Student Educational Psychology: Learning and Performance
Craig Vis, student of the Master Educational Psychology: Learning and Performance, participated in the FAIRPLAY research project for his thesis. For that, he attended Hibernian FC Community Foundation in Edinburgh, Scotland. The FAIRPLAY project aims to increase resilience within the youth throughout the world by closely elaborating with multiple football clubs in Europe. In this testimonial he talks about the field experience he attained while attending this foundation, which was inspiring, energizing, and often quite touching.
The start of the involvement
I’m currently on track to finish my MSc in Educational Psychology: Learning and Performance. This programme focuses on the mechanics that stand at the precipice of how we as humans learn and demonstrate what we have learned. Initially, I approached this course from a strictly educational point of view, but when dr. Brian Godor presented the FAIRPLAY project during one of our lectures, I immediately got inspired. This project brings together three of my passions: education, psychology, and sport in particular. I simply reached out to Brian, chatted about whether I could participate in this research for my thesis, and here we are!
The underlying construct of resilience
I hope to help the FAIRPLAY project from both a practical and a research perspective. On the one hand, I helped design a guidebook aimed at football trainers and contains a wide variety of exercises to foster resilience amongst adolescents. On the other hand, I study how optimism, one of the underlying constructs of resilience, is conceptualized between cultures to provide insight into the extendibility of FAIRPLAY’s research findings.
Lessons learned in Scotland
I visited Scotland to understand the work that community foundations, such as those found at Hibernian FC, do to reach out and help the many corners of society. Lewis Melee, CEO of the Hibernian FC Community Foundation and our collaborator on the FAIRPLAY project, welcomed me with open arms . Thanks to his efforts and hospitality, I attended several activities such as the practice sessions of the Community Foundations’ Youth Academy team (which is also the cohort that participates in the FAIRPLAY project) In particular, the Memories of Football sessions had a lasting impact on my understanding of the far-reaching impact of community foundations.
This latter initiative, led by official club historian and curator Tom Wright, is a bimonthly activity organised by lifelong fans of Hibernian FC. Here, patients with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other mental health issues unite to relive their lifelong experiences of football anew, build connections, and share their passion for the game together. This initiative explicitly showed me the power of community work: seeing absent-minded people beam up after hearing one of the old clubs’ chants that played during the 60s shows that football is more than eleven people kicking a ball. Instead, sports are far-reaching and deeply ingrained in our culture and lives. It yields genuine and raw emotion and passion, fiercely experienced amongst the young, old, rich and poor.
My experience has shown me again that everybody should be able to access the opportunities of sport because, in the end, it brings people together for life.