The Triannual Newsletter
Mission Statement - To provide stimulating, engaging academics integrated with enhanced opportunities for Technological Innovation, Sports and the Arts.
Volume 11, Issue 2, March, 2022
- Head of School Message
- Whole School Sports and Activities Coordinator
- Perspectives from the Primary School
- Perspectives from the Secondary School
- Boarding Focus
Welcome to our second Triannual Newsletter for the academic year 2021 - 2022.
This edition will look at how Sports is integrated within the more comprehensive academic curriculum.
Stonehill International School highlights the value of Sports in its mission statement. As the School continues to grow, so does the mission of the sports programme in enhancing opportunities for every student.
Through Sports, Stonehill aims to help students grow and learn while helping them become knowledgeable, caring, confident and responsible global citizens.
We believe our students learn important skills like sportsmanship, teamwork, and communication by participating in sports. The sports programme at Stonehill is designed to develop a positive attitude towards physical activities and to instil a desire for life-long involvement in sport and its relationship to a healthy and balanced lifestyle.
Let’s explore how sports is integrated within the curriculum across school at Stonehill.
Dr. Brian Brumsickle
Head of School
The impact of the pandemic has taken its toll on many aspects of our students' lives.
The greatest impact has been on their physical and mental health.
Co-curricular sports have always played a key role in the educational ecosystem of schools.
Post-pandemic has created an even greater value for having a strong and comprehensive programme that lives up to our mission statement. Fortunately, the leadership team at Stonehill had begun taking steps towards achieving that goal. Some of these include:
Introducing the Bangalore Activities and Athletics Schools Conference (BAASC) which extended the opportunities of competitive sporting experiences from Primary through Secondary; increasing the standard of coaching by hiring professional coaches to work with our faculty and our sports teams
Increasing the level of athletic ability and leadership with sport-specific scholarships
Setting in place opportunities for students to intern in sports sciences by partnering with The Centre for Sports Excellence (CSE)
Looking into the future for developing an international conference to go along with the current International Schools Activities Conference India (ISACI) that would enhance the cultural experience of competing against athletes from other nations.
The BAASC now provides an opportunity for students to experience more competitions than any of the previous years. For the first time, there will be three full seasons of sport for students from P4-D2 (Grade 1-12) with weekly matches culminating in a conference championship at the end of the season. The three shorter but more intensive seasons of sport will allow our students to expand their sporting experience by playing a different sport every season. The sports currently offered are football, basketball, swimming, tennis, badminton, volleyball, cricket, track & field, cross country and equestrian.
Our partnership with CSE is multifaceted as it provides professional coaching leadership for our faculty, sports internships for our students, and the highest level of facilities for our community. Once we expanded the number of sports teams, we reached out to the academies at CSE to ensure we provide top-level coaches to lead our programmes. This not only provides the students with excellent training but also provides a model for the faculty who are assistant coaches giving them professional development opportunities.
As we look into the future, we envision developing high-level competitive teams to compete in the international arena. We have set up sports scholarships for students who excel in sports. The strategic objective is to have Stonehill athletes compete in international conferences exposing them to cultural, service and sporting events.
With the roadmap set, we have already begun the journey, although slowed down by COVID, we will continue to grow these opportunities for our students. Through playing in competitive sports teams or being exposed to the sports industry through internships, our students will have a better understanding of what they are capable of achieving outside of the classroom. A true holistic educational ecosystem provides our students with opportunities to acquire academic skills and personal skills which build confidence and promote leadership. This is why Stonehill’s mission statement includes enhanced opportunities for sports along with stimulating academics.
Whole School Sports and Activities Coordinator
During the trying times of this global pandemic, it has been the Physical Education Department that has kept both the students and adults engaged in movement activity.
Our exceptional PE teacher, Samantha Mitchell, led the way. Sam organised community events - notably, Pass the Baton - which engaged families throughout the school to walk, run, swim, ride through their communities, recording their participation and sharing it on social media apps.
We all enthusiastically participated, ending the day with a social media celebration. These events built community whilst protecting us from COVID.
Within the school context, Sam and her colleagues organised a number of whole school events which allowed our students to stay within their compounds, apartments or homes but to complete physical challenges. Each day would end with the homeroom teacher leading a session with their class, surrounded by the outcomes of the day.
PE lessons continued throughout Remote and Distance Learning. As the government had restricted the online time for our Primary learners, the PE department produced a video of physical activity every day. Homeroom teachers supported this physical activity with a mindfulness activity every day. Families chose when to complete these activities but feedback from both parents and students expressed their satisfaction with the wellbeing focus from the Primary team.
Now back in school, in-person PE and swimming classes are in action. There is joy in each lesson and laughter fills the learning space. We are still restricted in what can be presented to our students but teachers are utilising what they have in order to ensure physical learning takes place. Homeroom teachers continue to have mindfulness sessions in order to reduce anxiety and develop a more holistic view of wellbeing.
