COMPETITION: HEALTHY VERSUS UN-HEALTHY

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COMPETITION: HEALTHY VERSUS UN-HEALTHY

Richard Wise

The debate around competition has been going for many years – should children and young people participate individually and in teams against one another? With some schools banning ‘traditional’ events such as sports days in a move to reduce what is seen as the negative impact of losing, is this the best way to help or are students ultimately the ones losing out?

UNHEALTHY COMPETITION

Competition has long been a part of most young people’s school day experience – from sports teams and debating societies to inter-house championships and student performance league tables. But over the years, the argument against these kinds of competitive activities has grown, largely centered around some of the psychological repercussions of being in a potentially cut throat environment. Unhealthy competition can lead to young people suffering from insecurity and low self esteem as a result of the strong need for validation and attention they may receive when they win at something. This can also lead to cases of severe magnification, where seemingly unimportant events are treated by students as the most crucial happening, and should they not achieve a top result, deep depressions can follow. These are extreme examples, but what is interesting to note is that it is not the activities themselves which cause the most harm, but rather young people’s perception of winning and losing.

HEALTHY COMPETITION

Whether we want them to or not, people begin competing from a relatively young age – youngsters always want to be the one at the front of the line or the one chosen to feed the class pet. And this follows them throughout their lives into adulthood – indeed, job searching is one of the biggest competitions many of us face, and it’s this that forms the argument for keeping competition in schools. The important element for educators and coaches is to focus students’ attention on the values of healthy competition. Realising that it’s okay to not win all the time and to see that as an opportunity to improve one’s personal level. Showing good sportsmanship towards fellow team mates and opposing teams improves positive communication skills and fosters friendships. Learning respect and humility from following referees decisions, and accepting that often players don’t have all the correct information to make a judgement call whilst the referee does.

Ultimately, what benefits students will get from competing in teams and individually lies largely with the supervisors around them – teachers, coaches, instructors and parents in particular. As long as the focus is on the positive elements, and any negativity is taken as a chance to be built upon, young people can learn and thrive whilst having fun.

ARE WISEUP ACTIVITY DAYS COMPETITIVE?

Here at WiseUp, we do enjoy a bit of healthy competition. However, all of our activity days are structured in such a way that they can be run to suit the needs of each different school we work with, so if a school wants the focus of the day to be on a different aspect, that is absolutely not a problem. Our Activities Manager works closely with the lead teacher prior to every event to ensure the aims of the school are met.

GET IN TOUCH 

If you would like to hear how our team can provide full or half day team building events at your school site, please use our easy enquiry form or give us a call. 

EMPLOYABILITY SKILLS

Richard Wise

With many students getting ready to sit their final Exams, thoughts of full time employment will already be on many of their minds. However, academic excellence won’t necessarily guarantee anyone their dream career, especially in today’s highly competitive job market. More and more, companies are placing a higher value on candidates employability skills, with many admitting they are more desirable than top grades.

WHAT ARE EMPLOYABILITY SKILLS ?

Often referred to as “soft skills,” these are the traits that employers most want to see in job applicants. In a report commissioned by the Edge Foundation entitled “Employers Perceptions of the employability skills of new graduates” team work and problem solving were the top desirable traits listed. Others, such as leadership, flexibility, communication and good interpersonal skills are all essential in order to succeed in the 21st century work force. As an ever growing number of companies re-format their current employees into new team-focused dynamics rather than the traditional hierarchal structure, school and university graduates hoping to join their ranks really need to be able to show their strengths as a team player.

HOW CAN WISEUP HELP? 

As our company name implies, team building is what we do! Our highly engaging activity days have a strong focus on improving students’ interactions with one another as they complete a range of physically and mentally challenging tasks. Only by working together as a cohesive unit will teams be able to complete our activities, communicating ideas and supporting one another throughout the event. Each one of our team building activity days can be tailored to focus on a particular skill and link to the work environment outside of school.

