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How can sports help improve education in high school?

A high school I go to is currently experiencing academic difficulties where about 50% of students fail at least one class. This is shocking. I am going to be a senior this year and am concerned about education of my peers. However, my school is good at one thing - sports, especially at soccer. As an athlete and a member of National Honor Society, I would like to find specific ways to implement sports into a learning environment. Some ideas about projects related to sports and academics that can improve my school's academic performance would be helpful and much appreciated.

  • Jul 13 2013: First, prohibit any and all funds collected by government, be they as "taxes", "fees", "bonds", or any other means, from being used for sports. All sports must support themselves like any other extracurricular activity, and this INCLUDES the use of stadiums, gymnasiums, athletic fields, etc. If the Stamp Collecting Club isn't allowed to dip into school district funds to build a special room just for stamp collecting, the football team isn't allowed to dip into school district funds to build a locker room, "training room", field, etc. Second, there probably won't need to be a second. Things will then sort themselves out once sports are no longer allowed to freely parasitize academics.
    • Jul 13 2013: Byran Maloney, thank you.
      You've won the HITS THE NAIL ON THE HEAD award.
      Back in the day.
      Local people were asked to support the building of this or that
      for school events. People would come bringing tools and materials
      and construct what was needed.

      Times changed and small towns grew.
      Instead of keeping schools small, and asking local people to handle
      the needs as they appeared, schools were made larger to handle
      greater masses of children.

      Therein was born the Mill Levy. A very small Tax, As needs grew
      so did Taxes. School needs were no longer handled by the people.

      The start of something big.
      ..Not easy to look back and be concerned. because you folks cannot
      possibly understand, smart though you be.
      You were not around back then.
      ..I was.

      My gift from God was a memory of events from age 2.
      I watched as the school house across the street became more than
      it should have. The Grammar School, the Jr. and High School met
      the needs of a growing population. Lost was the pride of Local People.
      And sadly their interest.
      I offer this: Please Google nationwide, the School Superintendent's
      salaries, retirement benefits, etc. ..You can really get a feeling of
      what has occurred since schools first got started. A roadmap to a
      failed approach.

      But don't stop there. Colleges, Universities, our Government.
      School loans to inexperienced and innocent youth.
      A whole wide world of educational mistakes to see.
      Guess who is running your Government? Harvard Lawyers.
      Arrrrrugh !!!
  • Jul 12 2013: For teenagers,some of them do have speciality in sports,I think shcools should bulid the platform for them to extend their speciality.As long as those teenagers can achieve well in sports,they also can be capable of doing well all kinds of work.
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      Jul 12 2013: I had quite forgotten that in some countries there are schools with a specific educational emphasis on sports.
      • Jul 13 2013: Here in china,we have sports universities which focus on those young people who have speciality in sports:)
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          Jul 13 2013: Yes, I know. I had just forgotten.
          When I was a child my mother told us she had gone to a "sports school." As she grew up in Vienna, I more or less assumed that she described it this way, because all the secondary schools there were called Gymnasium, which in English would suggest a sports facility. So I actually have no idea of whether her school emphasized sports.
      • Jul 13 2013: xxx
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          Jul 13 2013: The young fellow asking the question is talking about high school, though.
      • Jul 14 2013: Lol,sorry,there are high schools for teenagers to extend their specialities in sports too.
  • Jul 11 2013: Sports teach hard work, teamwork, honorable competition, diligence, tenacity, not to give up, and promote good health in general. They develop self-confidence, leadership, and many other personal attributes.

