The Voices of #PhysEd is a blog post series focusing on having courageous conversations we are not currently having in the digital Physical Education community. The focus is on equity and social justice with the goal to raise awareness, have difficult dialogues and advocate for change. This series will be authored by Physical Education professionals who come from a wide range of life experiences and represent the diversity of many of our students so that we can comment authentically on these topics.
With the growing influence our digital physical education community has on the future of our profession, we cannot afford to wait any longer to talk about it. The time is now for the Voices of #PhysEd.
5.6.15 Let’s Talk About Privilege | I have been trying to refine my understanding of privilege lately. Merriam-Webster’s first definition comes close: “a right or benefit that is given to some people and not to others.” Google’s first option : “a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group” is also helpful. The reason is this: when people of color speak of privilege, the first association is with white privilege: advantages which white members of society enjoy as a result of their being white. This in turn implies that people of color in the same society experience disadvantages as a result of being non-white. In the spirit of intersectionality (where the interplay of multiple social identities become the focus), I have been trying to understand circumstances and contexts in my personal experience which both include and extend beyond this fraught dichotomy. READ MORE HERE
4.10.15 Not “Black” Enough | I have always been aware of my race. I was made to be. Growing up in a predominately black area it was obvious that I didn’t fit the black ‘stereotype’. Promoting stereotypes is never a productive practice. They limit potential and label unnecessarily. The people who hype the black stereotype are the same people who scoff at being labeled in the first place = my classmates, my “friends”. See I played baseball, hung out with my white baseball friends, and included white females into my friend circle. None of that sat well with my black peers. Many labeled me as being not “black enough”. My parents stressed ignoring these people because I was a great person who never saw race as a reason to not include others. READ MORE HERE
4.1.15 APE Through the Student’s Eyes | After teaching Adapted Physical Education now for 9 years, I spend a lot of time planning my lessons by first looking at what content am I going to deliver and then how am I going to deliver the content to my students with disabilities. We all know that students with disabilities have the right to access the same curriculum as the general education classes, but it is up to the highly trained Adapted Physical Education teacher to decide the adaptations or modifications that need to be made for the students to be successful. It often helps if I first look at the content I am going to deliver through the eyes of my students. READ MORE HERE
3.31.15 The Growth Mindset and Invisible Disabilities | Teaching students to have a growth mindset has become a trend within education over the past few years. The idea of the growth mindset is based upon research on achievement and success by Stanford University Psychologist Carol Dweck. The growth mindset says your ability to learn isn’t fixed, but rather the harder you try the more likely you are to learn a specific concept or skill. In my physical education program I have worked hard to teach my students to have a growth mindset and embrace life struggles as opposed to trying to overcome them. My strong desire to instill in my students the idea that failure is okay and that great learning results from failure comes from my own life experiences, specifically, being diagnosed with a learning disability. I would like to shine some light on what it’s like to be a student with a learning disability and ways in which physical education teachers can meet the needs of students like myself. READ MORE HERE
3.26.15 Common Ground | I’ve always told my college students the most profound divider of people is gender, then comes religion, then social class, and finally race. The greatest source of conflict between my husband and me comes from the fact that he is a man and I am a woman, not because he’s white and I’m black. Race is simply the most obvious divider between us. In spite of the difference in our races, we’ve found enough similarities to sustain a relationship. Now consider this: When a black male and a white male approach each other on the street, their difference is obvious. But after one of them draws a gun, it’s too late to explore their similarities. This is one of the sources of our nation’s racial divide–the unwillingness to consider our similarities when our differences are so obvious. READ MORE HERE
3.19.15 Breaking Out of My Fishbowl | First, let me start by introducing myself. My name is Jorge Rodriguez and I am currently a physical education teacher in Houston, Texas. I was born and raised in McAllen, TX, which is about 10 miles from the border of Mexico. My parents both immigrated to the United States from Mexico with little education and little money. They came seeking to be a part of the “American Dream” and to create a better life for themselves and their families. This is a noble and courageous endeavor for anyone, one that has unconsciously shaped my life in many ways. READ MORE HERE
3.15.15 Voices of #PhysEd | While our digital community is wonderful in many ways, there are things we just don’t talk about. We don’t talk about things that might make many of us uncomfortable. We don’t talk about race, gender, disability, poverty, language and other issues of social justice that are part of many of the learning communities we teach in. For the last 6 years, I have taught at a middle school whose demographics are 70% Hispanic/Latino and 30% Caucasian. We have many students on free and reduced lunch and about 30% of our population are English language learners. Many schools in the United States have similarly diverse student populations and communities. As wonderful as our digital community is, 94% of the students and families who we serve do not identify as white, nor experience life or their journey to be physically literate through the same lens. READ MORE HERE