Implementation of “Paralympic Heroes: “Spirit in Motion” (SOI-GR-400)

Author: Sofia Arvanitidou , EFL State School Teacher

School/Organization: Primary School of Kontias, Limnos island

I have decided to implement the Learning Scenario by Rîpeanu Arșaluis – Luiza entitled Paralympic Heroes: “Spirit in Motion” (EN-CUR-664) aiming at familiarizing students with the Paralympians’ athletic achievements and not their disability. Through the innovative use of web tools students were enabled into using their curiosity and critical thinking. The main aim of the scenario is to inspire and break down misconceptions about disability and ability. What better way to achieve that, than through the use of Europeana platform and its virtual exhibitions through the ages that led students of 4th, 5th and 6th grades of a small school in a rural village in Limnos Island, to engage into vivid dialogues with each other sharpening their critical thinking. Our pupils ranged from 7 to 12 years old, henceforth, it was essential that the implementation of the scenario was tailored to best meet the students’ needs, interests and abilities.


My EFL classes made up of thirty one pupils aged 8-12 were the target group of Rîpeanu Arșaluis – Luiza’s learning scenario. Fourth, fifth and sixth graders in Greece delve into deeper waters as far the English language is concerned as part of the curriculum. They learn about political, cultural and economic aspects of English speaking countries. Europe’s cultural heritage is interlinked with the values of human dignity, democracy, equality. Within this frame of reference, we decided to explore the Olympic virtues shared by athletes all over the world and put emphasis upon the Paralympic  values of friendship, respect, excellence, equality, determination, inspiration, and courage. The implementation took place during the hours of English, ICT Physical Education classes.

Our  narrative path

In our first lesson we started with a brainstorming on the motto of the International Paralympic Committee “Spirit in motion” trying to elicit student’s prior knowledge on the virtues that Paralympic athletes share. We used Our ideas are visible here

In our introductory lesson, pupils worked in pairs to research and present information about the definition of the prefix “para” and its true meaning in the word paralympic games. They produced their work using They included a video and a definition as shown in Additionally, we used to create flashcards about some core facts related to Paralympics. Hence, students became engaged in active recall and confidence-based repetition making it fun for them to retain information. Our flashcards can be seen here.

In our next three lessons, as the learning scenario suggests, students work  in groups exploring, Sportspeople, Biographies and stories about athletes, the Athlete Profiles section of the Europeana website, learned about some of Paralympic heroes presented athlete profiles such as:

·         Swimmer Kay Espenhayn

Champions | Europeana

·         Tennis player Vergeer

Legends | Europeana

They discuss about the athletes’ stories and their values they represent. These values are presented as a wonderful amalgam of pupil’s art works and ideas as shown in

 We, also, used to create a poster enriching the motto of the International Paralympic Committee “Spirit in Motion” with our short message “show me the next challenge, I will thrive again”. This message is the shared result of all our pupils resulting in bringing light to the enormous obstacles that paralympians have overcome and, thus, became role-models to all of us. Our poster is shown here.

Assessment and feedback

At the end of the learning scenario, students said that its implementation helped them understand the Olympic and Paralympic ideals and intrigued them into thinking out of the box. Students were enthusiastic and fully engaged to the project. It was of great interest to them, as even students who do not normally participate in the everyday class routine were willing to carry out the activities and collaborate in the groups. The original material found in fascinated them and led to interesting discussions among the members of each group.


As an educator teaching English with Europeana resources highlighted the importance of using arts and science digital heritage in every activity of the learning scenario so as students have the opportunity to explore the Europeana collections and learn about its learning possibilities. Teaching English with Europeana resources. While using Project Based Learning, Collaborative Learning and Flipped Classroom, my role was the one of a facilitator and my students have become active learners having found the activities really motivating and engaging.

Did you find this story of implementation interesting? Why don’t you read about the related learning scenario? Paralympic Heroes: “Spirit in Motion” (EN-CUR-664) created by Rîpeanu Arșaluis – Luiza

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Public Domain Mark 1.0: the featured image used to illustrate this article has been found on Europeana and has been provided by the Rijksmuseum.

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