Schools urged to scrap these 'discriminatory' phrases during PE

·2-min read

There’s a push for phrases that could be considered “discriminatory”, such as “sportsmanship”, to be scrapped in Australian schools.

Two academics are urging teachers to consider their language, particularly during health and physical education classes, as a way to be more inclusive in the classroom.

School students in class with their hands up. Source: Getty Images
Two experts have called on Australian teachers to consider replacing certain phrases to be more inclusive. Source: Getty Images

Dr Laura Alfrey and Dr Ruth Jeanes, both from Monash University’s education faculty, singled out the terms “sportsmanship” and “man-on” as being discriminatory in nature.

“HPE is an ideal context to learn about, examine and problematise discrimination and exclusion,” an article published in Australian Council for Educational Research’s Teacher magazine states.

“For example, some terminology used in HPE has traditionally been discriminatory (e.g. ‘man-on’ and ‘sportsmanship’) and the continued use of such terms provides an excellent opportunity to talk about discrimination and its impacts.”

Should we say 'sportspersonship' instead?

They suggested replacing these phrases with “sportspersonship” and “player-on”.

It comes after a UK primary school took a strong stance on sexism earlier this year, outlawing phrases like “man up” and “good morning boys and girls”.

Sarah Hewitt Clarkson, Head Teacher at Anderton Park Primary in Birmingham, demanded the term “everyone” be used over “boy and girls” because it does not create a gender divide is inclusive of those who might not identify as either sex.

Close up action of boys soccer teams, aged 12-14, playing a soccer match. Source: Getty Images
Terms “sportsmanship” and “man-on” have been singled out as being discriminatory. Source: Getty Images

Calls for better Aboriginal education

Meanwhile, the article also called for a bigger focus on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures in the classroom.

Dr Alfrey and Dr Jeanes called on teachers to consider sharing an Acknowledgment to Country at the beginning of lessons.

They also suggested teaching students about Indigenous games and use local Indigenous language for frequent terms like “welcome” and “children”.

“Be mindful to take a strengths-based approach and to celebrate Indigenous perspectives as a regular and embedded part of HPE,” the article read.

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