The 34th Workshop

29 Augut, 2019
Theme: Effects and Challenge of the Paralympic Education through "I'mPOSSIBLE"
Lecturer: Miki Matheson, Project Manager of the Nippon Foundation Paralympic Support Center's Promotion and Strategy Department
Tomohiro Ishizuka, Teacher, Minamimachi Elementary School in Higashikurme city
Moderator: Tadashi Watari, Associate Professor, Juntendo University

The secret to the success of the London 2012 Paralympic Games lies in the many families that came to the venues. At the time the London Games were decided, there were only a few people who sought to buy tickets, but in the end the tickets were sold out, and the families - who accounted for 75% of the sales - greatly energized the Games day after day.
According to a report by the British Paralympic Association, the spread of "Get Set," an educational program about the value of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, has changed the perception of disabilities in more than two-thirds of children, and as a result the number of people who personally watched some of the competitions increased as children influenced their families. Furthermore, in an acknowledgment of its value, "Get Set" has continued to be used as an educational program even after the London Games.
The significance of the Paralympic Games lies in the transforming of society through promotion of the movement, and aiming for an inclusive society in which everyone can accept each other and play active roles. Paralympic education aims to make people aware of the potential that everyone has - irrespective of whether they have a disability or not - and of the importance of changing perceptions of and attitudes toward people with disabilities, deepening understanding of diversity and creating relationships of mutual respect for individuality.
At the Nippon Foundation Paralympic Support Center, a Japanese version of the IPC-approved "I'mPOSSIBLE" Paralympic program developed by the Agitos Foundation was jointly developed with the Japanese Paralympic Committee of the Japanese Para-Sports Association and the Benesse Foundation for Children. Based on feedback from educators on the front lines, it was developed with the notion of easy-to-use and easy-to-understand teaching materials for educators, and has been designed to allow them to teach classes without spending large amounts of time researching teaching materials, and 2019 saw the free distribution of the third edition for elementary school students and the second edition for junior and senior high school students to 36,000 schools nationwide.
Utilization of "I'mPOSSIBLE" enabled the drawing-out of what captures the interest and attention of young children and students, and enabled the observation of knowledge acquisition, changes in perception, and changes in behavior. There were also reports where young children and students, having studied the "ingenuity" and "changed ways of thinking" designed to allow so many athletes with disabilities to participate in the Paralympic Games, obtained the ability to resolve issues using the knowledge they acquired from "I'mPOSSIBLE" in instances where they encountered difficult situations.
Partly due to the phrases "Paralympic education" and "inclusive society" being included for the first time in the new Japanese curriculum guidelines that will come into effect in FY2020, the Paralympic Games will not close as a transient event, and with continuous initiatives underway in the field in education, the hope is that the classes will develop based on the interests and questions of the children.
Legacy is heritage, and heritage is a baton passed onwards by someone who wants to keep a connection. This heritage surely is education, and I would like to strive from the educational side toward the realization of an inclusive society.