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A Study of Academically Successful Atheletes Learning Experience and Career Choice with Multicultural Education Perspectives.
From the perspective of multicultural education, this study discusses what oppressions student athletes encounter under the mainstream culture in school and further explores how these oppressions affect student athletes’ learning experience and how they adapt themselves or response to the oppressions. To understand the oppression under the mainstream culture, “academically successful athletes” are selected to participate in this study. Since athletes with low academic achievements already meet the negative expectations and impressions under the perspectives of mainstream culture, they fail to adapt or to resist these values. Academically successful athletes have strived to fight against these negative impressions; however, it tends to be more difficult for them to adapt themselves to the mainstream culture. Influenced by the oppression of mainstream culture, academically successful athletes’ self-identity and career choice are mainly discussed in the study. In order to have a basic understanding of the research topic, this study firstly discusses the spirit, the meaning, the important objectives, and the theory of multicultural education. Then, it explores the current situation of student athletes, including the research findings on athletes’ academic performance, interpersonal interaction, and career development done by former researchers. In-depth interviews are conducted to participants, academically successful athletes, who have different specialties and adapt themselves well in the career change. Through the participants’ self-narration, what oppressions they encountered, how they reacted and responded to these oppressions, how they interacted with teachers and other students in school, and how they decided their future development are revealed. Besides, the analysis of interview data show that a unique learning experience is formed among academically successful athletes as they are confronted with the unfavorable learning environment. With the comprehensive analysis between the interview data and the multicultural education theory, the study finds that academic achievements tend to be regarded as the single standard to evaluate a student. According to this standard, athletes are viewed as the “other” in school. In addition, under the circumstances of the single academic standard, mainstream groups form misrecognition of athletes, while academically successful athletes reversely develop misrecognition of their self-identity. As athletes with great academicperformance successfully make a career change and become part of the mainstream culture, they adopt the single academic standard from mainstream culture to judge the original group of athletes instead, which similarly forms oppression to them. The research findings also discover that with the single academic standard from the mainstream culture, whether academically successful athletes belong to the group of athletes or non-athletes, they are often oppressed by the identity of the “other.” Since academically successful athletes still fail to get rid of the identity of the “other” under the oppression of mainstream culture, it’s inevitable for them to confront unceasing struggles and resistance.
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