International College Hong Kong
Dec 01, 2021

It's the taking part that counts

Raymond Chan is Director of Creativity: Deep Learning, Head of PE

During the recent winter consultations, I had quite a few conversations about the Dynasty Touch Tournament that was coming up at Kings Park.  In some, I was congratulating students on displaying the traits for a growth mindset or courage in the learning zone which we seek to encourage amongst our students.  In others, I was searching for ways to persuade the students to take part in the event.

A common response was that they didn’t really know how to play. One or two even said to me they didn’t “like it” or didn’t want to!

My argument to the first response claim is well rehearsed.  I will often talk to students about the values of sport and that is much more than simply winning and losing.  I wrote another ‘teacher insight’ article some years ago about it here.

However, this particular insight is formed by my conversations with students about not wanting to do something and also my reflection on a meeting where a colleague revealed that there was a student joining a team even though they felt more inclined to stay at school and go to their scheduled lessons.

It is fantastic that people want to join and do things. However, we really need those people who join in despite not really wanting to do it.  As I was grappling with words, ideas about being part of a house or  a team, a couple of parents intuitively grasped this idea and called it “school spirit”.  House spirit, team spirit; community spirit; there is a sense that we are part of something that is greater than ourselves as an individual.  Sometimes, because there is some sense of belonging and a sense of  “spirit”, we may even feel compelled to do things we wouldn’t ordinarily do.

Of course, we are not in the business of forcing people to do anything, but I am guessing many of us will have had an experience of taking part in something which we would rather not have to do.  Indeed, notions of sacrifice, commitment, dedication and altruism do not really make sense unless we have some experience of this.

So, to all those who enjoy touch rugby and were the first to sign up for their teams, I am happy that you had a great day in the sunshine playing sport.

To all those who were worried about not knowing enough about the sport and took the plunge to join your team, thank you.  You have got out of your comfort zone and shown real courage.

But to all those who joined in even though you did not really want to be there, well done!  You have epitomised the spirit we are looking for and truly embody the saying, “it’s the taking part that counts”.


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