Primary School Principal
At Stonehill, Physical Education is integral to learning and teaching and is more than just student participation in sports and games.
Its purpose is to develop a combination of transferable skills promoting physical, intellectual, emotional and social development; to encourage present and future choices that contribute to long term healthy living; and to understand the cultural significance of physical activities for individuals and communities.
The development of basic motor skills and the body’s capacity for movement through locomotor and manipulative experiences; the techniques, rules and purpose of a range of athletic activities; recognising a high level of achievement and how to improve performance.
Recognising that movements can be linked together and refined to create a sequence of aesthetic movements. Movements can be a response to stimuli or performance success criteria and can communicate feelings, emotions and ideas.
Games: Recognising the challenges presented by games; the importance of manipulating space; the categorising of games; identifying and developing appropriate skills and strategies; recognising the importance of rules and how they define the nature of a game; modifying existing games and creating new games; teamwork.
A variety of tasks requiring the use of physical and critical-thinking skills; challenges that require groups to work together collaboratively in order to solve problems and accomplish a common goal; recognising the role of the individual in group problem-solving.
Recognising and appreciating the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle; the body’s response to exercise including the interaction of body systems and the development of physical fitness.
Regular exposure to all kinds of physical learning experiences enables Primary students to make informed choices throughout their lives. (Personal, social and physical education scope and sequence, IB Primary Years Programme, 2018)
Every school claims that sports and physical activity are important for the students. Most people would presumably agree with the claim, that a healthy body equals a healthy mind, at least to some extent. Why is it then that in so many schools around the world physical education is given less importance than the so-called ‘core academic subjects’?
In many cases, students are prevented from joining sports teams if their academic performance drops. At Stonehill, we recognize the importance of participation in sports as being one of the most important experiences students can have during their school lives. Not only does our mission statement refer to ‘enhanced opportunities in sports’, but we also make sure that we live the mission statement genuinely on a daily basis.
Two years ago, in the Secondary School, we redesigned the school timetable to ensure that Physical and Health Education receives as much instructional time as any other subject group in the Middle Years Programme (MYP). Furthermore, grades that students achieve in PHE classes are weighted equally with grades from any other subject at school on a report and transcript. Success or failure in PHE is just as important as success or failure in any other academic subject.
Before the pandemic struck, we were also seeing a record number of students joining the sports teams and practising after school. Along with the annual International Schools Activities Conference, India (ISACI) sports competitions, a local league, the Bangalore Activities and Athletics School Conference (BAASC) had been introduced and students were getting more opportunities to compete with teams from other schools in Bangalore. Our Athletics and Activities Coordinator, John Bertken, has also been looking for opportunities for Stonehill to join another international schools sports conference in the region to provide further opportunities for travel and competition in the coming years.
Clearly, Stonehill has invested in top-quality sports facilities over the past years. Students from other schools in Bangalore seem to be in awe of our swimming pool, Multi-Purpose Hall, astroturf football pitch, and wide-open play areas around the campus. Hopefully, over the coming years, we will be able to start enjoying hosting tournaments again in order to bring the community together on campus to watch our students compete.
We have also enrolled students on sports scholarships over the past few years and continue to get applications from such students. We find creative ways to allow these students to attend practice and tournaments while keeping up with academic work. The flexible approach to learning that we have developed over the past few covid-impacted years has helped in this regard. Students do not need to be in a classroom all day every day in order to succeed academically; there are many different ways to learn.
All of these approaches are aligned with our mission to provide ‘enhanced opportunities’ for sports in our curriculum and school. Participation in sport is not a benefit that students receive if they do well enough academically, and it’s not something that just happens after school. Sports are a fundamental part of a child’s education, and when you ask students what their best memories are of school, they will very often mention a team that they played on a tournament that they participated in or a sports trip that they took with friends. One of the saddest impacts of the covid pandemic has been the devastating impact that restrictions have had on our sports programme. I sincerely hope that such restrictions will be a thing of the past before long - our students need to start playing again!
Secondary School Principal
The Aims and Objectives of Sports in MYP Physical Education (PE)
Providing students with opportunities to experience a wide range of sports and physical activities is an important component of an effective and rewarding PHE curriculum.
At Stonehill, our PHE programme is broad in its focus with units that allow for all students to be challenged and experience success.
Movement composition units allow students to create and perform sequences of movements through activities such as choreographing and performing dance routines, music-based workouts and gymnastics sequences.
Through invasion games such as basketball and football, and striking and fielding games such as cricket and softball, students develop their capacities to work collectively, communicate with teammates and respond to constantly changing in-game scenarios.
