“To succeed is to have failed” – learning from failures
Inclusive Sports Education – How it Helps Build Values in Children
Historically, the role of education has been changing to adapt to the evolving needs of the society. From agrarian to industrial to knowledge economies, the world has gone through several transformations in the way we think, live, communicate and aspire.
Today, in the 21st century there is an increasing demand for education to be holistic.In India particularly, this expectation is being felt acutely in recent times. Parents especially are beginning to realize that mere bookish knowledge is not sufficient to prepare children to face life’s challenges. They insist on all rounded education, which equips their children with essential values and life-skills.
Sports is widely believed to have the power to help instill values and build character. Playing sports presents opportunities, situations and experiences for children to develop many key values that are important for life. Values like:
Sports can teach children discipline while they are involved in an activity that they enjoy. To learn the skills and get better at what they do, they need to invest time and energy and set aside a certain number of hours to practice.
Team sports requires children to engage in valuable and positive relationships with peers, coaches, trainers etc. This teaches them importance of trust, which is fundamental for the success of any team.
Sports helps children understand that each one has a role to play in the field and they have to accomplish it. They are taught to accept both success and failure with equal dignity. They realise what it means to have others depend on you and your performance. As individuals, and as a team, they learn the meaning of responsibility.
Inclusive Sports brings together children with diverse capabilities and backgrounds. When children play as a group or as a team they learn to play in harmony – without their individual preferences coming in the way. They also learn to cooperate with each other and accept different points of view.
With growing pressure on competing and winning, it is quite likely that children sometimes succumb to taking certain decisions that lack honesty and integrity. Sports is a powerful way to teach children that winning is not the only objective, and that playing with a spirit of sportsmanship brings more positive outcomes.
While sports helps instil many of these values, there are two critical factors that contribute to this. One is active, regular participation by children and the other is the guidance of a trained coach, who helps translate the action on the field into valuable life lessons.
According to research conducted by Rutenet.al,(2) coaches who maintain good relationships with their athletes reduce antisocial behaviour. The research also indicates that exposure to relatively high levels of socio-moral reasoning, in the context of sporting activities, promotes pro-social behaviour.
Through schools, we need to ensure that the benefits of sports reaches more children. The key is to create better engagement between them andgeneratemore opportunities to impart these values. It is also important to sustain this environmentto nurture and reiterate these key values.
Value education through sports, can indeed prove to be a wonderful boost to our nation building efforts. We can now add sports to the progressive educator’s toolkit of avenues available to nurture the kind of citizens and leaders our nation will need in the future.