Transnational applications of olympism in school programs: a comparison of north american and european educational orientations

Por: Deanna Binder e Roland Naul.

Athens 2004: Pre-olympic Congress

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The Institute for Olympic Education and the Willibald Gephardt Institute have begun a cross-cultural collaboration to explore cultural complexities with respect to introducing Olympic Education initiatives in schools. In 2002, Roland Naul, the co-author of a multi-national European study on Olympic Education (2002)1 , prepared a White Paper for the Duesseldorf Rhein-Ruhr 2012 Olympic Bid Committee (2002)2 in which he described four basic pedagogical approaches to school-based Olympic Education initiatives. In a 2001 doctoral dissertation Binder3 explored the complexities and challenges of developing and implementing an international Olympic Education initiative from within the context of Greek culture. In 2003, as Director of the Institute for Olympic Education, she launched two pilot projects in multicultural communities in Alberta, Canada to explore the practical realities of integrating a values-based Olympic Education initiative, based on the basic values of Olympism - joy in physical endeavour, fair play, respect for others and pursuit of excellence - into regular school curricula. Both researchers are currently working on cross-cultural curriculum initiatives with researchers on other continents.

Based on this ongoing research, Naul and Binder are developing a framework for describing and comparing the pedagogical traditions and school-based realities that could affect the successful implementation of Olympic Education initiatives in diverse cultural contexts. In this presentation, they will discuss how this framework might apply in a comparison of European and North American situations.

Significance of this Presentation

Traditionally, curriculum has been developed within national cultural boundaries. The proliferation of transnational organizations and the processes of globalization mean that often curriculum development takes place outside of these boundaries. Current writing highlights the problems and complexities of the transnational transfer of educational and curriculum ideas and programs. Freire, (1997)4, writing generally about global educational initiatives, asks how one can expect "positive results from an educational or political program which fails to respect the particular view of the world held by the people. Such a program constitutes cultural invasion, good intentions not withstanding (p. 150)."

By signing the Olympic Charter, all of the 199 nations who now participate in Olympic Games theoretically affirm the values of Olympism for their own cultural context, and many have Olympic Education initiatives. Thus Olympic Education is one example of a global, trans-national educational initiative that is taking place outside of traditional national cultural boundaries. Can Olympic Education, however, rooted in a tradition of 19th Century, Western European philosophy, address issues of culture and educational practice in different parts of the world? It is hoped that this presentation will begin a world-wide cross-cultural dialogue on the topic among educators.



[1]. Telama,R., Naul,R., Nupponen, H., Rychtecky, A. & Vuolle, P. (2002). Physical Fitness, Sporting Lifestyles and Olympic Ideals: Cross-Cultural Studies on Youth Sport in Europe. Schorndorf: Hofmann.

[2]. Naul, R. 2002. Olympische Erziehung: Ein integriertes Konzept fuer Schule und Verein. In: Duesseldorf Rhein-Ruhr GmbH (ed.) Weissbuch Olympische Erziehung (pp. B1-B32).Duesseldorf: drr..

[3]. Binder, D. 2002. Olympic odyssey: Facilitating an international Olympic education project. Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation, University of Alberta, Edmonton.

[4]. Freire, P. (1997). Pedagogy of the oppressed. In D. Flinders & S. Thornton (Eds.), The curriculum studies reader (pp. 150-158). New York and London: Routledge.





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