/nl/file/epale-sports-adult-learningEPALE Sports Adult Learning
EPALE Thematic Coordinator David Mallows looks back at some of the content published on EPALE in August on the topic of sports in adult learning.
During the month of August 2018, EPALE focused on the role of sport in adult education. EPALE already hosts case studies, blogsblog posts, and resources which highlight the educational benefits for adult learners of sporting activities. Below I introduce three new contributions to the EPALE conversation on sport and adult learning: a review of learning from sports -related Erasmus + projects; a report on a football tournament for asylum seekers in Poland; and reflection from a former athlete and current neuroscientist and adult educator, on sports people’s lifelong learning.
Learning sports, and learning through sport, have also been explored in a number of Erasmus + projects in recent years. EPALE Thematic Coordinator, Andrew McCoshan, distills distilled what these have taught us about sport and learning. Sport is an effective context for the development of a wide range of soft and hard skills, but also provides a focus for the consideration of personal health, social and civic values and attitudes. Andrew also presents presented sport as a subversive learning tool – by engaging in sports activities we learn more than just the sport itself. The motivational power of sports can be used by educators to give access to education to non-traditional, or hard-to-reach learners.
In The power of football: local intervention for refugees Krzysztof Jarymowicz shared a powerful story of the use of football to support the social inclusion of young asylum seekers in Poland. Krzysztof calls football a common language, one shared with, and among, the young people he met in asylum camps near Warsaw. In 2005 they started a football tournament for the camp residents; in 2010 this became the project Etnoliga, which was shortlisted for the Beyond Sport Global Awards. Krzysztof told the history of the project and the challenges they faced and the benefits that it has given.
We also heard from Susanne Wolmesjö a Swedish neuroscientist, adult educator and former athlete who discussed the place of lifelong learning in sport. In Susanne’s interview, instead of sports as a vehicle for lifelong learning, we are asked to consider the lifelong learning of sports people. She suggested that sportspeople are able to improve their understanding of their sport and the skills necessary to be successful, even as their physical abilities decline with age. In her argument there are some familiar messages: the role of motivation in adult learning, the need for adults to keep developing, to keep learning new things in order to manage the demands placed on them (by their sport, their job, their family, their community...).
In a previous blog post on EPALE, Richard Bailey, of the International Council of Sport Science and Physical Education, gave us 9 research findings that show why education needs sport. The projects presented in the August blog posts provide further evidence for the positive benefits that can be gained by combining education and sport: improved mental and physical wellbeing, social inclusion, performance, and motivation are all highlighted.
David Mallows has 30 years of experience in adult education as a teacher, teacher trainer, manager and researcher. He was previously Director of Research at the National Research and Development Centre for adult literacy and numeracy (NRDC) at the UCL Institute of Education, London and currently represents the European Basic Skills Network in EPALE as thematic coordinator for Life Skills.