This week’s reading summary was particularly interesting to me – in modern society, so many things are taken for granted and normalized, that certain topics such as diversity can so easily be overlooked in the PE classroom. Notions such as “Bob can’t participate in class today because the activities involve running and he is in a wheelchair” or “Liam is a strong and healthy 17-year-old male Caucasian student, he should be on the football team” are so ingrained into our culture that we rarely stop and critically assess them.
I still remember experiences from school, when boys were expected to play soccer outside and girls were expected to participate in quiet activities, when a Sikh boy couldn’t participate in roller blading because the helmets didn’t fit over his turban, when a boy with a physical handicap never participated in our PE classes. I recall recognizing the injustice of the situations, but never stopping to think about or address the issues.
Throughout the week, diversity seemed to be a common discussion in our classes. Racism, gender biases, stereotyping – these are just a few of the epidemics that have taken over society. These epidemics are not spreading through loud or visible means however. They are silent killers, deeming us mute and seemingly ignorant of the discrimination and segregation happening all around us.
In all of our class discussions, the solution spiraled down to something fairly simple – awareness. Simply by speaking out loud about an issue, or educating people so they could learn more about something that was previously ambiguous, can bring topics out of the darkness and demystify and de-normalize them. Yesterday, Sheena did a wonderful job of leading our group discussion and helping us to identify what we should be aware of (in regards to diversity) as educators. I hope that as a cohort, we can continue to question and build on each other’s thoughts and ideas, and push each other forward on this amazing learning journey!