    Academic performance can be improved by some of these lessons.
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    Jul 15 2013: I can't think offhand. Are you saying your school is unusual, that it's experiencing more academic difficulties than other schools? Why would that be? Or are you saying all schools are like this, and trying to think of a way to help all schools?
    • Jul 15 2013: My school isn't unusual, but is behind in academic sphere than other schools in the district. I am not sure why there is a big amount of students failing their classes. Perhaps there is not enough value to education in the minds of our students. I wish to help only my own school. And as stated in my question explanation, my school IS good at sports. I thought sports might increase students' academic performance, but so far I haven't come up with a decent project related to sports and academics.
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        Jul 15 2013: Well, forgive me, Asan, I'm trying to get a picture here. You're saying your school is better than other schools at sports, why would that be? How many people are really touched by soccer, isn't there a pretty limited number of people on the team? How do you even know people are failing their classes, generally when you're a good student don't you mostly interact with other good students, it was that way for me, I was a very good student and my only friends were other good students.
        • Jul 16 2013: You have nothing to apologize for, I appreciate your interaction. Although my school's demographics are diverse, more than 50% of the student body comes from Spanish-speaking areas. We have a lot of Mexicans. Mexicans are amazing soccer players! Even though not everyone makes it to the team, most of them still play soccer in parks and in other leagues outside of the school. My point is that the majority of students love soccer and other sports. As a president of NHS I get information about academics of our students in percents. And as a soccer player myself, I know that my teammates have difficulties with their classes. They pass them only because they have to maintain a certain GPA to be in the team. What about other students who do not have such motivation to learn? All I'm trying to do is to find a way to make those students study and since they love sports, I thought there is a way to implement athletics into academics. Somehow.
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        Jul 16 2013: Did you ask those amazing soccer players/failing students why they didn't do well?
        Did you ask if they want to succeed in school?
        I am going to guess that many don't like books. Unlike yourself, many athletic kids do not learn with their eyes. they learn with their hands and books don't move.. I told you it was an organizational problem. Your schools has classes where students read books and listen to lectures. The school is probably a one note organization and if the students don't/won't learn their way. they fail. The worse part of it, even if you were to devise a scheme that would get your failing students involved in sports and academic program, I would be surprised if the school would adapt it.
        What to do. You are bright. You go to school. You get a PhD in Education. Take a job as a school superintendent. Now, you are in a position to effect change. You can find ways to help students.
        You just have to plan for yourself and achieve those goals.
        • Jul 16 2013: I don't have to talk to them to know why they fail their classes. They just don't really care about education. They do not think globally. They know that education will help them in future, but they do not know how nor why? Why is it important to do your homework on a daily basis or why should they participate in class discussions...

          Also, thank you for your kind words. I do appreciate them!
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        Jul 16 2013: Thanks, Asan, now I have a clearer picture. A couple of ideas that occur to me is you could find out if there are any great books about soccer, for example, has any great soccer player, such as Pele, written his autobiography, you could read it and if you think it's a great book you could recommend it to your friends. It might get them more interested in books to where they'd want to read the books in their classes more.

        You could also go to all the soccer leagues around town and ask if they would require their players to keep a certain GPA, not just at your school. But remember, GPA is an average, even if someone fails one class, they might have a reasonable GPA if they do well in another.

        These aren't great ideas, but they're the best I can think of at the moment. I'm not 100% convinced your idea can work, I know this is a stereotype, but athletes in general might not be the most interested in academics. I wonder if you could set up some kind of tutoring program where the better students help the poorer ones, that seems like it might be more promising.

        If I think of any other ideas, and your conversation is still open, I'll share them. If you want to keep your conversation open longer, click "edit" and you can change it, give it a month. You can also enable email on your TED profile (maybe you already have, I can't check cause then I'll lose what I've written here), if you enable email then people can email their ideas even after your conversation closes.

        You might also go to your school counselor, tell him or her your idea about soccer and academics, and see if they have ideas. Or ask your fellow students. Or the principal of your school. Or go on the Net and see if anyone else has tried or thought about this. Or you could even think about how soccer relates to academic subjects, I'm sure it has aspects of history, psychology, mathematics, physics, and so on, and point these aspects out to your friends.
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        Jul 16 2013: Asan, you could also try pointing out to your friends that very few people can make money playing soccer, and if they want good jobs where they make good money, they'd better get on the academics. You could gather statistics on this so you can make a better case. But do your friends care if they get good jobs and make good money?
        • Jul 16 2013: At this point, NHS is working on some project to find out why our students are failing. Later on, we will take further actions. We do have a tutoring system for those in need, but the problem is that those who fail their classes usually are the ones who do not care about school. And this is where we have to demonstrate the importance of learning. Students to students. We will deal with the whole school, not just athletes.

