The 37th Workshop

27 April 2021
Theme: Current Situation and Future Prospects for Paralympic Education in Tokyo and 
Chiba Prefecture: A Questionnaire Survey of Teachers in Elementary, Middle Schools and Schools for Special Needs Education
Lecturer: WATARI Tadashi, Associate Professor, Faculty of Health and Sports Science, Juntendo University
NAKAJIMA Yuko, Senior Research Fellow, The Nippon Foundation Paralympic Support Center

1. Questionnaire Survey Report

After Tokyo's successful bid for the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2013, the Olympic and Paralympic education programme has been provided at schools nationwide by the central and local governments to promote the Olympic and Paralympic Movements. This education programme is also expected to be an intangible legacy of the Games beyond 2020.

The purpose of this study is to find out what is needed for the Paralympic educationprogramme to take root in schools as a legacy. For this purpose, the authors analyzed the questionnaire survey results from 1,077 elementary schools, 635 middle schools and 67 schools for special needs education in Tokyo and Chiba Prefecture.

Findings indicate that more than 80 percent of the schools carried out the Paralympic education programme, and that the majority of teachers felt positive about its educational effectiveness. However, the results also reveal that there are many difficulties in the implementation of the programme, such as lack of class hours and time to prepare for newly introduced programmes, budget constraints, and adaptation to annual school plans. These results support previous reports that teachers are struggling with a difficult situation caused by too many tasks and responsibilities. 

To continue Paralympic education beyond the Tokyo Games, rather than the current top-down approach, it should accommodate the current school system so that it can be incorporated without becoming a burden to schools. For this, there is an urgent need to raise teachers' awareness that Paralympic education could play an important role not only to enhance the momentum of the Games, but also to raise awareness of the notion of an inclusive society, which is an ultimate goal of the Paralympics.

2. Interview Survey Report

From among the schools that responded to the questionnaire survey, a survey was conducted at 16 schools that conduct Paralympic education and 2 schools that do not. Semi-structured interviews were conducted, and a modified grounded theory approach was used to assign keywords and generate the following six categories: "reasons for starting," "purpose," "position within the curriculum," "content," "issues regarding continuation," and "issues regarding legacy."

(1) Reasons for starting Paralympic education: In terms of the launch of each school's program, the <decision to host the Paralympics in Tokyo> served as a starting point, and this was followed by the <notification of the implementation of Paralympic education> from the government and the government's <promotion of Paralympic education (selection of implementing schools, etc.). The results also showed that Paralympic education was implemented as a result of <personal connections among teachers> and <experience at teachers' previous schools>.

(2) Purpose of Paralympic education: Two aspects of Paralympic education were identified: "learning about the Paralympics itself," which involves promoting <interest in the Paralympic Games and Paralympic sports> and <understanding the sports and rules>, and "learning through the Paralympics," involving promoting <a society of coexistence>, <understanding of others>, and <understanding of disabilities>. The results also revealed that teachers found value in content that spanned both these themes, such as <an adapted (sports) perspective>.

(3) Position within the curriculum: Paralympic education is often conducted as part of for example, <General Studies>, <Health and Physical Education>, <Moral Education>, and <All School Assembly>, and it was found that teachers are struggling to make it cross-disciplinary and provide <a connection to various subjects>.

(4) Content: It was confirmed that the children and students identified strongly with the <lectures> and <hands-on/interaction classes> given by Paralympians and others, as well as the <classroom learning> focusing on <research and study> and the <practical skills> using para-sports as <materials>.

(5) Issues for continuation: Major factors hindering implementation were a <sense of burden on teachers>, such as the workload of preparation and a lack of time, and weak <budgetary measures> relating to the procurement of equipment and invitation of speakers. <Setting objectives> and <difficulty in measuring benefits> were also raised as issues, but <positioning within the annual teaching plan> had a particular impact on the continuation of Paralympic education.

(6) Issues regarding legacy: The results showed that it was possible to contribute to the legacy by integrating the <schools' characteristics and culture>, such as their educational philosophy and goals, and by enabling the <reconfiguration of existing activities> through <cooperation with other teachers> and an <understanding of administration>. In addition, a need was also identified for <development of the environment by the government and external actors>, such as local governments and other organizations.

The results of this survey produced the following three findings for creating a legacy.

i. Importance of out-of-school <actors>
In order to reduce the burden on teachers, various actors should continue to promote the development of teaching materials, using the Japanese version of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC)-approved teaching material "I'mPOSSIBLE" as good practice. The presence of out-of-school actors such as local governments, "para-supporters," and universities, is also important for the procurement of equipment.

ii. Matching Paralympic education with school characteristics and cultures
By embedding Paralympic education in activities already being conducted, Paralympic education can be continued after the Paralympic Games and can be incorporated in the annual teaching plan.

iii. Importance of organizational and institutional approaches
It is necessary to develop an environment that includes not only individual teachers and schools, but also local governments, universities, and other related organizations, building a system to promote Paralympic education as a team uniting the community. The training of managers and local government officials will also provide significant support for creating a legacy.