Pedagogies for a Sense of Belonging in Physical Education

"Physical education seeks to develop not only the physical abilities of students but also deliberately sets out to foster the social, emotional, and cognitive development of students as well."

Randall, 2014

These words remind us that Physical Education (PE) can play a role in developing the whole child. The social-emotional safety of children is essential for their success in physical education.

‘Pedagogies for a Sense of Belonging’ explores relevant discourses in the PE context that influence movement experiences for children. This project also explores grounded teaching and learning practices that work to produce empowered and engaged children in PE. Specifically, ‘Pedagogies for a Sense of Belonging’ focuses on social equity and justice in PE, so that PE can be a learning space in which every child feels respected, represented, and valued, in meeting their unique strengths and needs in moment-to-moment movement encounters.

Education must work for all children, not only those who are skilled in a particular discipline. This means that PE must provide the conditions of possibility for all children to move their bodies in a safe and comfortable way, in which they have opportunities to explore and experiment with play-full movement experiences and grow and expand from strengths and limitations.

‘Pedagogies for a Sense of Belonging in Physical Education’ is presented as a rhizome to show how an interrelated network of connections can challenge hierarchies and generate new and different ways of knowing/being/thinking/doing/feeling in PE.

The rhizome was developed by a team of Saskatchewan educators, through an intensive collaborative process with the Ministry of Education and PHE Saskatchewan. Dr. Kathryn Riley, Nikki Cameron (B.P.Ed, B.Ed, M.Sc), and Lynden Proctor (B.Ed, M.Ed), were tasked with writing the first-of-their-kind emotional safety guidelines for physical education, in the province of Saskatchewan. The rhizome is a product of the writing process and designed to serve as a non-hierarchical guide for educators who wish to explore, reflect, and further develop learning environments that foster a sense of belonging for everyone.