Canadian Society for the Study of Education, 2019 Conference of the Canadian Society for the Study of Education

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Dodgeball: Teaching the five faces of oppression?
Joy Butler, David P. Burns, Claire E Robson

Last modified: 2019-02-03


In this presentation, we, the authors, look beyond the usual arguments offered for and against the teaching of the game of dodgeball in physical education as we view it through three ethical lenses: the ethic of care (Noddings, 1994, 1999, 2002), the ethic of anti-oppressive education (Young, 1990), and the ethics of virtue (Aristotle, 1999; Varela, 1999). We conclude that in terms of modeling, confirming, and practicing caring behaviours, or offering opportunities to discuss and process what might be considered fair, dodgeball can be considered miseducative. We further argue that the hidden curriculum of dodgeball reinforces the five faces of oppression defined by Young as marginalization, powerlessness, and helplessness of those perceived as weaker individuals through the exercise of violence and dominance by those who are considered more powerful.


Ethics; anti-oppressive education; social justice; physical education; democracy


Aristotle,Nicomachean Ethicstrans. (1985). Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Co.

Noddings, N. (1984). Caring, a feminine approach to ethics & moral education. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Noddings, N. (2010). Moral education and caring. Theory and Research in Education, 8(2), 145-151. doi:10.1177/1477878510368617

Noddings, N. (2012). The caring relation in teaching. Oxford Review of Education, 38(6), 771-781. doi:10.1080/03054985.2012.745047Varela, F. J. (1999). Ethical know-how: Action, wisdom, and cognition. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

Young. I.  M. (1980). Throwing like a Girl: A Phenomenology of Feminine Body Comportment Motility and Spatiality, Human Studies, 3(2), 137-156.