Sport-for-development, critical pedagogy and marginalised youth: Engagement, co-creation and community consciousness

Haydn Morgan, Andrew Parker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (SciVal)
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The principles of critical pedagogy proposed by Paolo Freire have been widely cited as presenting the necessary intellectual tools to underpin sport-based programmes that are targeted towards marginalised groups. Yet, despite the widespread advocacy for Freire’s educational philosophy, to date there have been few attempts to present theoretical articulations of how these pedagogical principles might be more precisely understood within the context of sport-for-development (SfD). One example, proposed by [Spaaij, R., & Jeanes, R. (2013). Education for social change? A Freirean critique of sport for development and peace. Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, 18(4), 442–457.], offers a framework for ‘critical SfD education’ and emphasises the necessity for programmes that are co-created, inclusive and directive. However, there are an absence of studies that apply this framework directly to examine SfD programmes. This article seeks to offer some form of corrective in this respect by providing empirical insights which illustrate the utility of the principles outlined by Spaaij and Jeanes within the context of programmes that employ sport as a vehicle for individual development. The article draws upon the qualitative elements of two evaluations of sport-based programmes, both of which were concerned with providing support and vocational training for young people residing in areas of high deprivation in the United Kingdom. Findings reveal how the pedagogical methods employed within both programmes highlighted a co-created, inclusive and directive ethos, to demonstrate the benefits of adopting an educational approach that is community conscious and designed in concert with the themes and conditions of participant lives. Further studies are required to substantiate the suitability of Spaaij and Jeanes’s framework within SfD practice, and there is a clear necessity to develop and empirically test further theoretical frameworks that are infused by the tenets of critical pedagogy but are more specific to the realm of SfD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)741-754
JournalSport, Education and Society
Issue number7
Early online date17 May 2022
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2023


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