Go for gold: new resources from the Paralympic Education Program
The Paralympic Education Program (PEP) is a resource aimed at helping educators to develop awareness of the Paralympic Games, Paralympic sports, and Australian Paralympians. It also covers broader issues concerning people with disabilities, diversity and inclusiveness. The PEP is an initiative of the Australian Paralympic Committee, flowing from the highly successful National Education Program attached to the Sydney Olympic and Paralympic Games. An ongoing project, it has recently been updated with new material.
The PEP is free to schools and provides a wealth of stimulating and engaging teaching and learning resources, delivered via a website that is both high-tech (embracing Web 2.0 functionality) and easy to use. It includes sections for teachers, students and parents. It provides insights into all aspects of the Paralympic Games including:
The Paralympics theme readily links to a range of key learning areas, and PEP provides teachers with a bank of activities that have been carefully designed to address curriculum requirements.
Teachers may already be aware of the eight primary activities provided through the PEP for years 5 and 6. These integrated lesson plans are built around topics including Diversity and Inclusion, Paralympic Games over Time, Paralympic Sports and Paralympian Athletes, and cover English, mathematics, studies of society and the environment, creative arts, music, and personal development, health and physical education.
Now, six new activities provide an equally rich resource for years 7 and 8.
The activities are listed below, together with an indication of key ideas and learning areas covered. The cross-curriculum richness of the PEP resources makes them suitable for both integrated and more subject-specific approaches.
Activity 1: Personal abilities
Activity 2: Personal qualities
Activity 3: Paralympic athlete data over time
Activity 4: Past Paralympic Games and host cities
Activity 5: The importance of sport for All
Activity 6: Playing Paralympic sport
As with the primary materials, the six secondary activities are available as PDFs in the Teachers section of the site and teachers need only register to access them. Each activity has a supporting document that highlights specific curriculum outcomes for each state and territory.
Extensive and varied resource materials are provided throughout to stimulate and support student inquiry, from student handouts to text, data, images and video on the PEP website. For example, the personal stories of Australian Paralympians are interwoven powerfully through several activities and can be accessed in multiple formats, from videos of interviews and the athletes in action to printable one-page profiles that provide a photo, a concise biography in engaging, accessible language and a clearly presented table of statistics.
There is comprehensive, practical support for lesson planning, with each activity providing:
The richness and practicality of the activities, together with the detailed curriculum mapping, ensure that PEP meets teachers’ needs while allowing a great deal of flexibility. For example, teachers may draw on activities for individual lessons or groups of lessons. Alternatively, all activities could be used for more extended cross-curricular programs involving teams of teachers and larger groups of students.
In any approach chosen, the PEP activities link naturally to values education.
Teachers wishing to adapt and/or extend the secondary activities to suit their students’ needs and interests could also use additional resources that are easily accessible via the PEP website. These include, for example, a wealth of data in the ‘Fast Facts’ section; a ‘News and Events’ link that leads directly to a bank of media articles about current Paralympic news; links to the Australian Paralympic Committee’s ausparateam channel on You Tube; a PEP e-newsletter; and opportunities to have a Paralympian visit through the ‘PEP Talk’ program. While the activities are the centrepiece of the secondary teachers section and link directly to many parts of the PEP website, the teaching and learning resources offered by the Paralympic Education Program include much more as well.
The Australian Paralympic Committee is actively seeking feedback from teachers and students (primary and secondary) to assist in evaluating the effectiveness and impact of PEP. Simple online surveys have been designed for this purpose. Teachers who have registered with the PEP online can easily find the surveys on the website. They receive an autographed poster or fan cards for participating.