Maintaining a purposeful and effective balance between practical assessment tasks and other types of assessments in PHE supports the holistic development of our students
Whilst performance is an important aspect of assessment, so too is our students’ abilities to demonstrate knowledge and understanding related to health and fitness, the rules and terminology of the sports we play, and strategies for success across the PHE curriculum. There are opportunities for students to create and implement their own plans across different activities, these are broad-ranging and include creating instructional videos, using performance analysis software, creating movement routines, warm-ups and other activities specific to a particular sport and also planning collaboratively when students work as part of a group.
PHE Curriculum Summary
The Physical and Health Education (PHE) curriculum at Stonehill is deliberately designed to be ‘broad and balanced’ to ensure our students have multiple opportunities to get out of their comfort zones and participate in different activities. PHE lessons promote sustained inquiry by developing conceptual understanding within global contexts. Key concepts such as change, communication and relationships are used as the framework that underpins the MYP PHE curriculum at Stonehill.
We use related concepts to promote deeper learning grounded in specific activities and disciplines, such as soccer, basketball, yoga, health-related fitness, softball, swimming, volleyball and badminton. The PHE Department focuses on developing skills within the sports listed above, and use them to focus on improving conceptual understanding of related concepts, such as energy, balance and refinement.
During PHE lessons, our students explore key and related concepts through the MYP global contexts. These include:
- Identities and relationships
- Orientation in space and time
- Personal and cultural expression
- Scientific and technical innovation
- Globalisation and sustainability
- Fairness and development
The Assessed Criteria
Each PHE objective corresponds to one of four, equally weighted, assessment criteria. Each criterion has eight possible achievement levels (1–8), divided into four bands with unique descriptors that PHE teachers use to make judgments about students’ theatrical and practical work. Each criterion is assessed twice during each semester.
- A) Knowing and Understanding
- Students develop knowledge and understanding about health and physical activity in order to identify and solve problems.
- B) Planning for Performance
- Students through inquiry design, analyse, evaluate and perform a plan in order to improve performance in physical and health education.
- C) Applying and Performing
- Students develop and apply practical skills, techniques, strategies and movement concepts through their participation in a variety of physical activities.
- D) Reflecting and Improving Performance
- Students enhance their personal and social development, set goals, take responsible action and reflect on their performance and the performance of others.
Approaches To Teaching and Learning (AtL) Skills Within PE
AtL skills play a crucial role in PHE at Stonehill as it is a significant part of how we assess student progress during each PHE unit. Communication, thinking and social skills naturally lend themselves to PHE and we refer to these consistently during group discussions during the lesson, as well as reflective activities at the end of the lesson. They are highlighted within lessons and identified across other subjects and areas of life.
The IB states AtL skills as:
- Communication Skills
- Thinking Skills
- Self-management Skills
- Social Skills
- Research Skills
However, within PE at Stonehill, we have broken down these AtL skills to be PHE specific to fit the needs of the curriculum we are delivering. This allows the students to understand how they can apply these AtL skills to everyday life. The AtL skills that students are assessed against in PHE are:
- Observes tactics in order to recognise personal and team strengths and weaknesses (Thinking Skills)
- Gives specific feedback on techniques that will improve the performance of others (Social Skills)
- Actively listens to verbal calls and observes non-verbal cues in order to understand teammates during game play (Communication Skills)
- Arrives at PE lessons with the correct equipment (Self-management Skills)
- Understands the importance of leading an active and healthy lifestyle to maintain mental and physical health (Research Skills)
- Practises positive thinking to improve mental strength, resolving conflict and working collaboratively in a team (Communication Skills)
- Applies skills and knowledge in unfamiliar situations (Research Skills)
- Can build peer consensus and manage emotions appropriately (Self-Management and Social Skills)
All of the above AtLs are what prepares students to be the best they possibly can in order to contribute to society and make the community they live in a better place.
HoD Physical Education & MYP Physical Education
The importance of play or sports for children has become more so relevant in these current times.
The world-class sports facilities at Stonehill is a great advantage, especially to the boarding community. The resources on campus have been well utilised after school hours and on the weekends.
Football seems to be everyone’s favourite sport at the moment with participants from all three boarding houses. The students also have personalised coaching in basketball and badminton from experienced House Parents. The goal is to create teams of highly skilled individuals that can compete in intra and inter-school competitions.
It is great to see the older students set an example for their peers by encouraging and inspiring them to participate in sports and physical activities, follow routines and instil good habits. The confidence and the discipline that the younger students learn here can be seen during games where they’re being vocal and able to express themselves without being intimidated by the seniors. There is also a sense of camaraderie that can be seen across the boarding houses. The results are evident as most students have improved their social, interpersonal leadership skills.
Sports and physical activities are a great way to develop a spirit of competitiveness, improved endurance that helps students to work harder/smarter and also approach things from a different perspective whilst having a positive attitude. The values that the students learn in this process are well integrated within the boarding houses as well as in academics that also aligns with the mission and the vision of the school.