GET IN TOUCH

If you would like to hear how our team can build your students soft skills base at your school site, please use our easy enquiry form or give us a call. 

5 WAYS OF FITTING IN FUN OUTDOORS TOGETHER

Richard Wise

Playing in the great outdoors has always been a big part of many people’s childhoods. Building forts. Climbing trees, looking for the perfect conker – all brilliant memories. However, a recent study found that most children now spend less time outside than prisoners, with the average amount being just 16 minutes a day! There are many different factors attributed to this, almost too many to mention, but rather than focusing on why this worrying trend is happening, we at WiseUp like to find ways to end it. One of the simplest ways to encourage children and young people to spend time out of doors is for parents, carers and guardians to do it with them. While it’s not always possible for adults to dedicate a whole day to playing outside, there are lots of ways to enjoy being out in the fresh air even for shorter periods of time.

HAVE A PICNIC MEAL OUTSIDE

We all have to eat, so why not turn an ordinary meal into something different. Pack up the pasta, wrap up the Weetabix and enjoy breakfast, lunch or dinner outside.

COLLECT TREE RUBBINGS

Take a piece of paper and hold it against a tree. Use a pencil or crayon to lightly shade over the page as it is pressed up against the trunk and watch the pattern of the bark appear. Each variety of tree has a different pattern – see how many you can collect, and then investigate what trees they have come from. This can also be done with leaves!

LOOK UP TO THE SKIES

Take a few minutes on a clear night to look up at the stars and see what constellations you can find.  There are some great smartphone apps that will help by scanning the sky and giving information about the science and history of star groups. If you are really luck, you might just see a shooting star – Make a wish!

If going outside at night is not really your thing, cloud gazing can be just as much fun. Lay on your back and watch the white puffy clouds change shape – try to figure out what they are and what they are changing into. Whilst stars already have their own stories, with clouds you can indulge your imagination by making up your own about the ever-changing shapes.

CREATE NATURAL JEWELLERY

See who can create the most beautiful natural necklace, bracelet or ring. Use the traditional daisy chain method with added elements for a bit more “bling” by slitting the stem of the daisies with your thumbnail and threading them through one another. For a different look, try rolling a wide piece of sellotape loosely around your wrist with the sticky side up. Then go searching for pieces of coloured leaves, feathers and flowers from the ground to stick on (Please don’t pick anything that is still living – we don’t want to hurt the trees or plants!)

TRY GROWING YOUR OWN PLANT

Get a container, a bit of soil, some seeds and away you go! Sunflowers are a great one to start with, or how about some yummy herbs, like parsley, basil or rosemary? Small pots are easily maintained on a balcony or even tucked to  one side of a communal garden space. Even better, if you live near a local park, speak to the gardeners there about helping to water the plants or pot new seedlings.

GET IN TOUCH

No matter what the size or location of your site, WiseUp are able to bring a variety of activities and challenges to get young people out into the fresh air, no matter what the weather. Our events are designed to fit around normal school timetables, scout group meetings and afte school or weekend activity groups, meaning no disruption to normal schedules. Please feel free to give us a call, drop us an email or use our easy enquiry form to see what we can offer.

LOSING OUR TOUCH

Richard Wise

Imagine going to the doctor with a simple cut and not being able to have it stitched. Not because of a lack of materials, but because the doctor simply wasn’t able to perform the procedure. Roger Kneebone, a professor of surgical education at Imperial College London, thinks this is precisely what may happen in the not too distant future. Whilst the academic standard of medical students remains high, he says that many now lack the physical dexterity to perform even simple medical tasks with their hands. This “lack [of] tactile general knowledge,” he believes, comes from students spending too much time in front of 2 dimensional devices and not enough time handling materials, cutting textiles or learning woodwork. Whilst these are skills that many of us learned at school without even realising it, learners are now leaving education “less competent and less confident” in using their hands.

