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In defence of white privilege: physical education teachers’ understandings of their work in culturally diverse schools
Department of Food and Nutrition, and Sport Science, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden. (RESHAPE)ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4162-9844
2019 (English)In: Sport, Education and Society, ISSN 1357-3322, E-ISSN 1470-1243, Vol. 24, no 2, p. 134-146Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Research suggests that physical education (PE) in Western countries is notproviding equitable experiences for non-white students. Responsibility forshortcomings has often been ascribed to white PE teachers. Scholars haveclaimed that teachers lack cultural competence and know little about howphysical cultures or health are understood by the young people withwhom they work. The objective of this investigation was to investigatethis claim and generate an understanding of how white PE teachers in aculturally diverse high school make sense of their work with non-whitestudents. Data with three Swedish teachers of varying experience wereproduced using semi-structured interviewing. A series of school visitsprovided a complementary line of data. Four themes emerged from thedata. These related to: (1) differences between white and non-whitevalues; (2) the knowledge and dispositions necessary for success in PE; (3)the broad purpose of PE, and; (4) the differences between boys’ and girls’experiences of PE. Data were interpreted using a Critical Race Theory(CRT) perspective, with the notion of ‘whiteness’ providing a specificanalytic concept. The general thesis developed in the second part of thepaper is that problems result not from insensitivity or incompetence butfrom discourses of whiteness in which many teachers live and work. Bybuilding on critical research both in general education and physicaleducation literature and by utilizing whiteness as an analytical concept,the investigation shows how three PE teachers draw extensively on theracial discourse of whiteness and how this disadvantages non-whitestudents. The paper is concluded with a consideration of how racialdisadvantage could be challenged or disrupted.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2019. Vol. 24, no 2, p. 134-146
Keywords [en]
Race, ethnicity, cultural diversity, critical race theory, whiteness, equity
National Category
Pedagogy
Research subject
Education
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-77414DOI: 10.1080/13573322.2017.1344123ISI: 000454911600003Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85021092828OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-77414DiVA, id: diva2:1361710
Funder
Swedish National Centre for Research in Sports, P2015-0061Available from: 2019-10-16 Created: 2019-10-16 Last updated: 2019-10-25Bibliographically approved

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