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Seeing is Believing – the Education Programme Pilot

Para Sport Champion Jaden Movold with tamariki at Ellerslie School

Seeing is Believing – the Paralympic Education Programme, aims to change perceptions of disability through the lens of Paralympians, Para athletes, and the Paralympic Movement. The pilot of Seeing is Believing was a project within the Paralympics New Zealand Strengthen and Adapt Plan. 

See also: the Seeing is Believing main page.

Seeing is Believing was piloted in 20 schools across 4 regions in New Zealand, from October – December 2022. The I’mPOSSIBLE modules and Harvey Norman Para Sport Champions initiatives connected with tamariki, their teachers, and schools by opening minds and challenging perceptions, behaviours and choices. After huge success, Seeing is Believing has now been launched nationwide. Seeing is Believing had a huge impact on the 20 pilot schools who engaged with the programme. Prior to involvement in the pilot 90% of teachers didn’t have a strong understanding of inclusion in the classroom. Following the pilot 53% rated themselves as having a strong understanding of inclusion in their classroom.

“I was really impressed with the wide range of lessons provided on the website. They provide a huge amount of variety and sources of information form the Paralympics to the values that athletes live by.  I like that lessons are stimulating and varied, a lot of visual stuff there as well which is good for oral discussion.”

Participating Teacher

Go to Seeing is Believing website

What was delivered?

Seeing is Believing consists of two parts. the adapted I’mPOSSIBLE resources and secondly the Harvey Norman Para Sport Champions initiative. 

The International Paralympic Committee’s I’mPOSSIBLE resources, along with additional resources created to accompany and extend learning have been specifically recrafted and designed for Kiwi tamariki and learners. The resource was tailored to the NZ context and curriculum providing relevant, engaging learning opportunities for primary school students Years 1-6. 

Paralympics New Zealand developed the Harvey Norman Para Sport Champion initiative which sits alongside the I’mPOSSIBLE resources. Para Sport Champions are Paralympians or Para athletes who bring the Paralympic values of determination, courage, inspiration, and equality to life through their actions and achievements.  The Champions’ stories highlight these values, in the hope they encourage our learners and kaiako to explore how the values can be applied in their own lives. During the pilot, our Champions were able to share their stories, inspiration and be part of their school’s hands-on learning.

What did the Seeing is Believing Pilot achieve?

  • 20 pilot schools across 4 regions in New Zealand took part in the pilot in October – December 2022. Within these 20 schools, more than 700 learners were involved alongside 52 teachers and kaiako. 
  • 11 Harvey Norman Para Sport Champions took part in the pilot. 
  • I’mPOSSIBLE resources tailored to the NZ context and curriculum through the Health and Physical Education lens. 
  • The inclusion of Te Reo Māori and NZ Sign Language. The Paralympics values were translated in both languages. 
  • Creating new resources and activities with young, NZ learners in mind complementing the existing I’mPOSSIBLE resources. 
  • Highlighting NZ Paralympians and Para athletes through inclusion of their images and stories shared throughout the resource.

“It was a learning experience for sure. I think the programme and learning in this area is fantastic and would love to support it more. The programme is really great on so many levels.”​

Paralympian #225 Anna Taylor – Harvey Norman Para Sport Champion

Collaboration with other organisations

A crucial part of the pilot was collaboration. We collaborated with Sport New Zealand – Healthy Active Learning Teams, Parafeds or similar organisations, Halberg Foundation, Physical Education New Zealand, Unitec Auckland and the Ministry of Education. 

Harvey Norman Para Sport Champions along with Paralympics New Zealand staff, Harvey Norman staff and Disability Sport Auckland attending the Champions training day.
Harvey Norman Para Sport Champions along with Paralympics New Zealand staff, Harvey Norman staff and Disability Sport Auckland attending the Champions training day.

What was the impact of the Seeing is Believing Pilot?

  • Teachers felt supported and ultimately empowered to be able to modify learning opportunities in their classes that ensured all learners were included. Prior to the pilot, only 21% of teachers stated they felt they had a good to strong level of understanding of how to include disabled students in physical activity. Post pilot, 84% of teachers felt they had a good to strong understanding. 
  • The pilot allowed tamariki to engage in ‘real life learning’ that impacted their thinking and perceptions. Many classes began to become aware of the inclusivity and accessibility of their own learning environments. 
  • Learners began to show a greater understanding, awareness and empathy towards others and themselves. Many resonated with the phrase; Redefine your possible’ and that through the application of the Paralympic values to their own lives, you can achieve great things, even things that may seem impossible. 
  • Para Sport Champion visits – these visits were a huge highlight for both teachers and learners. 79% of the learners indicated that they really enjoyed these visits in the post-pilot survey. 
  • Teachers liked how accessible the resources were. 
  • Whānau, family and community showed great support and interest during the pilot. This interest sparked conversations at home and school, showing a growing awareness which in turn will lead to a greater understanding.

“One class of Year 5/6 learners found, through these investigations, that there were areas of their own school that needed improvement and wrote letters to the Board of Trustees to evoke change.”

Participating teacher

“Teachers like how accessible the resource is, there are lots of visual prompts and YouTube clips. The questions and planning are all done for you. ​You can pick and choose the activities that you want to do, ​ and it aligns with our school values too.” ​

Participating teacher

Following the successful pilot, we have now launched Seeing is Believing nationwide. We encourage schools to register, explore the resources, and plan your school’s participation heading into 2024 – the year of the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games. 

Go to Seeing is Believing website

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