BAME PE: Promoting Equity and Inclusivity in (International) Physical Education

A talk by Laura Davies
Athletic Director, Lanna International School

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About this talk

The BAME PE collective is a social change movement, with a vision of equitable physical education. Founded in the UK by Laura McBean and Dr Shrehan Lynch, it now aims to spread its message internationally and on a global stage.

Recent world events have underlined the need for us all, individually, and collectively, to reflect on and confront the problematic issues of white ideologies, privilege and discrimination that exist in our local contexts.

International schools, as an extension of the education systems of their native countries, who largely employ white, Westernised teachers, cannot and must not be exempt from current discussions. In these current times, with important questions raised about inclusivity in all spaces of society, now is a crucial moment for teachers and schools to take steps to address issues of social inequity and injustice.

Physical education research has already begun to examine the lack of inclusiveness that has long prevailed in this subject. It has been noted that physical education has chronically underserved children and young people from minority groups (Casey & Kirk, 2021), whilst equally privileging white students and teachers (Flintoff & Dowling, 2019).

Despite the limitations that may be imposed within individual countries or cultures, we believe that it is possible for all educators to embody equitable practice and empower all students in their lessons. This presentation will argue the need for physical educators working internationally to actively promote inclusivity within their respective spaces, so that their students find themselves in an environment where they feel safe, valued, and able to learn, despite their race, gender, sexuality, or ability. It is only through deliberate and purposeful action that we will be able to challenge outdated or negative ideas held by students, parents, other educators, and society more broadly.

As PE teachers, we should be asking ourselves;

  • Does my curriculum provide opportunities to explore and learn about the native culture in which the school is situated?
  • Do I foster a safe and supportive environment in which all identities are respected?
  • Have I considered how to pursue meaningful and genuine community links?

This presentation aims to provide PE teachers working internationally with practical suggestions and ideas about the steps they can take to create truly inclusive lessons, curriculums and sports programmes that benefit all students, in all contexts.