How can traditional outdoor education help?

From simple tasks such as gathering materials for building shelters and foraging for berries, to the more complex elements of wood whittling and snare setting, almost all bushcraft and survival skills require hands on, practical application. Here are just a few more examples of how these kinds of sessions will improve learnings finger co-ordination:

Fire lighting

Beginning with collecting tinder, kindling and different sizes and varieties of fuel, setting and lighting a fire is a great way to work on hand-eye coordination and skills. Laying the beginning of a fire requires gentle and strategic placement of materials to allow for the flow of oxygen and the growth of the fire. Using traditional firelighting techniques such as hand and bow drillsor a flint and steel exercises the hands and fingers in a range of different ways.

knot tying

From simple hitches and stopper knots to more complicated quick release and alpine knots, rope tying is the perfect way to improve learners finger finesse (try tying a one handed bowline!) Sessions such as shelter and raft building utilize these skills in a practical and fun way.

Basic tools

Creating tools often requires just as much skill as using them. Handmade cooking utensils such as spoons present a fantastic and useful whittling activity. For even more of a challenge, hand crafted musical instruments and pencils encourage prolonged use for those with an artistic streak.

GET IN TOUCH

Here at WiseUp, we believe in students getting physically stuck into as many challenges as possible. Our extensive range of bushcraft sessions cover all of the skills discussed in this article and more. Our teambuilding activities encourage learners to use a variety of equipment to practically solve a range of challenges. To find out how we can helo your students improve their hands on skills, please use our easy enquiry form or give us a call.

 

5 FUN DAYS TO CELEBARTE IN MARCH

Richard Wise

With Christmas already feeling like it was forever ago, and still a while to go until Easter, many people may feel like March is a bit of a dull month. Never fear – here at WiseUp we are big fans of celebrating the small stuff and here are a few of our favourite days in March for everyone to enjoy.

1 March: World compliment day

Started in the Netherlands in 2001, this day aims to be the “most positive day in the world” and is purely about spreading happiness. Never underestimate the value of the words we say to one another – just one kind phrase can completely transform someone’s day, week, month or even life! It also makes the speaker feel really good. and get that warm fuzzy feeling inside. Try giving a compliment to everyone you meet today and watch the smiles appear 😊.

14 March: Pi Day

Using the American date format (MM/DD/YYYY), this day celebrates the mathematical formula of 3.14 – Pi! Not just one for those who like numbers, but also a grate day for those of us who love to indulge occasionally in baked goods, both sweet and savoury. Some countries and areas are especially known for their pies, like Australia’s meat pie, the great Cornish pasty and the classic American pumpkin pie. Why not try baking a pie today? Or sample one that you have never tasted? Mmmmm, pie…….

20 March: world storytelling day

Traditionally celebrated on the Spring equinox in the North Hemisphere, this imaginative day was first observed in Sweden in the early 1990’s. It encourages people both young and old to get together and indulge in old stories, as well as create entirely new ones. Since 2004, every year has had a different theme – 2019’s is “Myths, Legends and Epics.” Why not ask an older person to share a story from their childhood or investigate if there are any mythical legends in your local area?

28 March: Something on a stick day

There is just something about food that makes it taste even better when eaten off a stick! In some countries like Thailand, a range of sweet and savoury foods are sold on sticks by street vendors, including some that you won’t have tried anywhere else – fancy a grasshopper skewer to snack on? Greek kebabs are a tasty and different way to enjoy meat and vegetables cooked together, while Chinese cuisine brings to mind delicious satay skewers. How about experimenting with various foods on sticks today and see which works best? Or enjoy one of the “on a stick” classics such as a fondue or toasted marshmallows for a sweet treat?

30 March: Take a walk in the park day

As an outdoor based company, it’s clear to see why we at WiseUp enjoy celebrating this day! Not only is it a great way to explore different places, there are all the fantastic health benefits too. Just 30 minutes a day can lower the risk of many types of ailments, as well as boot people’s mood and reduce stress. Take some time today to enjoy your local park, or try visiting a new one if you’re feeling adventurous!

