Getting our Game-Face On! Esports comes to Dulwich College Puxi
This year, we are pleased to introduce a new esports co-curricular activity curriculum to the College, which will complement our already robust and growing co-curricular activity, sports and enrichment programmes. Below, Mrs Amelia King, Educational Technology Coach, talks about the esports programme and how it will help our students gain new skills that will help them to Live Worldwise.
Education Technology Coach
In December 2020, the Olympic Council of Asia approved esports as an official medal sport for the Asian Games taking place in Hangzhou 2022, with eight different esports games on the roster.
That same year, Shanghai hosted the World Championship for key esports title League of Legends, with nearly four million concurrent online viewers at the peak of the championship and an average of 1.1 million viewers at any one time. The legend continues when this September Chinese team EDG, the 2021 world champions, battle for victory once again against 23 other teams – including another three from China alone.
And only last year, Shanghai broke ground on a RMB5.8 billion esports venue here in Minhang that will further cement the city as a global leader in esports. Suffice to say, esports has certainly made its mark in China over the past few years, and it shows no signs of slowing down. Dulwich College Shanghai Puxi are delighted that, in partnership with a number of international schools across Asia, our esports CCA is up and running for the 2022-23 academic year—with the unique Dulwich twist that makes our College so special.
Esports—at its most basic level defined as "video games played in highly organized competitive environments”—has undergone such a burst in popularity over the past few years that universities and colleges such as NYU Tisch, UC Irvine, and Manchester University are all now offering scholarships to esports players in the same way they offer them to traditional athletes. Esports programmes are becoming more common at multiple stages of education; not just limited to university courses. In the UK, the exam board Pearson Edexcel recently launched their two-year BTEC course in esports which is only increasing in popularity.
Far from simply an excuse to play video games after school, and a far cry from the negative stereotypes that many people hold of gaming as a whole, the esports curriculum at the Dulwich College Shanghai Puxi emphasises the ongoing development of our students’ mental and physical wellbeing. Through weekly taught sessions that take place prior to gameplay commencing, students learn about topics such as dealing with failure, giving and receiving constructive criticism, and surrounding yourself with positive role models, as well as take part in physical activities such as yoga to emphasise physical wellness. Students will have the chance to learn about the psychology behind gaming, crossovers between esports and traditional sports, university and college scholarship opportunities, and how esports can impact their future careers—both within the esports world, and through the development of transferrable skills.
In Mustangs esports, each after-school session begins with a wellbeing check-in, followed by a team warm up and a workshop or taught section—all of this before students even touch a gaming console. Through structured competition, students will work both individually and in teams to hone their skills on our console of choice, the Nintendo Switch, playing games chosen specifically for their emphasis on teamwork, communication, and resilience. They will learn to deal with the same emotions of stress, victory, and failure that they face when partaking in traditional sports, and face challenges as they compete nationally and internationally against their peers.
What soft skills does esports develop?
The Dulwich College Shanghai Puxi esports programme is also directly focused on developing students’ IB learner attributes. Getting involved with Mustangs esports will help students to become inquirers about the world around them. They will research tactics and professional gameplay stats both independently and with their teammates, using data to improve and inform decisions. As they compete and develop as a team, they will use this inquiring nature as they consider gameplay strategies and take part in complex problem-solving activities. When considering team strategy in a critical manner, Mustangs also develop their role as thinkers, including showing initiative in competition, being creative in their approach to challenges, and managing their time and resources appropriately. This creativity means they will also need to be risk-takers, knowing that new tactics may not always pay off, but always aiming high in their team and individual goal-setting.
Through the Mustangs esports curriculum, students will become knowledgeable about taking care of their mental and physical health when gaming. They will learn not only the tactics and techniques for specific games, but about the future opportunities esports can provide – across a wide gamut of areas. Honesty and integrity, at the heart of both traditional and esports, means our students are expected to be principled in the way they approach both their victories and their defeats. These principles, reflected in our own Dulwich College Shanghai Puxi values - Aim High Together, Work Hard Together, Be Kind and Respectful Together, Make a Difference Together - mean Mustangs esports members will need to be more open-minded than ever. They will be expected to consider the needs of others around them, listening to new tactics and approaches they may not have initially considered, and approaching all competitors with the same attitude regardless of gender, sexuality, disability, race, religion, or any other personal characteristics. They will care for their teammates and opponents – and be expected to show the same level of care for themselves in how they look after their physical and mental wellbeing.
When the competition is over, Mustangs will adopt the final two aspects of the IB Learner Profiles: being balanced and reflective. Balancing gaming time with outdoor entertainment and face-to-face socialisation are essential aspects for ensuring that our students are well-rounded in all areas. We will look at ways students can develop this both at home and at school, and look at how professional esports leagues encourage the same for their players. Reflection will be an essential part of post-competition sessions, including reviewing footage of gameplay and giving one another constructive and empowering feedback, ready to play again another day.
Esports at Dulwich College Shanghai Puxi is not just about competition. Our Mustangs players will learn how to Live Worldwise in their interactions with themselves and others as they develop their skills throughout the year—and have fun while doing so!
If you or your child are interested in Mustangs esports, Mrs King will be hosting a Parent Workshop on campus for the families of students who sign up to the Term 1 CCA. During the workshop, parents will have the chance to learn more about the curriculum for Term 1, learn about some of the research that has gone into our esports provision, and learn more about the future opportunities that esports can provide. This will take place on Tuesday 27 September from 2-3pm, and further details will be shared with parents after CCA sign-ups close.
Anon, 2022. “Esports”. Hangzhou Asian Games 2022.
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Marc Leroux-Parra, “Esports Part 1: What are Esports?” Harvard International Review, 24 Apr. 2020.
Zhu, Shenshen. “Four Chinese Clubs to Vie for Lol Worlds 2022 Honors.” SHINE, 5 Sept. 2022