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Rhönrad in physical education class - its possibility as a sports event for the visually impaired

Focus: School Years

Topic: Research

Kazuhiko Amano

Research Associate

Department of General Education

Division for the Visually Impaired

Tsukuba College of Technology

4-12-7, Kasuga, Tsukuba

Japan 305-0821

kazu@k.tsukuba-tech.ac.jp

Yasuko Koda

Associate Professor

Department of General Education

Division for the Visually Impaired

Tsukuba College of Technology

4-12-7, Kasuga, Tsukuba

Japan 305-0821

yasuko@k.tsukuba-tech.ac.jp

Have you ever heard of or tried the rad?

The rad literally means a wheel in German, and was created in Germany originally to have fun with. It is said that the rad is effective as a recreational sport, improves body senses like body equilibrium, and aids in developing good posture while motor function and trunk muscles get strengthened and improved.

Our college, Tsukuba College of Technology (TCT), is the only three-year college for the visually impaired and the hearing impaired in Japan. We have used the rad for Physical Education (PE) classes several times a year for the visually impaired students. The main reasons we have adopted it into our PE program are:

1. We expect the rad to have the positive effects mentioned above, even for the visually impaired.

2. Rad is one of the rare sports events which the visually impaired can enjoy independently, as well as being enjoyable for the sighted.

3. We would like the visually impaired students to have the unusual experience of a spacewalk feeling through the rad.

According to our practice, with a little bit of help, it is not difficult to enjoy the rad, not only for the sighted but also for the visually impaired because you are not dependent on visual help while doing it. Actually, it takes much time for students to do it well, but once they are used to it, their skill level rises surprisingly rapidly and they come to show strong interest and courage.

After the PE program, we asked our students (n=115) about their impressions or feelings of the rad. More than 50% of them had interest in, and fun with rad while less than 15% of them did not like it because of fear. Though even the former group had felt fear for rad at first, they finally came to enjoy it. To our surprise, we often saw that even the students who were poor at other PE events, e.g., ballgames or swimming, were quite willing to do it. Those cases showed proof that the rad has some different aspects and various effects. Some reasons are:

1. Each student could do it at his own pace or skill level because he did not need to compete with others, compared with other competitive events.

2. Each was able to easily attain achievement to his level only by improving his own skill.

So we suggest that the rad has great possibilities to be a positive and fun sport for the visually impaired. At this time, we would like to show an actual performance by our student and to have further discussion according to the results of a questionnaire we gave to our students.


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