Get in touch

If you are looking for something a bit different to do this March with the young people you work with, have a look around the website to see the many activities that WiseUp can bring to you. Use our easy enquiry form, drop us an email or give us a call if you have any questions or would like to make a booking.

GROWTH MINDSET : THE LANGUAGE WE USE

Richard Wise

Last month we wrote a post on Growth Mindset – what it actually means and the science behind it. Often, educators know the theory behind the mindset, but struggle to find ways of implementing it in a meaningful, long term way. Many schools host assemblies and whole PSHE classes on the topic, which is a great start, however the best results come from those who continue to reinforce the ethos every day. For some teachers and student support workers, knowing where to begin can be a bit daunting, but it’s actually much easier to slot into lessons than many realise.

A large part of helping young people to develop a positive growth mindset rests on the language which people around them use, and that which they use in themselves. As far back as 20 years ago, studies revealed that a subtle change in how students were praised could lead to a dramatic shift in their behaviour. One example showed that children who were praised for their effort enjoyed tasks much more than children who were praised for their intelligence. They were also found to perform much better in future tasks compared to their peers. By using positive language to enhance the idea that learning is not always straightforward, this encourages students to choose more difficult tasks to stretch themselves.

ASSESSING ATTAINMENT USING GROWTH MINDSET

How educators present assessment tasks such as tests and projects can have a massive impact on a learners approach to these. Over 40 years ago, one psychologist in America studied how primary school students viewed an upcoming test. Those who viewed it as an opportunity to compare themselves against their classmates tended to be more vulnerable to failure which could have a direct impact on their self-esteem. Other students approached the test in a more task orientated way and used it as a chance to see how much they had learned. Task orientation has since been associated with many positive learning impacts, such as better motivation, confidence and reduced anxiety.

By adapting the language we use when addressing students, this in turn has an impact on the language they use when addressing themselves. Self talk affects how people think, feel and ultimately perform and encouraging positive, open and growing thoughts will help young people manage their nerves, improve creativity and increase their persistence and motivation.

HOW CAN WE HELP

All of our instructors at WiseUp Team Building are specifically trained to use language which encourages the personal growth mindset of every student we work with. A study done on “Knowing your Limits” found that people are often not the best indicators of their best efforts and when challenged, may surpass their own expectations. Our instructors work hard to help learners realise their personal and combined team potential, and to use metacognitive questions such as “what could I do differently” to continue to improve. Not only do we ensure that our activity days are enjoyable and challenging, they are also jam packed full of useful techniques and tools which young people can take away with them and apply both in and outside the classroom to further their life learning.

GET IN TOUCH

If you would like to hear how our team can provide challenging team building days to improve student’s growth mindset at your school site, please use our easy enquiry form or give us a call.

 

GROWTH MINDSET : WHAT’S ALL THE HYPE ABOUT?

Richard Wise

As one of the main educational buzzwords of the last few years, those working in schools and colleges have heard and used the term “Growth Mindset” a fair amount. But what does this actually mean and how can it be applied both in and outside the classroom to enhance learning?

Psychologist Carol Dweck coined the phrase over 30 years ago to describe the underlying beliefs people have about learning and intelligence. The contrasting “Fixed Mindset” assumes that intelligence and creative ability are natural givens that people are either born with or without. Research has found that students with this thought process see new events as a test and equate making mistakes with having low levels of ability, which can in turn lead to them deliberately choosing easier tasks for fear of looking bad.

HOW CAN THIS CHANGE?

Recently, there has been a positive move towards correcting these misconceptions after extensive studies proved that learners tend to achieve more when they worry less about looking smart and put more energy into learning. Key to cultivating this attitude is the idea that intelligence can develop, and that effort leads to success. When encountering something they are not able to do yet, students with a growth mindset learn more. This is because they see the struggle as a natural part of getting better at something. They are also able to recognise when they need help and are not afraid to ask for it from their teachers.

