Jobs Events Advertise

Sport boosting academic outcomes of Indigenous children

Darby Ingram -

Research from the University of South Australia has linked higher participation in sport among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children with better academic performance.

Conducted in partnership with the University of Sydney and the University of Technology Sydney, the study found that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children who played organised sports every year for four years had numeracy skills that were advanced by seven months, compared to children who played less sport.

A world first, the study used data from four consecutive waves of students, following just over 300 students as young as five-years-old to assess their sports participation against academic performance in outcomes from the standardised NAPLAN and PAT tests.

Lead researcher Dr Dot Dumuid from the University of South Australia said while there are limitations to the research, there are theories that could explain the improvement in the academic results.

"While children are playing sport, they're getting exercise and activating parts of the brain that are involved in learning. There may be some direct physical explanation," Dr Dumuid told NIT.

"The children could inadvertently be thinking about maths while they're playing; having to think about how many points you need to win, how much time is left on the clock. We've considered if that's helping.

"There could also be underlying social reasonings, perhaps being part of a club may help with identity, seeing positive role models, having a supportive environment may help with self-esteem and then using those tools at school, and feeling confident learning."

Participation in sport has been linked to better cognitive function and memory in many youth populations, however, this is the first study to confirm the beneficial association among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

Co-researcher and Professor of Indigenous Health Education at UTS John Evans said that encouraging sports in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities could have many other benefits for health and wellbeing.

"Playing sport creates a sense of belonging, and builds self-esteem, coherence and purpose."

"This is especially important for people living in rural and remote areas where opportunities for social interaction and structured activities can be limited," Professor Evans said.

"If we can find ways to encourage greater participation among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities while removing key barriers â€" such as financial costs and lack of transport â€" we could promote healthier living, more cohesive societies while also boosting academic performance among Indigenous children."Â

Dr Dumuid said the study highlights the importance of sports as a strategy to help close the gap between Indigenous students and their non-Indigenous counterparts.

"Playing sport has always had strong cultural importance to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, so understanding how sports can boost numeracy among Indigenous children is a valuable step towards improving health and real disadvantage."Â Â

By Darby Ingram

   Related   

Reece Walsh comments on potential NFL move en-route to NRL's Vegas debut
Broncos young gun Reece Walsh isn’t ruling out pursuing a shift to the NFL after getting a taste of the American game ahead of t...
Jarred Cross 1 Mar 2024
Retired Grand Slam champ Ash Barty shows her skills in quest for NZ Pro-Am Championship
Ash Barty put on her competitive face once again in her quest for the New Zealand Pro-Am Championship with a brilliant chip fr...
NCA NewsWire 1 Mar 2024
Matildas star Fowler backed despite club issues
Matildas coach Tony Gustavsson says Mary Fowler’s significant lack of playing time for Manchester City is not troubling him as...
Ed Bourke 1 Mar 2024
Rankine ready for more midfield minutes in 2024
Adelaide excitement machine Izak Rankine is expecting to spend more time in the midfield in 2024 after completing a solid pre-se...
Jackson Clark 1 Mar 2024

   Darby Ingram   

Gomeroi rapper gives back
Rising star Kobie Dee has had a jam-packed 2021 and with the release of his debut EP in November, the Gomeroi rapper shows no si...
Darby Ingram 3 Nov 2021
Ninth Indigenous person dies from COVID-19 in Western NSW
An Aboriginal man has become the ninth First Nations person to die from COVID-19. The man, who was in his 50s, died at Wellin...
Darby Ingram 12 Oct 2021
Koori-owned heritage firm puts Aboriginal heritage in Aboriginal hands
Aboriginal-owned consulting firm Murrumbidgee Archaeology and Heritage sees Aboriginal heritage placed in Aboriginal hands. P...
Darby Ingram 1 Oct 2021
Dipping into inspiration
Liandra Gaykamangu is the force behind Liandra Swim, a swimsuit brand that combines modern design, traditional patterns and a su...
Darby Ingram 30 Mar 2021