DISPLAYING ITEMS BY TAG: PSHE

Andy Mouncey uses his experience as a professional sports coach and father of two young boys to explore the relationship between sport, endurance and how this impacts us as we grow older.

Children, young people and endurance – yeah, that ole chestnut: How young and how far is enough? How to judge it? What’s the evidence? And what are the implications for later life?

This is not a review of the pile of scientific literature out there, not least because I suspect plenty of people have been there, done that. This is an evidence-based piece though, it’s just that the evidence in question is my experience as a parent to two small boys and as a professional coach who has worked with children and young people for the last 25 years.

The Human Values Foundation explores how values literacy is such a rewarding curriculum ingredient.

As teachers in England continue to plan for the implementation of their new, inspiring and expansive curricula to take effect from September 2014, now could be an appropriate time to consider a curriculum ingredient found to have widespread, rewarding impacts on children, young people, teachers and other adults making up school communities, along with parents and carers.

A school’s curriculum is designed to meet the various needs of its pupils and, through different, tailored, appropriate, formal learning pathways and informal opportunities, empower them to reach their full potential and prepare them for life. It is recognised that modern curricula need to be more open and flexible than in the past. The challenge is to craft them so as to raise aspirations, deliver tangible improvements in teaching and learning, and lay the foundations to enable learners to successfully manage whatever the future may bring and its dynamic effects on all aspects of their daily living.

The visions of our highest-achieving schools today are not only concerned with academic attainment but also promoting an integrated, whole-person approach to their pupils’ development, particularly in emotional and social skills.

Going to school is a journey of discovery about oneself, other people and the world we inhabit. As children mature, they take more and more responsibility for reaching their potential. To help them progress, they need:

  • Vision - clear pictures in their minds of what they want to achieve

Education is an investment in children and our collective future. The more informed and joined up our approach to this vital aspect of a child’s development, the more likely the emotional, social, financial, spiritual and physical investments will benefit the individuals, their families, society, communities, nations – indeed the world.

There is a growing emphasis and focus on ensuring that young children are 'school ready' and those progressing from their primary school are 'secondary ready'. When a young person’s compulsory education draws to a close, he or she needs to feel ready to go out into the world.

At this stage, young people are faced with decisions that will significantly impact the rest of their lives, including whether to continue with tertiary education or venture into the workplace.

We are living in an increasingly enlightened time when the understanding of the roles of teachers, parents and the power of 'values literacy', as an integral part of a school’s curriculum, are coalescing. The prospects are exciting.

Children and young people need to be empowered with values literacy. The inspirational process engenders a rewarding sense of purpose and motivates participants so that they take more responsibility for their learning and behaviour.

Pupils, teachers and parents notice how standards, behaviour and performance all improve and together they enjoy the enhanced outcomes.

What can help children and young people develop consistency in their thinking, decision-making and behaviour, especially when they consider and then try to put into practice the range of important topics that are raised during Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education, Citizenship lessons and in connection with their Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural (SMSC) development?

A simple answer – simultaneously learning to understand and apply VALUES in everyday life, because these are principles that establish standards, act as reference points and empower.

What does this mean for individuals?

It means coaching children and young people, as an integral part of the school curriculum, so that, in conjunction with their parents and carers at home, they are constantly learning to identify values that are important to:

  • themselves – as individuals, who are capable of spiritual, moral, social, intellectual and physical growth and development
  • their relationships – as fundamental to the development and fulfilment of happy and healthy lives and to the good of the community
  • our society – which is shaped by the contributions of a diverse range of people, cultures and heritages, and
  • our environment – as the basis of life and a source of wonder and inspiration that needs to be protected

Is there a key to enhancing pupils’ development, elevating their performance and engaging parents and carers in their children’s education? Yes – and it’s superb for promoting best practices and integrating and cementing PSHE education, Citizenship, SEAL and pupils’ SMSC development.

The education of a child is a shared responsibility and effective partnerships - between key adults in children’s home environments (whatever their roles) and members of staff in school environments (whatever their roles) – are invaluable for all concerned. Informed, active collaboration can make a world of difference to children’s successful development.

Teachers have one of the most important roles in society today because of the profound and lasting effects their work has, individually and collectively, on influencing and shaping the lives of young citizens in the making.

Along with parents and carers, teachers are significant role models for children and young people. When youngsters look around and out into the world beyond their school gates, they cannot help but become aware of scandals rocking the fabric of society - to the extent that they wonder what they are eating. High-profile cases make clear how the lives and relationships of some people have disintegrated because they have been tarnished by behaviour based upon undesirable values. For example:

It is said that money can’t buy happiness but we know that one’s state of happiness affects one’s performance – be it as an adult or a child – and that before long, for more teachers, there is likely to be a stronger link between their pay and performance.

The education landscape is in a state of flux and increasingly there is a move towards listening to young people’s views. But who are the stakeholders – children, their parents and carers, teachers and others involved in the development of young people, future employers? Pupils may well find they are being encouraged to take more ownership of their learning. Teachers are asking themselves whether they need to teach differently and if so, how, in order to best meet the needs of their various students.

Socrates said, “Education is not the filling of a vessel but the kindling of a flame.” What a pleasure it is watching that flame glow, especially if you have been instrumental in fanning the spark by helping the child or young person to be happy and well motivated.

Experience shows that when teaching is actively underpinned with positive, uplifting values, children become enthused and engaged, resulting in profound improvements in their wellbeing and an extensive range of exhilarating rewards for the individuals, with the benefits rubbing off on their families, schools and communities.

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