IS THERE ANY HARD EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT THIS?

Backing up the psychological research is fascinating scientific evidence that people are actually able to increase growth of their brain neurons by the actions they take, such as using good strategies, asking questions, practising, and following good nutrition and sleep habits. Brain plasticity studies have revealed if students believe their brains can grow, they behave differently, leading to increased academic achievement which in turn can help narrow achievement gaps.

HOW CAN WISEUP TEAM BUILDING HELP SCHOOLS ENCOURAGE GROWTH MINDSET?

Outdoor education is a fantastic way of fostering a healthy growth mindset in students by providing a variety of challenges that are specifically designed to encourage appropriate risk taking. Young people are able to gain important and useful lessons even if a task does not meet it’s original goals as the learning outcomes are much more flexible. WiseUp Team Building strongly supports this ethos with a range of activities which inspire learners to capitalise on their setbacks in order to move forward effectively.

GET IN TOUCH

If you would like to hear how our team can provide team building days to boost student’s growth mindset at your school site, please use our easy enquiry form or give us a call.

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 EASY MICRO-ADVENTURES TO TRY THIS SUMMER

Richard Wise

The term “microadventure” was made common by British adventurer Alistair Humphreys to describe a trip or experience that is short, cheap, easy and exciting. By removing the barriers that so often prevent people from exploring, such as financial cost, long lengths of time and lack of experience, microadventures encourage even the most hesitant of people to try their hand at something a little different to their everyday experiences. We have listed 5 simple microadventures to try this summer and hope that once people give them a try, they will feel more confident to go out and have many more!

1. BUILD YOUR OWN SHELTER AND SLEEP IN IT

This can be done either inside or outside. If you live in a flat or have no outside space, use sofa cushions, dining table chairs, bed sheets and blankets to create a comfortable indoor shelter. Try adding fairy lights to make it a bit more cosy!

If you have a garden, or access to some outside space where you feel safe, you can use a small tarp or foliage that has fallen from trees or bushes to make your temporary shelter – make sure it’s secure and won’t fall down!

2. RIDE A BUS OR TRAIN TO THE END OF THE LINE

Have you ever wondered where the bus or train you use to get to school or work everyday actually goes to? Try staying on until the end of the line on a day off and explore the area around there. If you have been there before, pick somewhere different on the route map to explore – always pass a park that looks great to chill out in? Or a shop you have always wanted to go inside? Or maybe it’s just somewhere with a really funny name (we have a few of those near our Base here in Kent! Anyone fancy a visit to Sandwich?!) Hop off and check them out!

3. VOLUNTEER SOMEWHERE NEW

Try volunteering for a day at a dog and cat shelter or local wildlife park if you like animals. If people are more your thing, many events need volunteers to help out – Things like fun runs and other sporting activities are always a great way of spending a day meeting people and doing something different. You might be asked to pass out water or throw paint powder at runners going past, or maybe show people where to go at a music festival. Some events even give volunteers free entrance to the rest of the event or future dates if you give them a bit of your time.

4. CREATE YOUR OWN SCAVENGER HUNT

Create a scavenger hunt of places to go and things to find in your local area and either go out and do it yourself, in a group or even make teams and compete against your friends. Ideas of items to tick off could be to take a photo of yourself in front of 5 yellow cars, or to be dressed in the same items of clothing as a mannequin in a shop. You could have to find 3 different coloured leaves or a street name containing the letters W and I – the possibilities are endless! Creating the hunt can be just as much fun as the actual adventure itself!

