In the 21st century, and at Newland College, we aim to encourage students to achieve their individual potential, not to win and be compared with others, but to fulfil their intrinsic sporting goals. We do this by focusing on the individual personal growth of the student, their development of sporting skills and knowledge and how they grow over the course of an academic year. Achieving this developmental progress is primarily measured by fitness assessment, and students are actively involved in this – making them accountable and engaged in their learning of sport.
All sport classes encompass students with a wide variety of sporting abilities, experiences and preferences. As such, at times it can be challenging to cater to such diverse needs and make sport engaging.
As teachers it is our role and responsibility to meet this pedagogic challenge and make sport accessible, stimulating and fun. An example of this is our undertaking of a 6-week unit on the international sport of Ultimate Frisbee, a rapidly expanding sport. Ultimate Frisbee allows students to be on a ‘level playing field’ in terms of sporting capabilities. It has specific rules such as no physical contact and no referees in the game. These constraints allow for creativity and collaboration, as players are to create the rules of the game. Another example of this is Volleyball. The sport shares some rules with Ultimate Frisbee, as it is a team sport that involves no physical contact. To succeed in Volleyball, students must actively communicate and cooperate with each other and are thereby fostering comradeship and developing good sportsmanship. We greatly celebrate this aspect of sport.
This spring term we are covering badminton, swimming and rock climbing. These sports develop students’ ability to adapt and respond to changing environments, challenges and situations.
In all of these sports, it is vital that students understand that it’s not about winning. It is not about comparison. It is focused on the individual growth of each student and developing more than their sporting skills.
This article originally appeared in Families Chiltern Online.