The “TE IS program” (TE IS literally meaning ‘You, too’, being however a play with word derived from its Hungarian name TEstmozgás az ISkolában, meaning physical activity [PA] in school), developed by the Hungarian School Sport Federation [HSSF], is a school PA program that builds on social inclusion and volunteering through sport that has been introduced in 145 Hungarian primary and secondary schools in the last years. When HSSF began to rethink its approach to PA in the school environment, it built on spontaneous human motivations such as the need for activity, volunteering, social acceptance, the ability and desire to be included. Thus, TE IS has been developed in the cross-sectional view of a complex and practice-oriented school methodological elements, which values are related to the development of children, their competencies, and to the unfolding of their personality, emphasizing the importance of playing, experience, active participation and cooperation. It was extremely important that the emerging school program should fit into the system and culture of our schools, meet the current challenges of school life, and be sustainable.
The main objective of the program is to foster extracurricular PA in schools and strengthen the awareness and the practices of volunteering and social inclusion. TE IS can be used in any school. It is focusing on the formal and non-formal scenes of schools, on extracurricular periods, that offer new possibilities for teaching, learning and development. The program is suitable for giving opportunity and encouraging all students of the school to participate in school PA programs. The basic process of school operation is the interconnected moment of learning and teaching, in which the knowledge contents of the subjects and the components of personal and social relations are mixed. The project aimed to create a framework for social coexistence in school based on acceptance, security, and trust that contributes to the effectiveness of learning and teaching and activates social and personal dynamics.
The drive of TE IS is the school TE IS team, a group of 8 to 15 children who are volunteering to design and implement PA programs for their peers. The whole process of these activities is carried out and coordinated by the members of TE IS team starting from drafting the idea of the PA program until the joint evaluation. Planning, preparation, rulemaking, organizing, implementing, and evaluating, that is, learning leadership skills and abilities are actually taking place in the process, which is a specific but less emphasized area of the interpersonal talent management. If necessary, students can ask for help from the TE IS mentor teachers who were trained before the program to assist children.
The methodology of TE IS was prepared to provide students and teachers with simple, down-to-earth tools to design and organize PA programs to which the TE IS Wheel gives a strong foundation. The TE IS Wheel is in an almost constant cycle in the process of the TE IS Program. The TE IS team is always in one of the “bubbles”. The content of the elements of the TE IS wheel is different in every school, and can continuously be expanded with own experiences, knowledge and results.
The goals of the program primarily target the social dimensions of schools. The core goal is to make social connections in school more active, more dynamic, in which students and teachers mutually encourage and support each other. The purpose of the concept is that joint PA programs developed by the TE IS team of students, shall be realized on the basis of voluntary participation and engagement and thus, through the implementation of sport and joint PA.
TE IS shall foster the evolvement of an inclusive culture in school. The mission and vision of the program in brief: TE IS is helping to develop inclusive, open school communities that are motivating their members to be physically active and that are aiming to strengthen the approach and patterns of positive, health-oriented lifestyles. The program supports and helps the bottom up organization of PA programs with methodologically appropriate means. This is also reflected by the motto of TE IS program: Moving is ours!
The main impact of TE IS is in the quality of social interactions. Students approach, invite and motivate each other to be physically active, their groups become self-organizing entities while they implement sport and physical activity programs that contribute to health-conscious behavior.
In school communities, encouraged by the TE IS team of children with different socio-economic background, students have the opportunity to develop their social and transversal skills and to evolve an inclusive approach through sport and physical activity. During the implementation of TE IS (through self-organization and own ideas) schools are coming up with the most varied and creative solutions to encourage physical activity. The repertoire ranges from short relay games in the breaks to county-level table tennis competitions. The innovation is that the sources of activities are the children themselves. Volunteering and the inclusive approach together contribute to the positive behavior and the forming of an active culture.
Most participating schools are located in disadvantaged regions with social challenges and the conflicts between the majority society and Roma pupils who are represented in a high number. TE IS program is trying to give a possible solution to tackle these challenges.
In 2017, the European Commission established the #BeInclusive Sport Award for the first time, to create a tradition and to acknowledge initiatives using the power of sport to strengthen inclusive approach and inclusive practices. In the same year, 279 applications have arrived for the award from several European countries, and Hungarian School Sport Federation’s TE IS program received the honor of being shortlisted as a candidate for the award among the top 9 applications.
For further information about the project and the program, please click here: https://www.mdsz.hu/en/te-is-2/