3) foster inclusion. In focusing on promoting understandings of disability and inclusion through ‘inclusive’ sport-based games, Playdagogy reflects a recognition of the need to critique ‘normalized’ and exclusionary conceptions and practices in youth sport (Fitzgerald, 2009). While progress has been made to conceptualise ‘anti-disablist’ or ‘anti-ableist’ pedagogies within the context of inclusive education (Beckett, 2015), it has been slow to trace this into relevant curricula or teaching/learning strategies (Symeonidou & Loizou 2018). Playdagogy can be viewed as an attempt to achieve translation of pedagogy into practice. A mixed method approach was employed to capture experiences of programme staff, educators, and pupils (aged 6-12 years) involved in the Playdagogy programme. Findings highlight key issues related to the experience of delivering and undertaking Playdagogy activities from all stakeholders’ perspectives. In acknowledging claims that educational messages are often inherent but not explicit within these kinds of sport for development programmes (Rossi & Jeanes, 2016), we add to calls for closer examination of the educational process and impact of such initiatives and examine the place of an inclusion/disability focus in future SfD work.
- Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences