Rethinking pedagogical practices with care-experienced young people: lessons from a sport-based programme analysed through a Freirean lens

Quarmby, Thomas ORCID: 0000-0002-6950-5010 and Luguetti, Carla ORCID: 0000-0002-9442-1636 (2021) Rethinking pedagogical practices with care-experienced young people: lessons from a sport-based programme analysed through a Freirean lens. Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy. ISSN 1740-8989


Background: Several studies demonstrate the benefits of socially critical work in sport pedagogy, which value young people’s strengths, capabilities, knowledge, and resources. This body of research argues that young people have the agency to analyse their social contexts and to negotiate the forces that impede their choice of possibilities. While advocacy for a more transformative education process through sport has grown over the years, there is little research that aims to explore pedagogical practices with care-experienced young people (e.g. those who have been removed from their families and placed in the care of the ‘state’). Purpose: This article draws on Paulo Freire’s critical pedagogy as a theoretical framework to examine pedagogical practices with care-experienced young people in a sport-based programme. Participants and settings: This case study took place at a football-in-the-community programme in the West Midlands region of England, which aimed to develop the skills necessary to support care-experienced young people’s transition from primary to secondary school. Participants included eight key adult stakeholders involved with the delivery, and ten care-experienced young people. Data collection/analysis: The research was conducted in two phases to understand the specific pedagogic practices employed within the programme. In the first phase, all adult participants took part in semi-structured interviews designed around their understanding of the programme and their perceptions about what care-experienced young people gained from it and why. For the second phase, observations of the programme were employed as well as a variety of participatory methods with young people such as drawings, mind mapping and photo-elicitation. Findings: The analysis resulted in the identification of three key themes relating to pedagogic practices: (a) problem-based learning with spaces of freedom; (b) contextualised learning activities; and (c) developing mutual trust and respect. By critically analysing a sport-based programme, this paper highlights how specific pedagogic practices might create spaces for empowering care-experienced young people, and the challenges and tensions in this process. Implications: We conclude by outlining how a Freirean critical pedagogy could be better utilised for care-experienced young people within sport-based programmes, in order to recognise their knowledge in naming, critiquing and negotiating barriers to their engagement in their sport context.

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Item type Article
DOI 10.1080/17408989.2021.1976742
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Subjects Current > FOR (2020) Classification > 3903 Education systems
Current > Division/Research > Institute for Health and Sport
Keywords pedagogy, sport pedagogy, education through sport, care-experienced young people, Paulo Freire
Citations in Scopus 0 - View on Scopus
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