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Students' high self-esteem and athletic ability go hand in hand: Hokkaido survey

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SAPPORO -- The higher a student's self-esteem is, the higher their athletic ability tends to be, a physical fitness survey announced by the Hokkaido Prefectural Board of Education on Feb. 24 has shown.

    As part of the nationwide athletic ability survey, the physical fitness and motor skills test was conducted on students in the fifth grade of elementary school and second year of junior high school for each of the 14 subprefectures of Hokkaido.

    In the total score for physical fitness, which comprehensively evaluates students' athletic ability, Soya subprefecture ranked first for boys in the second year of middle school. Hiyama subprefecture, meanwhile, ranked first for boys and girls in the fifth grade of elementary school as well as for girls in second year of junior high school for the sixth year in a row, with the exception of last year, when the survey was not conducted.

    The education board says factors behind the high athletic ability of students in Hiyama include establishing a cycle of class improvement based on thorough understanding of the situation surrounding students and classes, and making time for students to reflect on themselves during physical education classes, so they can perceive their motor development and raise their self-esteem.

    Meanwhile the results of a questionnaire indicate that children in Hiyama have higher self-esteem than those in other subprefectures. In response to a question asking if they agreed that they had strong points, 75.3% of boys in the fifth grade across Hokkaido answered that this was "true" or "somewhat true," while the average in Hiyama was 3.6 percentage points higher, at 78.9%. For girls in the fifth grade, the average in Hiyama was 76.6%, 4.9 points higher than the prefectural average. It was also 2.7 percentage points higher for boys in second year of middle school, at 76.5%, and 12.7 points higher for second-year girls at 76.2%.

    The education board surmised, "Students who can perceive their motor development during P.E. classes tend to like sports and P.E. classes, and their total score of physical fitness is high because they like taking challenges and have high self-esteem."

    The education board says that it is necessary to become comfortable with taking on challenges and raising self-esteem to improve one's physical strength. It adds that utilizing videos recording the movements of children and other methods will improve classes so that students can realize they "can do something they weren't able to do before."

    (Japanese original by Nozomi Gemma, Hokkaido News Department)

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