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The Straits Times

Sports In Singapore Schools: Increase Variety, Flexibility, Enjoyment

Currently, sport in schools usually revolves around a fixed curriculum of track and field activities such as javelin, and contact sport such as basketball” (Bring Sport To The Young, Mr. Andy Tay).

An active lifestyle starts from young; quite naturally, schools bear heavy responsibilities in terms of proactively piquing students’ interests in sports and physical activities, as well as to render these commitments sustainable. The opinion piece – “Bring Sport To The Young” (July 30, 2011) by Mr. Andy Tay – makes the excellent observation that the status quo is structurally rigid, and pedantic in its execution. As aspirations for Singapore’s fledging sporting scene speedily takes shape, the corresponding stakeholders should – at the school-level – review existing Physical Education (PE) programmes, and introduce pedagogical improvements to increase variety, flexibility and enjoyment levels.

Equally important is the need to expose students to a greater variety of sports throughout the year.

More often that not, the individual PE departments in schools would be more than happy to adhere to relatively well-established or prescribed syllabuses and curricula in the conduct of their lessons. The constant fixation upon key performance indicators (KPI) – graded by the statistics from the National Physical Fitness Award (NAPFA) and Trim And Fit (TAF) assessments – also drives educators to focus disproportionately upon athletic or monotonous running regimes. Equally important is the need to expose students to a greater variety of sports throughout the year – including contact sports, racket games, strength circuits et cetera – so that they can personally identify their interests, and ideally continue with them in the long-term independently.

It is impossible for any single sporting event to please every participating student; however, this should not be used as a convenient excuse for administrators to rotate PE lessons between that few sports. At the beginning of each year, classes can be put through a “foundation phase” to build up basic cardiovascular fitness; thereafter, modules can be offered to let students experience a little of everything, or for them to concentrate on a sport that they particularly enjoy. These arrangements might raise the demands for manpower and resources, but substantial economies of scale can be reaped if institutions within a common cluster can come together to coordinate respective sessions.

Even if schools and families – at the moment – do not recognise the feasibility of their students and children pursuing a sporting career, sports should not be myopically perceived as a mere conduit for the promotion of a healthy lifestyle per se. If managed intelligently by the educators, sports can be sources for recreation and enjoyment, and for the imparting of assorted life lessons; in teamwork, resilience and conscientiousness.

The time has come for PE and sports to assume more important positions in the grand scheme of education; because if they are taken more seriously, the holistic advantages would be especially beneficial and significant in time to come.

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About guanyinmiao

A man of knowledge lives by acting, not by thinking about acting. Carlos Castaneda.

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