Moulding better learners through sports

Published on 22 Jun 2016
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Having a carefully crafted curriculum ensures that learning is a balanced experience, with sports being a key to imbibing important values such as teamwork and perseverance to pursue life goals

In this day and age, students have to face immense pressures to perform well at school. One solution to this problem is to expose children to sports from a young age. Not only does it serve as an outlet for their stress, sports can also teach important life values like collaboration, confidence and graciousness.

"Such is the approach to sports and education adopted at GIIS campuses around the world. Through incorporating an active lifestyle as part of daily academic lessons, GIIS students get to experience the best of both worlds by building up a healthy body and mind,” says Ms Melissa Maria, Principal of GIIS East Coast Campus. “I strongly believe that active participation in school sports can help students by boosting their concentration and confidence. This is beneficial in the long run as both qualities matter when it comes to attaining better scores at every stage of the learning journey," she adds.

Take for instance the recent interschool T20 Cricket Tournament, which saw participation from schools in Malaysia, Singapore and India, and saw GIIS East Coast Campus win the Best All-Rounder Award. The achievement was all the sweeter since the tournament was held in the month of March when the students were undergoing immense pre-examination stress.

"Apart from demonstrating their spirit of perseverance throughout the exam preparation period, the winners of the T20 cricket tournament made good use of powerful goal-setting exercises from sports training to mentally prepare themselves," shares Ms Maria. Mr Manpreet Singh Chauhan, PE teacher from GIIS Queenstown Campus says, "I have personally seen students benefit from this dualistic approach. Students learn more than team building through sports. Skills, like problem solving, innovation, and fair play is what sports is all about."

SportsImproving cognition & physical abilities

At GIIS, programmes about sports and personal learning are strongly grounded in one of the nine facets of the proprietary education framework espoused by GIIS, otherwise known as the Nine Gems Model™.

Recognised internationally as one of the best practices for providing holistic education, the Nine Gems Model™ has won several awards, including the prestigious Golden Peacock Award for Innovative Product/Service in 2014. Among other areas of personal development, the model also serves as a catalyst for promoting Sports, Health and Fitness Excellence among all GIIS students. Furthermore, the Model is specially tailored to teach age-appropriate skills and competencies as a student progresses through different levels of learning.

In the initial years of growth in a student, the Model focuses on developing basic study skills and universal values, such as ethics, discipline, creativity and personality development. During secondary and high school years, this focus shifts to academic achievement, leadership, and other important skills for career advancement.

Each of these learning themes is strongly incorporated throughout all classes at GIIS, such that students can even imbibe them during PE lessons.

“At the start of every year, the PE department takes cue from structured suggestions on how we can help students better utilise what they have learnt in the classroom. After which, we come up with innovative ways to reinforce lesson material through sports,” explains PE teacher Mr Manoj Nair from GIIS Balestier Campus.

For instance, PE teachers across all campuses help younger pupils hone their computational abilities by getting them to count the number of cones or balls present, prior to the start of the main activity. English lessons are also reinforced by giving students commands such as “jump”, “stop” or “walk”, and having them respond with the corresponding physical actions.

Meanwhile, at the GIIS Tokyo Campus, students are taught essential life skills through participating in a broad range of sports competitions. These include the Inter-GIIS Chess tournament at Surat and an international futsal contest that involved school teams from Korea, China, Brazil, England, and India.

“Apart from achieving the aims set out in the Nine Gems Model, we hope to improve students’ motor skills, self-esteem, and team spirit by letting them collaborate during sports competitions,” says Ms Yasmeen Jahir, a sports coordinator at GIIS Tokyo Campus.

This method of teaching has earned GIIS several awards, including a third place finish for the Surat chess tournament and a 2-1 victory over the Brazilian futsal team. However, what truly matters here is the fact that stress-relieving sports represent an alternative, yet effective avenue for personal development.

SportsGrooming well-rounded students

By focusing on athletics as part of its holistic curriculum, GIIS has successfully nurtured a generation of well-rounded learners who are skilled in both sports and academics. From the GIIS Balestier Campus in Singapore to the school grounds of Surat, GIIS students are exposed to a PE curriculum that complements and supplements classroom skills.

“Our PE curriculum is a well-structured pyramid model. At the base level are skills like agility and stamina. At the higher levels, students hone their performance in a chosen sport,” Mr GSS Rao, Director (Operations) – Singapore, GIIS, says.

“All of this is made possible through the Gold Squad programme, which helps students develop their gut instincts and mental stamina through five sports: Tennis, Cricket, Soccer, Basketball and Badminton,” he adds.

Furthermore, as part of the GIIS PE curriculum, chosen students stand to receive professional coaching from expert trainers. At the Chandu Borde Global Cricket Academy that was launched in December 2012, young GIIS Surat Campus cricketers are personally mentored by Mr Chandrakant Borde, former captain of the Indian National Cricket team.

In the same vein, GIIS Surat Campus students in the National Cadet Corps (NCC) are trained by experienced personnel. Last December, a group of NCC cadets was taught to use a .177 spring action rifle by two professional firearm instructors, Mr Anant Dave and Mr Alpesh Dabhekar, as part of a camp that was overseen by a Lieutenant Colonel rank officer.

Outside of focal sports, GIIS students are also encouraged to exercise their physical and mental muscles through other developmental activities. Some examples include the annual Inter-GIIS chess competition held at the Surat campus, and the Balestier campus’ ‘Leader in Me’ programme, which sees students stepping out of their comfort zone in a three-day, two-night adventure camp.

“However, by incorporating sports as well as other co-curricular activities into the system, it becomes possible to construct an environment that teaches personal skills and more. Other than cultivating a never-give-up attitude, such initiatives will definitely aid our students in their academics by giving them the focus and self-confidence needed for success,” she adds.

Outside of focal sports, GIIS students are also encouraged to exercise their physical and mental muscles through other developmental activities. Some examples include the annual Inter-GIIS chess competition held at the Surat campus, and the Balestier campus’ ‘Leader in Me’ programme, which sees students stepping out of their comfort zone in a three-day, two-night adventure camp.

“Learning at school is incomplete without a platform to pick up important life skills,” says Ms Madhu Khanna, Principal of GIIS Queenstown Campus.

“However, by incorporating sports as well as other co-curricular activities into the system, it becomes possible to construct an environment that teaches personal skills and more. Other than cultivating a never-give-up attitude, such initiatives will definitely aid our students in their academics by giving them the focus and self-confidence needed for success,” she adds.

Let’s gallop and hit the bull’s eye!

Sports excellence is an important area of growth. GIIS Whitefield Campus has sprawling grounds that allow for large play areas for individual sports. Specialised weekly classes of horse riding, and archery have been introduced due to popular demand and in collaboration with Enliven Sports Academy. Commander Amit Maini (Retd Naval Officer) facilitates the sports and help the riders, and archers pursue their passion. GIIS Whitefield Campus provides an opportunity to its students to unleash their energies in sports that are aimed towards a complete development of mind, soul and body.

Horse riding

Horse riding allows horse lovers to experience the thrill of riding and learning the elite Equestrian sport at an affordable price.

Riding lessons begin at elementary level of getting in the saddle, riding posture, and learning about horses, to mastering and improving riding styles.

Archery

One of the oldest sports in the world is archery. Historically, archery has been used for hunting and combat. In modern times, it is mainly a competitive sport and recreational activity. Concentration, aim, accuracy and speed are areas that are honed by the sport.

Archery is a sport that is fun, but also allows participants of any age or skill level to compete against others or challenge themselves individually.

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