I volunteered to help out at a local swimming club on a Saturday morning and a Tuesday evening as part of my community project. It involved supporting younger children who were nervous to swim and also giving them advice on swimming techniques. I am an extremely confident swimmer myself which is why I chose this project as I felt I would be beneficial for the club and I could improve a variety of skills which will help me as a student teacher.
There was a range of abilities from complete beginners who were scared of the water in comparison to children being able to swim many lengths confidently. I was extremely surprised to see how the teacher was able to respond to things happening such as when children did not feel well, forgetting goggles and much more. The tea cher dealt with this extremely well. He kept each child interested and engaged through a variety of different ways such as constantly getting them to swim, putting them into groups with their friends so they are comfortable with each other and many more. The amount of swimming I saw in each 45 minute session in the club was very surprising. There were many challenges whilst I was helping out. These included the poolside being small and a concise area. This meant it was hard to hear the children when they were struggling or needing support as the poolside was very noisy. A few children had medical conditions so I had to know about each child’s medical history to allow myself to understand and be able to support each child. As the swimming club had roughly 20 children per session, I found it difficult to have every child’s attention quickly as possible. This meant time was sometimes wasted.
I have learnt more about the importance of professional skills through this community project such as communication with children, confidence, being organised with lessons and activities to match each lesson to suit a range of abilities.
Helping out at this club allowed me to research more about swimming overall and how beneficial it can be for the quality of life. ACTIVE (2019) suggests that swimming helps swimmers to improve their metabolism to be able to last longer during exercise. It also helps the muscles to not be painful. This results in more energy being burned off. Team and Team (2019) reinforces these positive impacts as they suggest that by swimming can help people to live a longer life and have a better mind frame and healthier heart. These reasons highlight the positive effect swimming has on the quality of life for people today and how swimming can also help the National Health service by reducing the number of people needing to go to hospital due to heart problems, chronic illnesses and much more.
Obesity in children is very high in the UK. Scottish Government (2018) highlights this through a survey which was taken in 2017. This survey showed that 26% of children between the ages of 2 and 15 are at high risk of being overweight. Also, it was shown that 13% of these children are at risk of obesity. Swimming is seen to be highly recommended to help children with obesity as this sport helps children to lose body fat (Lee and Oh, 2014).
During this placement I asked the pupils at the club how they felt about swimming and if they enjoyed it. I had very different perspectives from the children which was extremely useful in allowing myself to see their feelings towards their learning and the club. All the children seemed to enjoy it very much however some children in particular such as the younger pupils had said it can be difficult for them at times and can be too much for them. This then allowed me and the teacher to adapt to the lesson to help each child feel more comfortable when swimming and meet each of their abilities. It has been found that teachers who ask their students for their feelings towards their learning gives teachers the opportunity to adapt their skills to support their pupils learning and improve when needed (Angelo, 1998).
I learnt many skills such as time management, confidence and many more. Barge (2019) states that helping the community benefits in many ways. I have improved many skills such as communication, management and many more.I felt very nervous but the more I helped out, the more confident I became when supporting the children. When speaking to the public for example- speaking to the parents and explaining to the parents what the aim was each week for the children or if there was ever any problems. I look forward to using these skills as a student teacher.
- ACTIVE.com. (2019). 9 Good Reasons Why You Should Get in the Pool. [online] Available at: https://www.active.com/swimming/articles/9-good-reasons-why-you-should-get-in-the-pool [Accessed 26 Nov. 2019].
- Angelo, T.A. (ed.). Classroom Assessment and Research: An Update on Uses, Approaches, and Research Findings. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, no. 75. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1998.
- Barge, M. (2019). Benefits of Community Service For You. [online] Blog.prepscholar.com. Available at: https://blog.prepscholar.com/benefits-of-community-service [Accessed 27 Nov. 2019].
- Scottish Government (2018). Growing Up In Scotland: Overweight And Obesity At Age 10 – Gov.Scot. [online] Gov.scot. Available at: <https://www.gov.scot/publications/growing-up-scotland-overweight-obesity-age-10/pages/3/> [Accessed 29 April 2020].
- Team, H. and Team, H. (2019). Health Benefits of Swimming – Swimming health benefits. [online] HealthStatus. Available at: https://www.healthstatus.com/health_blog/plan-for-weight-loss/health-benefits-swimming/ [Accessed 27 Nov. 2019].
- Lee, B. and Oh, D., 2014. The effects of aquatic exercise on body composition, physical fitness, and vascular compliance of obese elementary students. Journal of Exercise Rehabilitation, 10(3), pp.184-190.