An activist approach to sport meets youth from socially vulnerable backgrounds: possible learning aspirations

Carla Luguetti, Kimberly L. Oliver, Luiz Eduardo Pinto Basto Tourinho Dantas, David Kirk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

29 Citations (Scopus)
33 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose: This study was a two-phase activist research project aimed at co-creating a prototype pedagogical model for working with youth from socially vulnerable backgrounds in a sport context. This paper addresses the learning aspirations (learning outcomes) that emerged when we created spaces for youth to develop strategies to manage the risks they face in their community. Method: This study took place in a socially and economically disadvantaged neighborhood in a Brazilian city where we worked with a group of 17 boys between ages 13- 15, 4 coaches, a pedagogic coordinator and a social worker. Over a six month period, we collected multiple sources of data including field journal/observations (38), audio records of youth work sessions (18), coaches’ work sessions (16), combined coaches and youth work sessions (3), and meetings between the lead and the second author for debriefing and planning sessions (36). Results: By using an activist approach, four learning aspirations emerged: becoming responsible/committed, learning from mistakes, valuing each other’s knowledge, and communicating with others. Conclusion: Findings suggest that there is a need for more sports programs that start from young people’s concrete needs and life situations and look to create places for youth to see alternative possibilities and take action.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)60-71
Number of pages12
JournalResearch Quarterly for Exercise and Sport
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2017


  • student-centered pedagogy
  • empowerment
  • critical pedagogy
  • sport programs


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