School events: an educational opportunity
Objectives of school events
- Consolidation of curriculum contents taught through use and experience in practice;
- Explanation by reference to economic, social and cultural life; Promotion of musical facilities;
- Extension and intensifying of physical education opportunities in the school through getting to know and learning sports which are particularly suited to leisure time and as lifelong sporting activities;
- Events for the whole class (where at least 70% should take part) which are a special educational opportunity for social learning.
School events with physical education content
Examples of one-day events: walking days, sports days, health days, sports projects etc.
Events lasting longer than one day: winter sport weeks, summer sport weeks, health weeks, training weeks, competition weeks etc.
Planning and Execution
School events are for individual schools to plan, execute and evaluate. Great flexibility is therefore possible in the objective contents and in the organisational framework, but at the same time school partners assume a greater responsibility. In the selection of content, attention is to be paid to the physical capacity of the pupils and the organisation must ensure that the fundamentals of safety, economy and suitability are appropriate.
Whilst during sport weeks in winter snowboards and other pieces of equipment are gaining ground against skis, during summer sport weeks besides the traditional contents (tennis, riding, sailing, surfing) trend-setting sports e.g. mountain biking, golf and canoeing are ever more frequently in demand.
Happily we have never had so many children and young people taking part in summer and winter sport weeks (288,685 pupils in academic year 1996/97). Which means that 29% of Austrian pupils take part in sport weeks.
Summer sport weeks are advancing. From 37,605 in 1987/88 the number of participating pupils has already increased to 124,316 in 1996/97.
In 1987/88 219,156 pupils took part in winter sport weeks falling to 164,369 in 1996/97. From these figures the proportions were 15% summer against 85% winter sport in 1987/88 becoming 43% summer and 57% winter in academic year 1996/97.
This is a result of the ruling that the needs of each individual school in the choice of type of event are decisive and the school partnership committees (teachers, pupils and parents on the school board, school forum) make the decision. This development differs from province to province and in individual types of school.
In the academic year 1996/97 26,783 teachers were employed on school sport weeks, that is to say 1,529 more than in 1992/93. In 1997/97 3,870 teachers (of all disciplines) were in charge of teaching on the winter sport weeks alone. The themes are: new equipment (snowboards and carving skis). safety and variety (cross-country and ski touring).
Quality and safety
The federal ministry for education and cultural affairs has extensive measures intended to raise the quality of winter sports weeks: offers of accommodation and hire, safety packages, CD ROM, cooperation with partners (also from industry and commerce) etc. In this respect the working group on skiing in schools and colleges provides some decisive encouragement. Particular attention during both planning and execution must be paid to the safety of pupils. Appropriate group size, physical preparation proportionate to the chosen activity, choice of training area and terrain and a high level of technical competence on the part of teachers all play a decisive role. The high quality of physical education based school events is guaranteed by the professional expertise of the teachers and by high demands placed upon instructors from the commercial undertakings who teach in sport weeks. "Guidelines for the conduct of school events with a physical education emphasis" from the federal ministry for education and cultural affairs details the required standards for safety in the various sports.
In the context of accident prevention the Federal Ministry for Education and Cultural Affairs jointly with other organisations conducts various safety education campaigns.