Conference Explores the Links Between Physical Activity and Learning

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In mid-October the Professional Learning Hub @NIST was the proud host of the third annual International Association of Athletic Administrators & Coaches (IAAAC) Conference. The IAAAC is the only conference in the world dedicated to providing outstanding professional development and networking opportunities to international sport educators. This year the conference, which was oversubscribed, featured professional speakers, athletic administrators, coaches and PE teachers from around the world.

Kicking off the conference was keynote speaker Lynn Kachmarik from the University of Notre Dame (USA), who leads the Play Like A Champion Today program at the university. Setting the tone, she focused on the development of character through sport. With sessions in coaching, differing sports, connections between physical activity and academic performance, and safety, the conference provided a firm grounding in the importance of physical activity in education. With our school as a host, participants also benefits from hands-on workshops in our Sports Complex, with volunteer NIST students taking part.

According to the US-based National Association for Sport and Physical Education & Council of Physical Education for Children, better attendance, a more positive attitude toward school, and superior academic performance can all result from regular physical activity. Even more importantly, the US Department of Health and Human Services found that while these positive benefits may emerge for many children by increasing opportunities for physical activity in schools, cutting back on those opportunities leads to negative consequences. (See the full study here.)

NIST maintains a strong emphasis on physical activity in the curriculum, as well as a balanced lifestyle and diet, promoted through NIST Catering‘s services. By engaging students through our ECAs and recreational programmes, we ensure that they are balanced, and physically and mentally healthy. The IAAAC Conference provides a way to further train our staff in developing these programmes, and the IAAAC and NIST aim to establish further ties in the future to offer more opportunities to physical education educators around the world.

Photos of the conference can be found in our Zenfolio album.