Journal article

Pedagogical practices in schooling bear a potential to impact on student success, achievement and engagement with schooling. This is especially the case for students from disadvantaged backgrounds, who are deeply dependent on schooling for their educational resources. Central to this paper are pedagogies for social justice and improved engagement of boys in dance within a school located in an area of high socio-economic disadvantage. It is in these areas that boys spend considerable time performing masculinities that are in opposition to the formal processes of schooling, including participation in perceived feminine pursuits. The specific focus of this paper is a project of pedagogical redesign, enacted by a teacher of physical education and dance. The paper will first address pedagogies as they relate to dance, physical education, inclusion and gender. We next describe the action research project before describing redesigned pedagogical processes and outcomes for students. Findings reveal that altered pedagogical practices and relationships resulted in increasing student engagement, as well as broader outcomes across the curriculum. In conclusion we argue for practices that provide safe and supportive learning environments, connect to student life-worlds and extend student skills to offer ‘possibilities’ for boys from disadvantaged backgrounds in dance as well as investment in schooling.

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