We need to do something about children's movement, says a student, who also motivates teachers - Do práce na kole

We need to do something about children’s movement, says a student, who also motivates teachers

We need to do something about children’s movement, says a student, who also motivates teachers
19. 4. 2022

Tadeáš Vylita has been riding his bike to school since he was twelve. He plays competitive volleyball and now, while studying his first year at Gymnázim in Štěpánská, he is joining the Bike to Work/School call. For a while, he wanted to organize a similar event himself. Moreover, he is the vice president of National Student Resistance, a new student organization that wants to better communication in Czech Education, organize events and educative projects, allow other students to be active, and also motivate more children. We could not help but interrogate him about all this.

When and where did you find out about the Bike to Work challenge?

Only a couple of days ago I found it on Instagram, and I was definitely fascinated because for a time I have been thinking about a similar initiative. Now that I know how long has been going and how it works, all I have to do is join too. I am surprised I haven’t found out about it before.

Instead of going to work, you will probably Bike To School…

I basically rode all second year in primary school and now that I am in high school, I still do it. I changed the tires because I had three kilometers to school, nothing terrible. At our school, it was possible to park the bike and leave it there. I consider it a personal success to motivate exmates to do the same. And also the fact that when I go, I see bikes parked there. Students and teachers. I am very pleased about that.

Did you convince teachers to start riding a bike?

Yes, that was interesting. Some immediately said it was a great idea. But, others, for example, the physics teacher, when they saw me riding through the Bořislavka cross, told me: “Tadeáš, it is quite dangerous that you are not afraid”. And approximately a week later, I saw their colleague do it. And drove from Bohnice and the ferry.

And today, the first day of the challenge, have you ridden?

Yes, it is such a personal challenge that every day in May, June, and September I wake up and do a morning circuit of 10 kilometers before school. And so today was my first time and I recorded the route. It is a well-organized event and I really appreciate it. I know there is a lot of work behind it.

So, where do you go when there is no school?

Wherever possible. I read Greta Thunberg´s autobiography, which fights against climate change and that motivated me to ride my bike as much as possible. I try to use the car and public transport as little as I can. I also travel through Prague. I have a route through Braník, Michle, Vršovice, Žižkov, Karlín and then I come back through Střešovice and Petřiny. I use all the bike lanes available.

But your activism is far from only being about sustainable transport. You also are active in the field of education…

I am vice president of an organization called National Student Resistance, which started working at the beginning of the year. And I need to point out that the word “resistance” does not mean that we are about to bring down anyone or do manifestations. The word is there to make it clear that we are serious and that we really want to do something regarding education. When we talk about sports, for example, physical education is a great problem. Children need to move more, not only at school. Then there is the need to modernize education and other things. But it is all at the beginning stages now and we will discuss it with experts first.

What is specifically bad about physical education?

I am not speaking for the organization now, but in my opinion, it is desperately short. There should be more movement at schools. The problem is the hour assignments, there is no time for that. At our primary school, we went to the traffic playground in fourth and fifth grade, and that was where we learned to ride a bike. But I can imagine a campaign beyond teaching. At Hanspaulka primary school, where I went for 9 years, teachers did great. They organize the Hanspaul School Coup and prepare all kinds of activities and challenges for students to move. Unfortunately, there is little implication from the students… That is my journey, something that would make children truly move, whether by bike, rollerblading, skiing… Some of my mates did two kilometers by car or public transport. That would be faster by bike.

The pandemic did not help the lack of activity in children…

Definitely, when we are locked down at home for a year, it is really time to come up and do something about it. I see it in my little sister, that I moved from here to there. But when there is a lack of motivation, it is difficult. Not a lot of children go out with their friends today.

And was that the motivation to start National Student Resistance?

Not really. We count on a team focused on sports, that organizes different sports activities, but the original idea was born a year ago. The association was founded in June 2020. Nevertheless, we officially started on the first of January. We wanted to create an organization that did not exclude anyone. We are here for everyone and to help students to be active and develop strengths. And we give everyone that opportunity, we learn a lot of things and skills. That will give us a lot in the future.

So, any student can come to you and start promoting any agenda?

If the idea, project, or whatever makes sense and we see the potential, then yes. And we will bring facilities, either economic or organizational. When a person has an idea, comes up with it and we help them put it into practice.

How did it all come together?

The initial push was from our president, Honza Němeček, who was at the National Parliament of Children and Youth of the Zlín region. My friends and I organize a national project, Business, that focuses on II.level students and primary schools. Participants will create a fictional company, will make a presentation, and will see how it works theoretically. Well, Honza asked if I would like to do it inside the National Student Resistance. Thus, we are recruiting new members since 1 of January. We work in 7 teams, of which 3 were created by the members themselves. But I have to say that a year ago I did not think we’ll be talking about something like this.

Is it possible to summarize, in general, what is the biggest problem of Czech education?

Our organization certainly lacks communication with the Education, Youth and Sports Ministry, with students, and the whole education system. It is also necessary to modernize our education. If you look at Scandinavian education, for example, you find that ours live in 1991. But we are still collecting experts’ opinions, and I, as a first-grader in secondary schools, can hardly criticize the way students of educational pedagogy are taught. In my opinion, however, the attitude of the students themselves is usually a problem; which is quite difficult to change during online schooling.

As a mother of a 5th grader, I can only confirm..

I think it is difficult to motivate students to get interested in doing something for the school. I sat in the classroom every day for two hours after the call because I had a relationship with the school and teacher. That, of course, is complicated. Honza is now going to Denmark to study for two years, so maybe he can bring some experience and methods to do it.

Do you think membership in your organization can change that?

We have what we call active and passive membership. The passive members-only login to our website  www.nsocz.com and then receive invitations to various workshops and events through email. Nevertheless, their membership supports our organization significantly. Now, for example, there are a series of workshops at School 2.0, where some experts try to transmit to students the knowledge they have not learned at school, but that will be needed in their lifetime. This project is mainly for students and it is free.

The active members join one or two groups and develop themselves: in presentation abilities, communication, work division, etc. The sports team and I say it mainly because this article will be seen by fans of cycling, will surely welcome other enthusiasts, from primary school to university students.

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