5. LEARN 5 WORDS OR PHRASES OF A DIFFERENT LANGUAGE AND FIND SOMEONE TO SAY THEM TO

Learning a new language is a skill that will always come in handy! You never know when you many need to say “Hello” to someone in Chinese or Zulu. Pick a language that you haven’t studied before and find out how to say simple things like “Thank you,” “My Name is….” and “That’s beautiful” Then go out and find someone to try them with! With people originating from so many different countries now settling in the UK, the opportunities to try out new languages are plentiful. Often, there are programs to bring together speakers of different languages so look what’s available in your area. Also, consider learning a bit of sign language!

KEEP ON ADVENTURING!

WiseUp have a whole host of exciting activities for young people to try without needed to travel long distances to an expensive outdoor centre. Our events can be run at any site available, from school fields, halls and classrooms to local parks and scout centres. Please fill in one of our easy enquiry forms for more information on sessions we offer, including our hands on Bushcraft Challenge and Orienteering exploration.

EMPLOYABILITY SKILLS

Richard Wise

With many students getting ready to sit their final Exams, thoughts of full time employment will already be on many of their minds. However, academic excellence won’t necessarily guarantee anyone their dream career, especially in today’s highly competitive job market. More and more, companies are placing a higher value on candidates employability skills, with many admitting they are more desirable than top grades.

WHAT ARE EMPLOYABILITY SKILLS ?

Often referred to as “soft skills,” these are the traits that employers most want to see in job applicants. In a report commissioned by the Edge Foundation entitled “Employers Perceptions of the employability skills of new graduates” team work and problem solving were the top desirable traits listed. Others, such as leadership, flexibility, communication and good interpersonal skills are all essential in order to succeed in the 21st century work force. As an ever growing number of companies re-format their current employees into new team-focused dynamics rather than the traditional hierarchal structure, school and university graduates hoping to join their ranks really need to be able to show their strengths as a team player.

HOW CAN WISEUP HELP?

As our company name implies, team building is what we do! Our highly engaging activity days have a strong focus on improving students’ interactions with one another as they complete a range of physically and mentally challenging tasks. Only by working together as a cohesive unit will teams be able to complete our activities, communicating ideas and supporting one another throughout the event. Each one of our team building activity days can be tailored to focus on a particular skill and link to the work environment outside of school.

GET IN TOUCH

If you would like to hear how our team can build your students soft skills base at your school site, please use our easy enquiry form or give us a call.

 

 

 

 

Targeting Archery in OUTDOOR EDUCATION

Richard Wise

Archery is a standard feature of almost every adventure education experience, with many students often claiming it was their favourite part of a day or residential. But why in particular has this age old sport become such a staple in the outdoor pursuits industry?

Archery through the ages

Having been documented as being used by the ancient Egyptians at least 5,000 years ago, archery has featured prominently in historical weaponry around the world. From China and Japan, across the Middle East to Turkey and Greece, the bow and arrow had a formidable reputation. The English longbow, which became a force in the Middle Ages, was particularly ruthless. It was said that during the Battle of Crecy in 1346, 6,000 English archers launched 42,000 arrows per minute.

A weapon of sport

The invention of firearms saw archery become obsolete from a military perspective, however around the 18th century it enjoyed a fashionable revival as an aristocratic past time. In 1844, the Grand National Archery Society held a meeting to turn archery into a modern sport. The following decade saw many of the rules introduced that we still use today. Included in the Olympics sporadically from 1900-1972, it is now a permanent fixture in both the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

What are the benefits?

Archery has a string of physical health benefits such as improving upper body strength, balance and co-ordination. It also improves metal focus and teaches key life skills such as personal safety, resilience and patience as participants practice and refine their aim. Games introduce an important element of fun, with team challenged bringing together individual shooters into a cohesive unit. What’s also fantastic is that archery is a sport that is easily accessible to all, including those with mental and physical disabilities. There are a whole host of tactile devices that have been designed to ensure everyone can take part.

GET IN TOUCH

If you would like to hear how our team can provide affordable Archery days at your school site, please use our easy enquiry form or give us a call.