Using a Culturally-relevant Approach to Engage South-Asian Female Adolescents in Secondary Physical Education
The South-Asian (SA) population makes up the largest visible minority group in Canada. Little research in Canada has examined the interplay of gender and culture in Physical Education (PE), and strategies to increase PE participation in Canadian SA female adolescents. In addition, there is a lack of pre-service and in-service teacher training on culturally-relevant PE. This lack of exposure may cause PE teachers to perpetuate Western norms and ideals as being the most desirable, thus resulting in PE programs that have little meaning or value to SA female adolescents. If PE is not meaningful or relevant to SA female adolescents, they may be less likely to develop lifelong physical activity (PA) habits. Using the framework of Culturally-relevant Physical Education proposed by Halas, McRae, and Carpenter (2013) and an in-depth literature review, this study examined the challenges to PE participation in SA female adolescents and recommends culturally-relevant strategies. Based on the literature review, a comprehensive framework to engage SA female adolescents in PE has been created. The following strategies were found to have the potential to increase the engagement of SA female adolescents: supportive learning environment, student-centered approach, alternative teaching models, authentic assessment, family and school partnerships, and culturally-relevant pedagogy. The findings of this research have the potential to improve PE participation and the overall well-being of the SA female population. Implications of this research demonstrate that physical education teacher education (PETE) must incorporate culturally-relevant PE, school mental health programs need to target the SA population, and policy-makers must place a higher value on PE in schools.