When the runner-up won the race of integrity

Sportsmanship is the winner: Spanish runner Ivan Fernandez Anaya guiding Kenyan racer Abel Mutai to victory in the December 2012 cross-country race at Burlada, Navarre, Spain.  

A picture from a cross-country race that took place in Spain in December 2012 is making little children of a primary school in the district reassert that honesty is the mother of human virtues.

Sumitha K., a teacher to the fourth standard students of Krishna A.L.P. School, Alanallur, has opened a floodgate of positive emotions in them by showing them a picture of an athlete whose act of honesty continues to inspire the world seven years and a pandemic later.

What surprised the education watchers in the State was the spontaneity and creativity in the response from the children when Ms. Sumitha asked them to evaluate and comment about the picture during an online class. Her students responded differently, enjoying the freedom they had.

When G. Arthana dramatised the occasion and made it into a conversation, C.S. Aparna wrote a letter to the Spanish runner in the picture. Some others wrote essays. And her 30-odd-strong class had learnt one of the biggest lessons of their life: that no victory is more valuable than being honest.

The incident

Spanish runner Ivan Fernandez Anaya is a hero to the children. In the December 2012 race held at Spain’s Burlada, Kenya’s champion Abel Kiprop Mutai was in the lead and certain of winning the event. But mistakenly thinking that he had crossed the finish line, Mutai pulled up nearly 10 metres before the finish.

The Spanish runner, instead of grabbing the opportunity to win the gold, caught up with Mutai and guided him into the first place. Anaya preferred honesty to victory, and became a world hero. “He is our hero,” the class chorused.

Ms. Sumitha’s out-of-syllabus lesson won praise from across the State as senior education consultant T.P. Kaladharan presented it on his Malayalam blog named Choonduviral.

Fine example

“It is a fine example to show that children should not be confined to textbooks, which have limitations. Ms. Sumitha kindled the creativity of her students by giving them such a wonderful topic from outside the text. And she also won their respect by respecting their freedoms. Such teachers should be encouraged,” Dr. Kaladharan told The Hindu.

Her colleagues, including Jayamanikandakumar K., were all praise for her. They have been getting the children to chronicle their daily lives in their diaries. “Diary writing is doing wonders for them,” said Mr. Jayamanikandakumar.

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Printable version | Sep 22, 2021 5:59:01 AM |

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