In Chinese society, academic achievement often takes a high priority and the importance of sport for health, fitness and teamwork has not always been recognised as a valid addition to the curriculum.
Recognising footballs' impact
Gao Xu, a Primary School teacher in Wuhan saw the opportunity to take part in Premier Skills, not only to improve her coaching skills as part of her professional development, but to demonstrate the positive impact sport can have on children and adolescents.
In China, students and young people are as motivated to play football as in any other country, but awareness of the benefits sports and physical activity can bring is generally low, and many schools and families focus on children’s academic development first and foremost.
Premier Skills use football to support young people to become more confident, adaptable and purposeful, ultimately improving their social skills, future employability and ability to build networks.
As a result of taking part in the course, Gao Xu has worked with fellow teachers to encourage the idea that football is a beneficial activity for young people.
We’ve seen a positive impact on children’s academic performance, in terms of their interpersonal skills, teamwork and creativity. Having seen these results, teachers are now more willing for students to take part in football activities.
In addition to getting teachers on board, Gao Xu also had to communicate the benefits to parents, particularly the positive impact on academic performance. Through actively engaging with parents and demonstrating the physical, interpersonal and academic improvements in pupils, Gao Xu has changed attitudes.
The children now play a daily match and interest in the sport has increased among staff. Gao Xu attributes this to both Premier Skills’ training methods and her communication with players and other teachers to promote the game as a positive addition to school children’s daily routine.
The Premier League coaches had an incredibly positive attitude and constantly gave feedback to support our learning. I learnt how to structure my approach to working with players on a matchday and how to motivate them In fact, my confidence and communication skills have been improved not only in the classroom, but outside of work too.