TGfU International Advisory Board (America)
Associate Professor of Kinesiology and Human Performance
Valley City State University, North Dakota (U.S.A)
Dehumanization is defined as “a violation of two qualities (identity and community) that we accord to an individual that we accord to an individual (Kelman, 1973).” Dehumanization in physical education and sport occur when physical educators and coaches deem students and players as one of the objects in the space and ignore their identities and sense of belonging. When the notion of Thirdspace is applied related to equity and inclusion, it means to create a whole new space that is separate from majorities and minorities’ spaces. Thirdspace is where we constantly “process of re-negotiating and contesting the definitions of territory and cultural identity to promote justice (Clup, 2020, p. 10).” Culp (2020) suggested “applying a Thirdspace lens to kinesiology in an intentional fashion may serve positively influence a public that has become dangerously shaped by protectionism, isolationism, xenophobia, and anti-elite discourse (p. 10).”
Considering equity, inclusion, and social justice as humanizing and creating Thirdspace, game-based approaches offer a venue for physical educators and sport coaches. Our beloved Dr. Joy Butler from the TGfU community strongly advocated for this same notion in her book “Playing Fair” (Butler, 2016). In the process of inventing game and playing games, students are offered “seriously playful opportunities to learn democracy in action, because students learn by doing as they negotiate, debate, overcome conflict (p. 2).” Students and players in TGfU create a space where they discuss, problem solve, and support each other while teachers and coaches deliberately facilitate the learning space. In my previous presentations including the one at AIESEP 2019 “Game-Centered Approach (TGfU) for Promoting Sports for Girls and Women in the Community” as well as the recent TGfU blog by Dania and Stasinos (2020), TGfU shows great potential to motivate and empower girls in sport. Their concepts can also apply to the boarder issues on equity and inclusion as well as social justice. TGfU lessons afford many opportunities where safe space is naturally developed. The safe space is where humanizing can happen and the Thirdspace can be created. For example, games are often dynamic and consistent where students and players feel limited isolation and experience less singling out. Mistakes that occur during the games are not clearly visible to their peers. When students or players are solving problems as a group, there is a creation of space where everyone has an opportunity to speak, listen, and feel sense of belonging. When planned and delivered carefully by teachers and coaches, the space can promote social justice where differences such as race, age, gender, sexual orientation, disability, religion, and socioeconomic status are no longer important and working toward solving problem together becomes a main focus.
Joy knew that TGfU had power not only teaching sport concepts and skills in a more effective way while at the same time expanding the intension of teaching games to educate students andplayers to be global citizens. With many uncertainties and inequity that we currently face in society, teaching our students and players true inclusion, equity, and social justice is more critical than ever. TGfU and other game-based approach offers the space where teachers and coaches can deliberately promote inclusion and equity and educate students/players for social justice.
Butler, J.I. (2016): Playing Fair: Using student-invented games to prevent bullying, teach democracy, and promote social justice, Human Kinetics, Champaign, IL.
Culp, B. (2020): Thirdspace Investigations: Geography, Dehumanization,
and Seeking Spatial Justice in Kinesiology, Quest, DOI: 10.1080/00336297.2020.1729824
Culp, B. (February 18, 2021): Fighting Dehumanization in Physical Education, SHAPE America Blog, https://blog.shapeamerica.org/2021/02/fighting-dehumanization-in-physical-education/
Dania, A., D & Stasinos, P. (October 1, 2020): The use of game-based teaching as a route to address gender issues in physical education, TGfU Blog, http://www.tgfu.info/blog/the-use-of-game-based-teaching-as-a-route-to-address-gender-issues-in-physical-education
Kelman, H., C. (1973): Violence without moral restraint: Reflections on the dehumanization of victims and victimizers, Journal of Social Issue, 29 (4). 25-61.