Football is growing in China and will become a compulsory school subject in 2017. In light of that, our work there has proved not only educational but also served as a new form of socialising. While we shared our methods with primary and middle school teachers, we also provided the kids with fun, new experiences.
Our aim in schools like these is to promote integration among children born and raised in cities and those who hail from rural areas. Clearly nothing can rival sport’s ability to immediately bring together children from different backgrounds. And, if they’re focused on chasing a ball around, we can definitely help.
The kids are used to being taught in a more analytical fashion, which means that our more fun, playful methods allow us to quickly get an insight into their personalities. The change in them has been significant, from a technical perspective (by playing at least once a week many of the children have quickly mastered dribbling) and above all in terms of the enthusiasm they show in training sessions. They are now less reticent and more willing to try out new games and exercises. Their laughter during fun activities is deafening and almost liberating.
Over the last three years, our relationship with the educator-coaches of Jinding School has also changed. Whereas before they were rather reserved when it came to dialogue, they are now open-minded and willing to act as guinea pigs. We saw that with our last visit as we tested out the Inter Campus methodology directly on them. They went back to being children again, experiencing first hand the power of a training session in which football and education come together to benefit young players.
In short, the project is growing. The language remains an issue in the classroom sessions, where an interpreter is required, but often a demo will suffice on the pitch thanks to the universal power of body language. The project’s growth can only inspire us to keep going and we can’t wait for our next visit.