• Addressing UNSDG 4 in Sonora

    Over the next three weeks the CAC team is back in Sonora, Mexico working with PE teachers from across the state to design and deliver Purposeful Play curriculum and Self-Directed Learning teaching methodology to address UNSDG 4: Quality Education.

    In the past 4 years the partnership between Coaches Across Continents and Sonora Ministry of Education has provided opportunities for life-long learning and professional development to 500 PE teachers across Sonora state, Mexico, centered on equitable, quality education through sport. Now the Secretary has asked for us to continue consulting for the schools of Sonora, with the goal of reaching all school districts in the state (2,500+ schools and 600,000+ youth). Over 70% of teachers trained by CAC apply the curricula in their classes every week, and over 97% of respondents said they have learned useful tools to complement the objectives of their classes

    How do we address UNSDG4: Quality Education in this partnership?

    Global Goal Target 4.5: Eliminate gender disparities in education.
    – 100% of these Sonoran educators agree that they are better prepared to create equal opportunities for girls and boys.
    Global Goal Target 4A: Education facilities are child, disability and gender sensitive; learning
    environments are safe, nonviolent, inclusive.
    – Over 95% of teacher respondents now find ways to include students with physical and intellectual disabilities in their class.
    Global Goal Target 4.7: Learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable
    development.
    – Over 87% of respondents feel that because of CAC they can support their students in gaining skills
    needed to promote sustainable development. The top reasons cited are: we can create consciousness
    easily, the tools are extremely versatile, and the content is relevant.

    Quotes from Sonora teachers

    “ Following the CAC training I do not push troubled students aside if they are acting out. We do not always know their story and it is our role as educators to make them feel welcomed and safe in the environment we create.” – Raúl Arvizu Ríos
    “Thanks to CAC I have created a game about a real issue for my students, the changes in US border laws under President Trump, in order to teach them their rights but also to discuss what it means to respect people who are different from you.” – Javier Salas Fierro
    “I have seen the children change, for they have the highest self-esteem. Now they look for me if they
    have any problems like violence within the family. They trust me and we are solving problems.” – Laura
    Elena Olivia Gaxiola
    “CAC’s curriculum allows me to address difficult issues in my class because the students can play a role
    on the field that they cannot play in real life. It allows them to put themselves in each other’s shoes and
    be respectful with each other.”- Veronica Rodríguez

  • Fun: is it fun-damental to ‘Education Outside the Classroom’?

    Guest Blog- Sarah Huxley, PhD research student with the Open University.

    ‘Fun’ is a tricky, illusive and bouncy concept. Is it a sensation? Is it something you can create, or something that creates you? What places enable ‘having fun’? Is writing about fun, fun? Welcome to my world.

    I am a PhD research student with the interdisciplinary research centre of RUMPUS at the Open University, and these are the types of thoughts that fill my head. We have recently started a collaboration with Coaches Across Continents (CAC) to explore, experience and understand what ‘fun’ means and does (its roles) in the context of CAC’s educational initiatives. I’ll be researching fun as a partially embedded researcher: this means participating in their staff skype meetings, running around ‘on field’ (probably out of breath) during their educational sessions; in order to experience if and how opportunities for fun arise. The research endeavour will by its very nature be a process of co-creation.

    In particular, I’ll be looking and reflecting upon fun in the context of CAC’s active ‘Self Directed Learning’ approach – an approach embedded in ‘education outside the classroom’ and ‘purposeful play’. ‘Self-Directed learning’ was described to me by one staff member as “honouring that the individual – who is developing – who is learning in this world, is the expert of their experience.” According to interviews and organisational documents, Self-Directed Learning is a question-based methodology that offers an alternative to didactic classroom-based practices of learning. But more than this, it also confronts what ‘knowledge’ and ‘development’ (personal or social) intrinsically can be. CAC continually ask participants/players to think of these concepts in terms of diversity; challenging the assumptions and biases they bring to their communities and vice versa; and that we are all learners in motion, constantly being re shaped by the world around us, as well as if we choose, doing the reshaping.

    Play and fun in CAC’s world are often used interchangeably and integral to its educational enterprise. At this stage in the research process, all I can say is that CAC’s view of ‘Purposeful Play’ is provocative and builds on values of choice. For example, one staff member in seeking to explain what Purposeful Play means, used the analogy of a Scandinavian playground he had heard of, whereby all the objects can be freely moved by players. In doing so, the “freedom of movement in that type of playground [provides] a world that pushes back at your learning, and you are not being confined by this pre-determined idea of this is how the slide is going to be…you get to play around. I don’t have to do any of the things that someone else has already done. From that the idea that play becomes more purpose driven: the play is more expressive of you as an individual, whereas it may be in a more traditional playground that you are not expressing yourself. You are just going up the slide, going across the monkey bars and repeat. Play with that bit of purpose is what points in a more positive direction.” This analogy suggests that CAC’s ‘on-field’ sessions are in a way a playground for all ages. There is a lot more teasing out to be done of the relationship and attributes that are ascribed to play and fun, but for now, there is plenty to slip and slide through.

    For CAC, fun and play are a fundamental aspect of a progressive learning experience. This research will examine this claim. Firstly, by exploring the meanings of fun for different coaches (educators, mentors, youth leaders) in different cultures and contexts, and then secondly by turning to look at purposes (what does fun do/enable?) and why.

    By the way, did I mention I have never played football?

    If you are interested to learn more about the research as it progresses, or indeed have some reflections or provocations of your own, please do reach out: or @AidHoover.

