Indigenous Students' Experiences in Physical Education: A Scoping Review
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AbstractPositive experiences in Physical Education (PE) throughout one’s childhood encourages life-long interest and participation in exercise and movement, as well as increased mental and physical well-being (Akbar & Tsuji, 2020). However, for many Indigenous students’ this is not the case as these individuals experience much negativity, the most prominent one being racism (McHugh et al., 2019). Therefore, my study aimed to gain a better understanding of Indigenous students’ prior experiences in public school PE across Canada, the United States, Australia, and New Zealand. A scoping review was conducted guided by Arksey & O’Malley’s (2005) framework, while using a decolonial lens following Linda Tuhiwai Smith (2021). Data collection started on May 12th, 2023 and finished on August 19th, 2023. The search strategy identified 41 pieces of literature, after the title, abstract, and full-text was reviewed. And, upon more in-depth analysis a final list of 15 pieces of literature were identified that met the inclusion and exclusion criteria for the study. A descriptive analysis followed by a thematic analysis were conducted examining all 15 pieces of literature. The descriptive analysis identified key descriptors from each piece of literature (i.e., document name, author, country where data was collected, etc.). Some examples of major findings included, 93% of the pieces of literature focused only on high school students and 60% of the pieces of literature were published pre-2012 and none since 2018. Based on the Thematic analysis two overarching themes were identified: (1) Experiencing a cultural disconnect in the PE curriculum and the content being taught; and (2) Connections between Students’ and the PE Environment. The results of this study demonstrate that although research presently exists with regards to Indigenous students’ sharing their experiences in PE, there is still a need for considerably more work specifically focused on this topic. Sharing Indigenous students’ experiences in PE may resonate with Indigenous researchers, scholars, teachers and beyond these groups as well. What this research offers is a pathway for future research with Indigenous and minority communities to provide a better understanding of the student experience in PE for current and future educators and administrators.
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