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Type: Thesis
Title: How does sport develop character at an all-boys’ school?
Author: McCallum, Heath
Issue Date: 2020
School/Discipline: School of Education
Abstract: Schools, and particularly independent all-boys’ schools, spend significant time and financial resources providing sporting opportunities to their students on the assumption that competitive sport provides important character development opportunities. Competitive sport may also have tangible negative impacts on character development, including promoting violence and bullying, reinforcing gender stereotypes, and promoting heteronormative ideals. Given the rich historical role sport plays in many allboys’ schools, this can be a difficult to reconcile. This research investigates how sport develops character at an all-boys’ school in Adelaide, South Australia, adopting the neo-Aristotelian framework developed by the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues. Using document analysis to review the historical relationship between character education and sport, the research finds that there is significant rhetoric when it comes to the claims about sport, but little evidence about its benefits. The study argues there is potential for character development from competitive sport, but only with well-designed frameworks with well-trained staff in coaching positions. Without a comprehensive character education framework at the school level (or better yet the national level), there are diminishing returns to time and financial resource investment by schools. Schools must also be mindful of the potential negative implications from promoting a culture where sport dominates, particularly the impact it has on the boy’s achievement gap, and those students who do not possess natural athletic ability. This tension applies to every school in Australia, though more research is needed on the character development potential of competitive sport, the potential harm a sports culture can do to students, and how to get the most benefit out of time spent on sport.
Advisor: White, Mathew
Dissertation Note: Thesis (MTech) -- University of Adelaide, School of Education, 2020
Description: This item is only available electronically.
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