Social Science blog

25 August 2010

Teaching the Paralympics

We have a new member of staff working with the social science team: Andrea Cunsolo, who is with us for six months as part of the Future Jobs Fund Scheme. He’s proving to be an enormous help in getting to grips with the work we are doing for the website on the Paralympics, and is searching for relevant materials in the BL collections and fashioning a bibliographical piece on the role of the Paralympic governing bodies in raising awareness of disabled sport. He also brought to my attention a great new website called Ability v Ability which has been created in partnership with ParalympicsGB and NASUWT. The site is intended for schools (although of course, anyone can use it) and provides resources on the Paralympic movement and its athletes for use by teachers in the classroom. Click on:


Raising awareness of disability sport in schools is essential from a variety of perspectives, but most particularly for children with disabilities who may not have considered becoming involved in physical exercise because of preconceived ideas – their own and other people’s - about their abilities. Widening their horizons and awareness – as well as those of their able-bodied peers, and their teachers too – will contribute enormously to the legacy of the 2012 Paralympics. Ian Brittain’s article (written for the journal Sport, education and society in 2004) is very enlightening in this regard. In it he tells of the enormous influence that a proper sports education can have on children with disabilities, and argues that a positive experience can empower them in many different aspects of their lives. I was also fascinated by Hayley Fitzgerald’s Disability and youth sport, an edited collection of contributions on the subject. Her own chapter ‘Are you a parasite researcher?’ alerts us to the importance of working with disabled athletes and aspiring athletes to research the issues, to arrive at conclusions, and to put them into practice.


Ian Brittain ‘The role of schools in constructing self-perceptions of sport and physical education in relation to people with disabilities’ in Sport, education and society Vol 9, No 1, March 2004

London reference collections shelfmark: ZC.9.a.4559

Lending collections shelfmark: 8419.519500


Disability and youth sport edited by Hayley Fitzgerald Oxford: Routledge, 2009

London reference collections shelfmark: YC.2010.a.3510

Lending collections shelfmark: m09/10755



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