Gabriella Goschi

Head of Social Inclusion and School Sport Volunteering Department, HSSF
TE IS Program – A Potential Student and Socially Centered Physical Activity Program
18 September 2014, 15:50–16:35

“The key for change is not the readily available program, but the process itself.” (Twemlow Sacco, 2012.)

In the one and a half year, the goal of our development process was to re-think the connection between school exercise and volunteering as well as their possible application in everyday life. The objective of the program developed within the current project has been to adjust the methodology assisting educational work to the school life’s challenges and to help maintaining its operation – by involving the internal resources. The program distinctively focuses on the idea of social integration, therefore it directly supports the school integration of students coming from disadvantaged environments.
The “TE IS” Program (abbreviation for: In School Physical Activity) aims to create school communities characterized by social support. During our work, we create and connect theoretical and practical elements that have positive effects on the cooperation within school, on the school culture and on the teaching-learning processes.
In the participating schools, volunteer sport groups are formed by students. The groups are supported by specially trained mentor teachers in order to do exercise-related programs and other small projects outside the classroom. The objective of the program is to enable the performed activities to contribute to the development of skills and competencies like initiating, problem solving, teamwork and critical thinking. In order to develop these skills, knowledge and attitude is important not only for shaping school culture but also to increase the efficiency of education. They prepare students for the upcoming challenges of adult life, especially for the challenges of employment.
In order to maintain professional accuracy, we considered it crucial to conduct a nationwide representative pre-research, which had a major role in the planning phase of TE IS Program. Before setting the goals of the program, we explored the main characteristics of school’s everyday operation, which provided us with a substantial basis for the development process.
Similarly to the concept, the TE IS Program’s methodology also contains basic theoretical principles, but with a stronger focus on the school’s everyday operation in practice. Therefore, the structure of the methodology is based on a specific lifecycle model. This approach allows to consider not only the phases of planning and implementing school exercise programs but also the natural fluctuation noticeable during the introduction phase of every new project. The lifecycle starts with the introduction of the program and lasts until the program becomes sustainable and permanent. During this period, it strengthens, weakens and reaches its low point, than picks up, reaches a normal level and finally stabilizes. Therefore, through the learning process of the school population, the method leads from the acquisition of the above skills to a school culture that considers social integration, volunteering and community-centered, health-conscious behavior as common values.