Winner’s Story: Carla Luguetti

Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy Best Paper Award 2017

The 2017 Best Paper Award for Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy has been awarded to Carla Luguetti. Here, she shares her story…

My area of expertise is activist approaches for working with youth from socially vulnerable backgrounds in sport contexts. In this paper, we present the process of co-constructing a prototype pedagogical model for working with youth from socially vulnerable backgrounds. Our intent was to create empowering possibilities by assisting youth in learning to name, critique, and negotiate barriers to their engagement in sport. It involved the boys, coaches, and researchers imagining alternative possibilities to the barriers identified, and we worked collaboratively to create realistic opportunities for the youth to begin to negotiate some of the barriers they identified.

I have been presenting results from my doctoral research at international conferences since 2014. I attended the American Educational Research Association (AERA) Annual Meetings to present papers in 2015 and 2016, and learned about the prize from seeing other researchers receive it. Our article was published in Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy in July 2016, and we then submitted the paper for consideration for the prize. A panel of the AERA Special Interest Group in physical education chose the paper after considering all submissions.

In my research and writing process I had two challenges: writing in a second language, and having three advisors from different countries. Supervised by Dr. Luiz Dantas (University of Sao Paulo, Brazil), I started my PhD in 2011 at the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil with a question: How can a sport program create spaces to help youth from socially vulnerable backgrounds to see other opportunities in their lives? I was looking for innovative practices that could better address youth from socially vulnerable backgrounds.

Due the lack of innovative practices in Brazil I started my journey outside of my country. In 2012, Dr. David Kirk accepted me and my beginner English skills to spend six months at the University of Bedfordshire, UK. David, other scholars, and his students’ expertise in pedagogical models helped me to understand the theoretical background that I needed to develop my line of inquiry. David introduced me to Dr. Kimberly Oliver from New Mexico State University, US and she accepted the challenge to help me. Kim’s expertise in activist research and in co-create curriculum possibilities was the component that I was missing in trying to answer my question. Kim was able to take the theory and make it concrete in pedagogical practice. I had to learn English in order for Kim and David to help me in my PhD, and consequently my line of research.

Kim and David were really patient and caring with my mistakes in English. Early errors that were corrected: a journey of patience and care. That was an amazing experience that allowed me to expand my possibilities as a novice researcher writing in my second language. In addition to this, I was able to work with scholars from three different countries: Brazil (my country), United States, and United Kingdom. I worked with scholars with different cultures and different points of view in relation to my line of research. I had to negotiate different points of view and that was a wonderful experience.

If I could give some advice to other applicants, especially non-English speakers, it would be to:

a) Always ask for help – I was always asking for help and thus my line of inquiry was developed in collaboration with other scholars.

b) Take a shot – I was willing to displace myself in order to have the knowledge that I needed to develop my line of inquiry.


Carla Luguetti holds a Master’s degree in Sport Studies and a PhD in Pedagogy of Human Movement from School of Physical Education and Sport/University of Sao Paulo. In her Phd, she participated as a visiting researcher (“Doutorado Sanduiche – CAPES”) for 6 months at University of Bedfordshire, UK, under the supervision of Professor David Kirk (currently at University of Strathclyde). During the development of her PhD, Carla Luguetti also had the co-supervision of Professor Kimberly Oliver (New Mexico State University, US) who developed a way of working with youth called Student-Centered Inquiry as Curriculum. Carla completed a post-doctoral year (August 2015- July 2016) in the Department of Kinesiology and Dance at New Mexico State University. Nowadays, she is a Lecturer in Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy at University of Santa Cecília and Ribeirão Preto University.

Read the winning article: ‘The life of crime does not pay; stop and think!’: the process of co-constructing a prototype pedagogical model of sport for working with youth from socially vulnerable backgrounds

Find out more about the journal Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy.