Physical education teachers as allies to Aboriginal students : dimensions of social consciousness

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Champagne, Louise Desmarais
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This study explores dimensions of social consciousness in relation to the ability of physical educators to be effective allies to Aboriginal young people. A theoretical framework is developed for a "community solidarity" approach and then applied to, and enriched by, interviews with physical education teachers who have worked with Aboriginal students. The framework incorporates aspects of critical pedagogy, culturally relevant teaching, and anti-racist education. Using a qualitative research methodology, eight physical educators were interviewed as a means of encouraging their reflections pertaining to their teaching practices, philosophies, experiences and relationships with Aboriginal students. The research findings identify how unprepared teachers felt in response to the complexities of working with Aboriginal youth and their families. The research highlights the need for physical education teachers to develop a critical social consciousness that includes an understanding of Aboriginal economic history and colonial relations. In order for physical educators to become effective allies of Aboriginal young people, teacher-training programs need to provide students with a theoretical framework for understanding inequality and oppression.