          By this point I've gathered enough information on this conversation on TED and met different opinions about this matter. Thank you very much for your input! :)
  • Jul 13 2013: Sports or physical exercise is also known to boost educational performance. Mo doubt things like better blood flow to the brain plays a part here. It also mean you stay healthy for longer and can perform better for longer as you age. It keeps your mind sharp.
  • Jul 13 2013: Fritzie, Ooooops !!
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    Jul 13 2013: No, I don't think so.
    You say that you are in the NHS and a skilled soccer player. Your parents should be proud. You are successful and half your school is not. Are the failures on sports teams? Some probably are. So sports didn't help them .
    When a large organization is failing to produce, one begins to look at management for causes. Schools are organizations that can fail due to poor management.
    So, you cause is noble but not practical. Until you know the cause of the failures, there isn't much you can do to fix them.
    • Jul 13 2013: Mike, you are truly the guy who throws the mud upon the wall
      and uses what sticks. hahahahah
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        Jul 15 2013: Not really. I just got an "A" in Organizational Management Class
        • Jul 16 2013: Mike Colera 20+
          I taught that class when we used blackboards and chalk.
          Remember the sound of the chalk?

          Nowadays I coach elderly men to play snooker/billiards/pool.
          3 and 4 cushion shots are my specialty. I am so Organized,
          I use my Management skills to handicap Horse Races, a Class act.
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        Jul 16 2013: A few years ago, I visited a "third world country" where the kids in school had a small slate and chalk at their table/desk. Brought back my 3rd grade memories in a 4 room school house behind the church.
        Oh, and that country is higher on the world scholastic achievement list.
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    Jul 11 2013: Physical activity can enhance cognitive functioning and relieve stress. It can give students a sense of well-being and comraderie. Positive affect of this kind is productive in creative thought and problem solving.

    That said, the relationship between sports participation and academic performance is complex.

    I don't think using sports examples or teaching science through the analysis of sport is likely to have significant benefit in terms of the academic performance of student athletes. The same is true for projects related to sports. I have tried this and offer only my anecdotal impression from my experience with the gambit of bringing sports topics into the math classroom. I have no scientific evidence.

    One challenge with competitive sports participation is that it takes time and commitment. It is good to develop the disposition to give something time and commitment, but the hours students spend committed to competitive sport is not only time that is no longer available for academic work but also can be the student's most alert hours. The homework is then done tired.

    Our soccer player gets home and may feel more like winding down than doing homework.

    Further, an excellent athlete may feel greater reward from his commitment to sports than he does in his academic efforts. This may lead to more and more emphasis on sport over academic effort.

    Does your school base eligibility for sports on passing all classes?
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      Jul 12 2013: Our school is small ... 85% of the students participate in one or more sports. We are a academically excelling rated school. Most of the athletes are honors students. Academics are emphasized. For many years we had trophy cases that displayed only the sports awards. Two years ago I made a case that honored academics ... honor graduates ... college grads ... academic bowl teams ... graduate military members ... and a special section for those we have lost.

      The criteria to participate in sports is C and above in all subjects.

      The great thing here is parental support for the school, student, and ALL programs .... music, drama, science fairs, etc ...

      If a student is struggling then a student support group takes action. The upper grades mentor those in need. It is seldom that teachers have to get involved. We have enjoyed no drop outs or failures to graduate in five years that I am aware of. We are well above state average in all subjects reported. This is of course mostly due to being a small school in a small town.

      By the way ... I use intercept geometry in football, the arc VS straight line for track jumpers, the lean VS erect for runners, the importance of the arc in basketball, etc ... math in action.

      We preach the value of sports and the life lessons ... we also keep our feet on the ground with what is the focus of school and what will be important five // ten /// twenty years from now. With all of our all state athletes not one has gone pro.

