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TRANSNATIONAL CONFERENCE “EURO HOOP for all” 2015

REPORT OF THE WORKSHOP “SPORT & SCHOOL”

“The role & responsibility of the school system toward the development of sport for all”

Valet Alexy, September 08th 2015

1. Description of the learning objectives

School is both mirror and forge regarding our society. This dual educational directive – to prepare pupils to live in the existing society (pragmatic function) and to train them to build the future (idealistic-humanist function) – must be a balanced imperative. Remembering what it means to be human in an ever more technologically driven world is what provides the appropriate equilibrium.

When it comes to sport, as important sphere of society, it is necessary to consider the educational responsibility of school beyond the academic. Physical education and optional sport activities offered within the school context are essential. And here we find the nexus of the two functions evoked above, pragmatic and idealistic: to prepare pupils within the existing sport system and to help them build a more human sport culture. According to the recent Quality Physical Education (QPE) – Guidelines for Policy-Makers (UNESCO, 2015), we require a “platform of inclusion in wider society.”

It is therefore necessary to note a fundamental difference between many sport clubs and the schools in their respective relationships to the social phenomenon of sport. The primary objective of these clubs towards young people is to make them “good athletes”, i.e. effective in their performance (sport is the end), while the primary objective of the schools is to make them “good citizens”, i.e., socially responsible (sport is the means), as already suggested by the International Charter of Physical Education and Sport (UNESCO, 1978).

There is another key difference that can be deduced from the first one: while clubs are targeted only to those who have chosen to practice sports (often with good predisposition to sport), schools are targeted necessarily to the entire youth population (with or without predisposition to sport). This last point epitomizes the issue of “human diversity” (people with heterogeneous physical and mental abilities) and the challenge of inclusion.

We want to analyze the situation at high school and at the university level and offer possible solutions for implementing the role of sport in school, both for the non-disabled, as well as for the disabled population, not only for better social integration, but also for better education and total health.

 

2. Key advises

A/ CONSIDERATIONS ON A MACRO LEVEL OF ANALYSIS

First of all, let’s remind that sport can contribute to the development of a more human-centred society – which is one of the main purposes of education – but this turns feasible only if there is the will to greatly strengthen the public policies which pursue explicitly this specific purpose. The development of sport system doesn’t produce magic educational effects by itself.

The public policies that have to be strengthened are related to both sport system and education system. Of course, the interconnections between both systems are potentially interesting, but it is necessary to be careful while designing these institutional links, in name of the fundamental principle of autonomy of education system1. Indeed, the great mission of the school which consists in teaching physical education to all the students (independently of their abilities) needs a full pedagogical autonomy, without having to ask sport institutions to enter into the schools and to do teacher’s job2.

There are 3 main influences that public policies can receive in this general field: the technical culture of sport, the medical culture of health, the ethical culture of education. Each one is governed by a different ideal: making efficient athletes (technical culture), making healthy people (medical culture), making responsible citizens (ethical culture). So public policies have to define priorities – with strategies to implement them – and to invest proportionally resources in each one. For sure, if the purpose is building a more human-centred sport culture, it is necessary to invest in the development of an educational culture of physical activities and sports (and not only a technical or a medical one). And school is the first area where this investment should be made, because of its important role and responsibility towards the whole youth. That’s why this priority and correlative investment in improving the ethical and educational culture of “sport” (in a very large and open meaning) should be realized at different levels of school system:

  • in primary schools and high schools,

increasing quantity of physical education (from 3 hours to 8 hours per week)

increasing quality of physical education (with specialized and qualified teachers)3

  • in universities,

reducing the dependency of sport faculties from sport institutions and from medical institutions

strengthening pedagogy, ethics and humanities in the study’s curricula (through possible institutional partnerships between sport faculties and education faculties if necessary)

giving to Universities (especially sport faculties) the special role of developing educational culture in vocational training and life-long learning programmes for teachers and all sport professionals

Nb: Indeed, this objective to improve the educational training’s quality of teachers of physical education should be also pursued towards all sport professionals, in order to avoid a classic schizophrenic situation: children learn at school an educational culture of sport and they discover another reality when they leave school’s world.4

B/ CONSIDERATIONS ON A MICRO LEVEL OF ANALYSIS

Now, if we enter into the school and we think to the teaching skills, physical education teachers have to focus on a specific and central question: how to make really educative the “sport” experience? And this question can be formulated at three articulated levels:

1) purpose: why? (why should I propose physical activities to students?)

