Every annual sports day event in schools tends to appeal to only a select few – young and competitive student athletes. The rest of their peers spend the day at the stadium as spectators and/or cheerleaders. What are some ways we can do to alleviate this and promote an inclusive culture of sports day that gives each and every student the opportunity to participate actively in physical activities?
A team of teachers at Ahmad Ibrahim Secondary School came up with three ways to make this annual sporting event in schools fun, engaging and educative for all their students, athletic or not.
1. Introduce a Variety of Activities
Place your focus away from just the traditional 200-metre or 4×100-metre race and provide students with a range of other activities to choose from. AISS introduced the concept of game stations at their annual sporting event where various simple outdoor activities such as cup-stacking are available for students to participate in. The availability of other water activities such as dragon boating or kayaking can also appeal to students who do not see the appeal of competitive runs.
The variety of activities gives them the chance to try out a new sport while at the same time allowing them to enjoy a physical activity of their choice. The ultimate aim should be to get every student, and not just the competitive ones, involved in outdoor activities. The usual racing events can still be open for the more competitive student athletes who want to challenge themselves physically.
2. Divide and Conquer
Ensure deeper student engagement during the activities by splitting them into smaller groups. You can divide the class into teams of 10 students to ensure everyone has a chance to participate. Activities that encourage the team to work together to overcome a challenge or complete a task are highly encouraged as it fosters teamwork and cooperation. You can also involve most of the class in water activities by allocating roughly 20 and 6 students in the dragon boat racing and kayak racing events respectively – do ask them which they prefer! Remember: The goal is to encourage them to participate in physical activities.
3. Assign Responsibility to Students
With great power comes great responsibility. Empower your students by letting them take over logistical organization for the event! This will naturally lead them to feel a sense of responsibility towards the logistics involved in the event, which includes planning for transportation to the event venue (via the public transport), meals (bringing their own food and drink), and safekeeping of personal belongings (helping each other to watch their own bags). This will allow you to focus on making the sports activities more enjoyable for them instead of worrying about the logistical aspects of the event. Most importantly, students can learn how to be more responsible and independent – a win-win situation for everyone!