      Always enjoy your input. Bob.
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        Jul 12 2013: My son's school has about 85% of the kids participating in competitive sports as well. My son doesn't, competing, rather, in math, but he does take physical education continuously, for which I am grateful.

        His is also a high-performing school. I am sure there are no drop outs.

        At the secondary school where I taught, the soccer teams, volleyball, and basketball were all taken seriously. Many honors students were on these teams as well as on elite teams.

        But I know my kids would never have been able to get all their homework done to their standards had they played sports competitively.

        It is very child-specific.

        I know you are involved in coaching sports. I am not acquainted with the use of math on the field- only sports contexts in the classroom. Sports involving throwing or batting balls are natural in the discussion of quadratics. Basketball is a natural for conditional probability. Baseball is a natural for Pythagorean Theorem. Running is often used in work involving the distinction between constant and variable rates, linear and non-linear functions.
    • Jul 12 2013: "Does your school base eligibility for sports on passing all classes?" Yes, it does. Athletes must maintain a Grade Point Average of at least 2.0.

      These are all valuable comments and inputs. I appreciate them all. Thank you very much. I guess the best way to help out our school through sports is to force all athletes to get help from tutoring systems that our clubs, like National Honor Society, provide throughout the year.
    • Jul 13 2013: What I found is that "physical activity" in a school context was done primarily on a competitive basis. We had to be "fair" and "not arrogant" when talking about academic matters, but the rule didn't apply to physical activities. Of course, if the purpose of a school is just to breed industrial drones, that's probably a good control mechanism. Let the little drones have their vicarious thrills through useless sports. Discourage them from learning to think. That way, there will be fewer effective dissidents later in life.
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        Jul 13 2013: This was not my experience, which is one piece of evidence that this varies from place to place. I know at my son's school, physical education is not competitive unless one is talking about the sports teams. This is good for my son, as he is an exceptional student and at best a mediocre athlete. No one even teases him for it.

        The environment is extremely academic, but like at the school Robert describes, 85% of the kids play competitive sports. It is considered part of being healthy and well-rounded rather than a substitute for academic and personal growth.

        Do you have the same negative impression of playing generally or only of athletic sorts of play?
        • Jul 13 2013: I have a negative impression of institutionally-mandated competition and institutional awards of special privilege on the basis of that competition. College bowl competitors don't get special classrooms built for them AT TAXPAYER EXPENSE. What I object to is the use of "athletics" as a drain on scarce resources in a way that contributes nothing to actual learning. There is a vast difference between instilling healthy practices and irresponsibly frittering away taxpayer funds to build sports palaces and maintain unprofitable sporting enterprises that contribute nothing to overall education. Then, since the "physical education" faculty overlaps heavily with the "sports" faculty, that attitude infects "physical education". If sports truly is so magnificent, let it compete fairly in the open market of ideas and resources WITHOUT special privilege or taxpayer funds. If competition is so wonderful, then let the institutions based on competition compete against other pastimes and hobby groups.
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        Jul 13 2013: The questioner is in high school. I don't think sports are drawing such facilities at the high school level, are they?
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    Jul 11 2013: Sports draws the focus away from the school's mission, which is to educate. Sports is nothing but a distraction and has no place in education.
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        Jul 12 2013: My personal experience with phys ed, as a child as an adult with children, was that they had one goal - to crank out more football players. I've yet to encounter a phys ed program that offered health education, nutrition, body mechanics, mathematics, or science. Perhaps your experience is different, but I'd be hard-pressed to believe it.

        Also, you really must set aside your habit of tacking on a personal insult at the end of each post. It has no place on TED conversations.
        • Jul 13 2013: Laren, thank you.
          He needed that.
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        Jul 12 2013: "It is also common for people that are not good at sports to complain about phys ed."

        Guilty as charged. Still, I could have benefited from health and lifestyle training beyond that which includes throwing, kicking or carrying a ball. But, as I said, the purpose of school phys ed programs is to benefit the team, not the health of the student.

        My original post offered an opinion, which was asked for, your post ended with a needless insult. I had hoped you could see the difference.