2) content: what? (what kind of physical activities should I propose to students?)

3) method: how? (how should I do to propose physical activities to students?)

Nb: These 3 basic questions could be the same for all sport professionals who want to interrogate the educational dimension of their vocation.

1) PURPOSE: CULTURE and POLITICS

  • To prepare good citizens (not only good athletes), by teaching the values of sport (not only the sports techniques) and by helping to be aware of everyone’s power to contribute to shape the global sport experience
  • To explore the rich panorama of physical activities (not only sports), by promoting a large multi-disciplinary culture of sport (and not limited to a few popular sports)
  • To build a body’s culture open to human diversity (and not centred to a unique norm), by recognizing the multiplicity of “excellence” and the universality of vulnerability

2) CONTENT: ACTIVITIES and DIDACTICS

  • Beyond the usual proposals of popular games or popular sports, it is also important to help students to discover new activities, even the most innovative, especially if they are accessible or designed for all abilities (the example of Baskin is paradigmatic).
  • After having chosen the activities, it is still necessary to lead a didactic engineering process, by deconstructing the technical architecture of each activity in order to design creatively a multiplicity of exercises and tasks adjusted to the educational purposes defined (every time in connexion with specific objectives, that can be physical, psychological, emotional or social) and adapted to the capacities of the class-group and all its members.

3) METHODOLOGY: EXPERIENCE and PEDAGOGY

a) Teaching process (teachers skills)

  • To pay attention to the pedagogical mediation’s quality, which remains the highest educational challenge, centred on the subjectivity of students experience

by accepting the determining importance of teacher’s role as mediator between the subjects (the students that practise) and the objects (the sports that are practised)

by focusing on what separates – within the students experience – the objective level of “doing” (physical activities) and the subjective level of “being” (a responsible citizen), trying to reduce the distance between both levels

  • To use for that various teaching styles

from reproductive styles (to teach to imitate what has to be done as the correct model of movement) defined by the norms of technical culture

to productive styles (to teach to understand, cooperate, invent, create and decide what has to be done, how and why) defined by the norms of educational culture

  • To use an interdisciplinary approach, where ICT can have an interesting role

promoting cooperative methodology between teachers and educators

designing interdisciplinary projects, where physical education has a catalytic role

conceiving technology as “pharmakon” (like sport) because it can favour both sedentary lifestyle and active lifestyle according to how it is used

b) Learning process (students skills)

  • critical capacity and sensitivity:
    → understanding sport as pharmakon,
    → distinguishing various body’s cultures
    → reflecting on the links between sport & society
  • ethical capacity and sensitivity
    → developing introspective skills
    → strengthening democratic emotions
    → appropriating sense of fair-play (justice, respect, cooperation, …)
  • practical capacity and sensitivity
    → learning basic and complex motor skills

→ developing the adapting capacity to different practical situations

→ favouring creativity

→ strengthening decision making skills

1See note 4

2When school has to teach economy, religion and literature, the firms, the churches and the editors are not asked to enter into school and to do teachers job. When school has to teach wars matters, chemical matters and music matters, the army, the chemical industry and the music producers are not asked to enter into school and to do teachers job.

3Let’s note that different proposals have been proposed to fund these strategies (especially the specialized teacher in physical education in the primary school), for example the taxation of sports gambling.

4That’s why actually institutional connexions between education system and sport system can be conceived, but only through a reciprocal influence (keeping supremacy to the educational ethics). So sport instructors (and sport federations) could pretend cooperate with physical education teachers at school, but only if they would have received a strong educational training before (within education system).

 

 

 

 

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