In our third story in the Social Inclusion series, we take a look at ‘Jockey Club All About Rugby Programme,’ ‘Tackling Language with Kadoorie Foundation’ and ‘Rugby English Active Learning (REAL) Program with SCOLAR’ — three programs that leverage the power of rugby to help students learn life skills, develop language confidence, and provide authentic second-language learning opportunities in a supportive environment.
Sport as a Universal Language
Participation in sports or joining a sports club teaches students invaluable lessons such as teamwork and discipline, and instills a sense of belonging. Communication barriers are effortlessly overcome because sport acts as a common language for students from minority cultural and linguistic backgrounds.
While discrimination can make it very challenging for children and youth from disadvantaged groups to participate fully in their community, sport can improve their confidence and help them practice language skills in supportive environments with their peers. Studies have demonstrated that physical activity helps improve the ability to learn a language, enhancing cognition, memory and concentration, while simultaneously putting language into a real world context.
Our ongoing Social Inclusion programs help students and youth from the margins better integrate into the community and become active citizens through play-based learning, improve their health and wellbeing, and find new confidence in their abilities. Three of our projects — ‘Jockey Club All About Rugby,’ ‘Tackling Language with Kadoorie Foundation’ and ‘Rugby English Active Learning (REAL) Program with SCOLAR’ — aim to help participants learn life and language skills in a positive, supportive environment.
Jockey Club All About Rugby — IBEL — Infusing Cantonese into Rugby lessons
The Jockey Club "All About Rugby" Program is a project that provides age-specific value-based curriculum to promote children’s mental and physical wellbeing.
Integrated Brilliant Education (IBEL) is a charity providing after-school care and academic support to non-Chinese speaking children from Nepal, the Philippines, Pakistan, Indonesia and other nationalities. Many immigrant children who are new to Hong Kong are placed in schools where Chinese is the predominant language. When some families move here, they do not have the resources to learn or teach their children the language.
At Rugby For Good, the children have an opportunity to play a sport and engage in physical activity. Since many participants do not have access to outdoor spaces on a day-to-day basis, this allows them an opportunity to improve their physical well-being, and enjoy the benefits of a healthy and active lifestyle. The first IBEL Fun Day of the year was held on May 13 2023. The coaches delivered the session in Cantonese so they begin to gain familiarity with basic everyday phrases and to improve their language skills in a friendly environment.
This Fun Day was made even more special as the participants were able meet and greet players from the Hong Kong China XVs Program, who were training just across them. They took photos and souvenirs back home.
In addition to rugby training, the program also teaches the core values of rugby and life skills to improve the physical and mental health of students. Empowered students find it easier to solve problems when facing adversities in school or in the community.
Tackling Language with Kadoorie Foundation
Tackling Language uses rugby as a medium to promote social inclusion by facilitating the integration of Secondary school students from different cultural and language backgrounds. We leverage the core values and team nature of rugby to increase the value participants place on second language learning and develop the language confidence required for them to thrive within and outside of school.
The second inter-school joint training was held at Tin Shui Wai Community Recreation Ground on Friday May 19 2023, with students joining from Methodist Lee Wai Lee College, HKSYC&IA Chan Nam Chong Memorial College and Man Kwan Pak Kau College.
During the session, they were divided into small groups that were designed so that they could mix and mingle with one another. After the rugby training, they sat together as a group with discussions facilitated by our coaching team. Students representing different backgrounds were able to have positive and meaningful interactions with one another, with a view to break cross-cultural barriers.
Rugby English Active Learning (REAL) Program with SCOLAR
The objective of the REAL Program is to provide authentic second-language learning opportunities in an environment that supports primary school students to boost their confidence in speaking English. Participants have an opportunity to participate in non-contact TRY rugby as they also develop an interest in the sport by engaging with English language texts and stories focused on the sport. Through a combination of play and reading, participants learn about rugby and its core values including discipline, teamwork and respect. REAL Program is currently being delivered, with 51 enrolled schools with over a thousand students learning English through rugby.
Coming Up: Sports for Wellbeing
If you haven’t already, check out our other stories in the Sports for Inclusion series — ‘All Aboard! Building a Stronger, More Inclusive Community with Rugby’ and ‘Sport for all: Deaf and ADHD-Inclusive Community Rugby at Rugby For Good’.
Next time, we spotlight our other ongoing Sports for Wellbeing projects that champion wellbeing, and how we’re using sports to nurture physical and mental wellbeing and positive social change by actively engaging with the community. Stay tuned!