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- Dialogue in Athletics : A Program Evaluation of A Social Justice Education Initiative in Sports
- Kochanek, Jill
- Electronic Theses & Dissertations
Inclusive spaces and relationships that honor athletes’ unique identities are vital to ensure adaptive sport experiences (e.g., Kochanek & Erickson, 2019a, 2019b). And, the increasing diversity of sport stakeholders and rising visibility of athlete activism a part of the burgeoning Black Lives Matter movement have made visible how sport and social justice-related issues are inseparable (Cooky, 2017). While the current context demands that student-athletes and coaches possess critical...
Show moreInclusive spaces and relationships that honor athletes’ unique identities are vital to ensure adaptive sport experiences (e.g., Kochanek & Erickson, 2019a, 2019b). And, the increasing diversity of sport stakeholders and rising visibility of athlete activism a part of the burgeoning Black Lives Matter movement have made visible how sport and social justice-related issues are inseparable (Cooky, 2017). While the current context demands that student-athletes and coaches possess critical capacities that support inclusion and contest discrimination, prevalent approaches to youth development through sport offer little guidance for how to proactively address broader social issues (e.g., racism), and empower youth participants and coaches/administrators as positive change agents. Kochanek and Erickson (2019a, 2019b) also identified the lack of developmental programs to help stakeholders develop such critical competencies and evaluation research that assesses the efficacy of such initiatives. One promising research-informed approach to social justice education in athletics is intergroup dialogue. Intergroup dialogue brings together individuals with different social identities to build their awareness and capacities to promote inclusion and social justice (Gurin, Nagda, & Zúñiga, 2013). The purpose of this dissertation was to provide a preliminary evaluation of a (3-week) sport-specific program, Dialogue in Athletics, that used intergroup (race) dialogue to address this gap in youth sport research and practice. The author (who was program facilitator and evaluator) delivered and assessed the efficacy of Dialogue in Athletics within one interscholastic sports community context: Sowers School (pseudonym). A utilization-focused evaluation framework (Patton, 2011) guided the assessment of program efficacy among Sowers student-athlete and coaches/administrators. This framework required engaging key community decision-makers (i.e., intended users) with the aim of supporting use of the evaluation findings. Thus, the author worked collaboratively with intended users throughout this project to define evaluation purposes and ensure that evaluation met their informational/practical needs. The key purposes were to assess the impact of dialogue programming based on participants’ improvements in relevant (intergroup) learning outcomes (i.e., satisfaction, awareness, affect, and skills transference), and processes (i.e., program features) salient to participants’ learning experience. A quasi-experimental, mixed methods convergent evaluation design was used to collect data at the session-specific, pre/post-program, and follow-up time points. Results showed that student-athletes (n=7) and coaches/administrators (n=13) were satisfied with their program experience. Integrated analyses revealed that coaches/administrators showed more marked increases in critical awareness and skills development/transference relative to student-athletes who showed some, though less pronounced, gains following the program. Participants showed favorable affective shifts (i.e., increases in their valuing, confidence, and intentions to take dialogue-related action), with some variation between youth and adults. Participants emphasized the experiential process/practice of dialoguing with others in a supportive, small group setting as meaningful to their learning. Results on participants’ program process showed various sources of discomfort, barriers to learning transference, and sources of support related to their learning. From these findings, the author presents a formative judgment of Dialogue in Athletics and programmatic/evaluation recommendations for Sowers. This manuscript concludes with a general discussion of this project’s contribution to youth development through sport praxis.