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Speaking about culturally relevant physical activity

October 24, 2013 — 
Joannie Halas

Joannie Halas

Joannie Halas, associate dean in the Faculty of Kinesiology and Recreation Management, is being honoured on Oct. 24 by presenting the Physical & Health Education Canada (PHE Canada) R. Tait McKenzie Scholar’s Address.

The R. Tait McKenzie scholar’s address was first presented at the PHE Canada Conference in Montreal in 1955. It was presented in memory of world-renowned physical educator, physician, and sculptor, Dr. Robert Tait McKenzie. The address has since become a tradition at all conferences. Through these addresses, PHE Canada keeps alive the philosophy and ideas of this inspirational leader.

Halas’s integrated teaching, research and community service focuses on issues of access to quality and culturally relevant physical education programs, particularly for Aboriginal and inner-city youth from diverse backgrounds.

A lifetime physical educator, Halas graduated with a BPE and Teacher’s Certificate from the University of Manitoba in 1983 and since joining the University of Manitoba in 1999, Halas’s community-based research and scholarship has focused on two objectives: to better prepare undergraduate physical education students to work with diverse youth populations in ways that affirm their cultural identities; and to create recruitment and retention strategies for Aboriginal and other youth who are disenfranchised.

A major outcome of her research has been the establishment of the Rec and Read Mentor Programs, where university students work with Aboriginal and inner-city youth to develop and deliver an after-school physical activity, nutrition and education program for children.

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