BLOG: Thanks to teachers, ASADA’s education doesn’t stop on the field

5 July 2019
Integrity in Sport Teacher Professional Development Workshop in Canberra at the weekend

Anti-doping education might seem like something that only matters to those elite athletes competing on the world stage and being tested.

But ASADA’s education team care about more than just the top 1%.

Director of Education and Innovation Alexis Cooper said ASADA cares about the health of all Australians, and “our education is aimed at preventing doping at every level of sport – from elite all the way to grassroots”.

“Doping goes against the very meaning of sport and the values Australians hold about fair competition. Instilling those values at a young age, while attitudes are still being formed, is crucial,” Cooper said.

That’s why ASADA, in partnership with Sport Australia and the National Integrity of Sport Unit, held our first Integrity in Sport Teacher Professional Development Workshop in Canberra on the weekend with teachers from 14 high schools from around Australia.

The workshop convener, ASADA’s Senior Education Officer Cheryl Kalthofen, said topics included anti-doping, match fixing, illicit drugs in sport, supplements and ethics in sport.

“Sport integrity is actually part of the senior Health and Physical Education national curriculum, and our intention is to help make it as easy as possible for teachers to weave sport integrity into their classrooms,” Kalthofen said.

The workshop focused on enhancing teachers’ knowledge about sport integrity issues, as well as sharing the many educational resources ASADA has developed. In addition, it was an opportunity to brainstorm how else ASADA could support teachers to deliver sport integrity messaging.

“Having the opportunity to engage with like-minded educators from around Australia was an incredible experience … I foresee a lot of collaboration in all of our futures,” she said.

“I am so grateful that the entire group were so open to sharing their thoughts with us on what we are doing well and areas where we could make things even better.”

Kalthofen, who has an education degree, said when they arrived the educators thought ASADA was all about testing and elite sport, but the weekend convinced them the Authority offered “so much more”.

Shane Roberts, a teacher from Palm Beach-Currumbin State High School in Queensland, said he was surprised at the amount of work ASADA was doing to get the clean sport message to athletes of all levels and ages.

“I never realised the work that has been going on behind the scenes at ASADA and how it can actually help us deliver that message,” he said.

One of the problems with school-age athletes, Roberts said, was that they were building habits now that potentially in the future may cause them harm.

“If they’re doing things now that lead to habits that could turn into a positive test later in life or show they are not clean and fair in their sport participation, we need to change those behaviours at that base level.”

Brad Snell agreed. He said ASADA has a “powerful message” – one that would reverberate into students’ homes and the wider sporting community, with teachers’ help.

“If you can infiltrate teachers and then infiltrate students, then the message will naturally continue to get out there,” Snell, from Adelaide’s Wilderness School, said.

Sydney’s Alex Lupton said teachers be would be able to easily incorporate the information gained into their Integrity in Sport curriculum.

The Heathcote High School teacher said schools “are really trying to get more resources and get greater clarification and more current information to actually assist students with their knowledge around all these areas”.

“I’ve previously used the virtual reality and it is interesting to see the engagement of all students,” she said. “So I would assume anything that is hands-on that they see as being prevalent in their day-to-day life - and most of them do play sport on the weekend - that that will impact their learning in a positive way.”

Tasmanian teacher Harrison Hughes, from New Norfolk High School, said he appreciated the opportunity to collaborate with other teachers around Australia.

“Together we’ll try and implement the Integrity In Sport units that we’ve been provided … [and] we’ll try our best to get that message across into our schools.”

Brisbane State High’s Kimberly Rase said she was excited to share her newfound knowledge with her fellow teachers in Queensland and was certain they would introduce it into their curriculum.

“I think they have to,” she said. “I know there are a huge amount of great teachers that will embrace this message. It’s not just about elite athletes, it’s about the health of our whole population.”

** ASADA would like to thank the Australian Council for Health, Physical Education and Recreation (ACHPER) for their support with this initiative.