  • CAC Launches Coach Accreditation Program

    January 14th 2020. Coaches Across Continents is proud to announce the first-ever global Accredited Coaches initiative. Accredited Coaches are the only coaches in the world equipped with Education Outside the Classroom training to impact the UNSDGs and Safe-Guarding Child Rights through Purposeful Play curriculum and methodology.

    After 10 years working and learning how to best deliver sport and education around the world, Coaches Across Continents is now offering the next step in facilitator training by providing standards and processes to become an official, Accredited Coach.

    Accredited Coaches have the skills and resources to design, develop and implement locally-driven and sustainable Education Outside the Classroom programs for youth of all ages and to train other leaders to do the same. They are able to develop their players athletically, with an emphasis of success put on their intentional actions towards addressing specific UNSDG’s.

    Becoming an Accredited Coach will improve that leader’s ability to create sustainable change based on the UNSDGs, to find and secure funding and award opportunities, to enhance their brand reputation, and to deliver expert consultancy in Purposeful Play.

    For the full Coach Accreditation press release please click here.

     

  • World AIDS Day 2019

    2019 marks the 11th year that Coaches Across Continents has worked towards honoring World AIDS Day. On December 1st, CAC partners around the globe made use of our unique AIDS Awareness Day curriculum packet to share knowledge and dive into some of the overwhelming nuance associated with this disease.

    HIV remains one of the world’s most serious public health problems with ~38 million people currently infected. Despite dramatic steps forward with prevention and treatment technologies, a disproportionate number of people and communities in low and middle income countries continue to struggle with this disease and its ramifications.

    More than 5,700 individuals and organizations in 114 countries were provided our World AIDS Day resource packet. With this packet, communities are encouraged to question the various stigmas, myths, facts and research behind the latest in HIV awareness.

  • A Haven of Hope

    CAC India Team Leader Jamie and Community Impact Coach Benny have been working in rural communities near the city of Pune this week, with Maher – an NGO that provides shelter to underserved women, children and men across the Indian state of Maharashtra. 

    Maher means ‘Mothers Home’ in Marathi; a place of belonging, understanding and acceptance. For over 20 years, Maher has opened their doors and provided shelter for many of those in need – providing a place to sleep, eat and live while also sending them to school. Currently, they provide a place to call home for 960 children, 170 women and 60 older men. They heard about CAC through our Accredited partner Slum Soccer and wanted to learn about #PurposefulPlay and how it could benefit their children. To tie in with Maher’s core values of acceptance and education, we delivered a programme focused on UNSDGs: 4 (Quality Education), 5 (Gender Equality) and 10 (Reduced Inequalities).

    Our programme was split into two parts – in the mornings we would travel to one of Maher’s other homes in very rural areas, and deliver some fun #EducationOutsideTheClassroom sessions to children and women who had never experienced #PurposefulPlay before. These were introductory sessions that we had a lot of fun with – this new style of learning was greatly enjoyed and each time we left they would ask when they could play more games! At CAC, Sustainability is at the core of everything we do – so to ensure long term impact we always work with the teachers, coaches and in this case social workers to provide them the skills so that these kids can continue learning and having fun, even after we’ve left.

    This is where our evening sessions come into the picture, where we worked with around 30 social workers on topics that they felt were most relevant to them. Gender Equality (#UNSDG5) and Reduced Inequalities (#UNSDG10) came up often, so we played many games from our #ASKforChoice curriculum. These social workers had also discussed these topics with the children, but had never considered that using sport was possible and the best way to engage them in difficult conversations.

    It was a very successful programme with Maher, now enthused about #EducationOutsideTheClassroom and already inviting us back! My personal highlight is that we managed to involve some of the older orphaned children in the programme, one young man at the end said ‘everyone has always told me I can’t do stuff, but CAC told me I can and encouraged me’. Sustainability has many forms, and supporting someone to find some self-belief so that they can continue believing in their self, is sustainability that matters.

  • Sign Soccer

    You don’t realise how much you take your voice for granted, until you can’t use it.

    The CAC team have been in Nagpur, India this last week working with long time ally and partner – Slum Soccer. This is a partnership that is 8 years in the making, with many successful programmes delivered together. Due to the nature and frequency that we visit Slum Soccer, we wanted to do something different this time and really expand on what #PurposefulPlay means, by delivering a programme centred around #UNSDG10: Reduced Inequalities – specifically focusing on the inclusion of those who are deaf and mute.

    Slum Soccer have recently started an initiative called ‘DeafKidz Goal!’ and will work with over 200 deaf children and young adults during this programme. India has one of the highest populations of deaf people in the world – Nagpur alone has over 6000 deaf children. Slum Soccer has seen that these young people were being held back and wanted to take action, calling in the assistance of CAC.

    We had 4 deaf and mute coaches on the programme who were incredibly fun to work with – their energy and smiles made delivering the sessions a joy! However, aside from demonstrations, coaches who are able most often use their voice as the main way of communicating and relying solely on this wouldn’t work as we would be excluding some of our group. Whilst we had a brilliant Sign Language interpreter, we wanted to make sure they felt as included as possible – to do this we: played some games in silence and introduced different signs, instead of shouting for the ball we used hand waves, we all learnt how to sign good morning so we could do it together and when we had discussions we would always take time to allow everyone to input and share their thoughts. The coaches who were deaf and mute mentioned throughout the week that they were very happy and thankful and that their favourite sign throughout the week was that we always came to the field with a smile.

    And a smile is the most universal sign there is.