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Mentorship Key In Character Development

Character and Citizenship Education

Many Singaporeans may recall the moment the sound system failed during the Singapore 2015 Southeast Asian Games Women’s 4x100m Freestyle victory ceremony on 8 June 2015. Singapore’s quartet of Singapore Sports School alumna Amanda Lim Xiang Qi, Christie Chue, Quah Ting Wen and Rachel Tseng were standing on the top rung of the podium as the National Anthem echoed in the OCBC Aquatic Centre. All of a sudden, the Anthem stopped playing. Moments of silence continued before, as one, the voices of Singaporeans in the stands reverberated through the stadium to finish the National Anthem.

Two days later, the crowd in the National Stadium roared as sprint queen Veronica Shanti Pereira breasted the tape in the Women’s 200m final to clinch Singapore’s first gold medal in the event in 42 years.

Fast-forward two years, the Singapore’s bowling men’s team, comprising five Sports School alumni – Basil Dill Ng Jui Chang, Darren Ong Wei Siong, Keith Saw Hui-Xun, Muhammad Jaris Goh Ali Akbar Goh and Timothy Theodore Tham Fu Rong – and Cheah Ray Han, ended Singapore’s gold medal-draught in the SEA Games Men’s Team event after 22 years.

It is moments like these that unite a nation, regardless of language, race, or religion. It is moments like these that show how sport can build a nation.

As national swimmer Pang Sheng Jun shared in a virtual Lessons From The Champions (LFC) video to his Sports School juniors on 4 August 2020, “I feel this chill just go down my spine and I feel a strong sense of national pride” every time that the National Anthem plays while he stands on the podium. “It’s an unforgettable feeling.”

The LFC is an element in Sports School’s customised Character and Citizenship Education programme which seeks to inspire student-athletes to follow their dreams of bringing glory to Singapore, as well as instil the Champion’s Mindset in student-athletes. In alignment with the Ministry of Education’s CCE curriculum, Sports School’s programme also aims to inculcate the values and attributes required of a champion, and build competencies in student-athletes so as to develop them to be good individuals and useful citizens.

Sports School’s CCE programme comprises five key areas: Assembly Programmes, which includes the LFC; National Education; Level Camps; Mentorship and Education and Career Guidance; and Sexuality Education.

In addition to the LFC series which is part of the school’s assembly programme, Mentorship and Education and Career Guidance (ECG) model is also unique in Sports School. Employing the GROW coaching model, academy mentors and coaches, student-athletes set and revise strategies to meet the academic, sport and other personal goals throughout the year to ensure they are on track towards achieving their longer-term dreams. Boarding mentors also regularly look out for the mental and physical well-being of student-athletes. Parents are then updated of their child’s progress during the Parent-Staff-Student-Conference that takes place biannually.

The all-rounded support that student-athletes receive in sport, academics and boarding is coupled with their holistic development in sport, studies and character. To develop student-athletes that embrace the Champion’s Mindset, level camps are customised in collaboration with Outward Bound Singapore to instil the school values of Respect, Integrity, Responsibility, Excellence and Resilience. By the end of their secondary education, each student-athlete would have been to three level camps, typically in their Secondary 1 to Secondary 3 years.

Nationalism is an important aspect of CCE, especially for Sports School student-athletes as they strive to bring glory to Singapore. As they step out into the playing field bearing the national flag on their chest, it is important that student-athletes compete with pride. On top of the opportunities to learn about national pride through the various overseas training and competition stints, national education is also conducted in school through the four commemorative events: Total Defence Day, International Friendship Day, Racial Harmony Day and National Day. Through these events, as well as Learning Journeys, Values in Action activities, and Citizenship Ceremony for Secondary 3s, student-athletes are reminded of their identity as citizens and contribute positively to their communities.

As Singapore celebrates 55 years of independence in unprecedented times as a result of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease) pandemic, it presented Sports School student-athletes an opportunity to look past themselves and spread kindness to the migrant worker community residing along Champions Way. In addition to gifting bags containing food and daily essentials to the workers, student-athletes also caught a glimpse into their lives through a virtual learning journey. The learning journey, which concluded with student-athletes penning notes of appreciation to the workers, sought to raise student-athletes’ awareness of Singapore’s migrant worker situation and develop more empathetic and compassionate citizens.