In this second part, we will explore some ways that we as coaches, PE teachers, and trainers can contribute to solving the problems of exclusion and bullying.
What IS the Solution?
The solution seems fairly obvious to me. Find ways to mix competition with cooperation. Instead of choosing your young athletes based on their perceived potential, be about the business of helping all kids enjoy sports. When you see these ego-driven, bullying / dominance situations – discuss this with kids. Ask the right questions to help them understand implications. Do I as a coach or trainer truly understand competition? Do I realize that if there is true competition, we want everyone else to have the same advantages? Otherwise, it seems there is never a true competition.
by Dr. Kwame M Brown
This will be the first of two parts, exploring the connections between social awareness and bullying / exclusion. The purpose of this first part is to call out the issue in the larger scope of the lives of children / teens. The second part will explore some ways those of us who work with children can attempt to change the landscape as it currently exists. Since these articles are appearing in a blog, they will obviously not be a full dissertation, exploring every detail. The purpose here is to start a valuable discussion.
A significant feature of the play environment we provide our children these days is exclusion (from coaches and teams) and bullying (from both peers and coaches). Children who don’t make a team are already made to feel “less than”. Many coaches and teachers tend to value the more talented children, even to the point of excusing certain behaviors. On the flip side, many coaches and teachers engage in bullying behaviors. Yes, these issues have been around for a while, but have greater consequences now with the electronic age. Social media and modern communication devices confer the ability for bullying and exclusion to follow a child around, literally. The obsession we have with elitism, and promoting the elite performers of sports almost exclusively, also may contribute to the behavioral trait of subjugation and ridicule of others.