International Focus: What did the world cup teach children?

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Kicking around a football is often an essential part of any childhood. With so many lessons to be learned from the 2014 World Cup tournament, New Directions Education takes a look at just a few of the teachings that children can draw from it.

1. Use teamwork
Many critics accredited Germany’s success to the exemplary way in which they worked together. In school a child will experience teamwork in many different forms. They may be asked to work in pairs, small groups or larger groups in a variety of different tasks such as sports, practical lessons and written work but by sharing each others strengths, individual weaknesses can be greatly improved upon.

2. Slow and steady wins the race
Although teams like Germany and Argentina are already successful in the footballing world, nobody anticipated their triumphs in this World Cup. All eyes were on the star players in the Brazil and Uruguay teams. However, slowly but surely, smaller teams crept through the net and advanced further than anyone thought possible. At school, children may rush their work or feel less accomplished if they do not finish on top but what is most important is the journey they take to get there.

3. Bad behaviour will never be rewarded
One of the biggest controversies to come out of the World Cup was when Luis Suarez bit Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini in a match that would decide their fate in the top 16. Initially, he was not given a red – or even a yellow card – and after Italy appealed, Suarez first denied any wrong-doings. However he eventually came clean and was given a four month match ban, a nine game ban and he is not allowed to enter a professional stadium until October. A child may act out, but if they know the repercussions of their actions, bad behaviour can be nipped in the bud.

4. A high you cannot buy
A football game can create a huge adrenaline rush. Fighting and aiming for a win, and being successful from it makes for a very moving experience that is hard to achieve elsewhere. It can teach children that there are healthy, productive ways to pursue adventure and that keeping grounded and determined will ultimately see them flourish.

Of course, these are only a small amount of life lessons that can be taken from such an event but if you as a teacher can recognise that football – although sometimes a distraction – has a fun but important message to bring, a child’s interest in achievement and hard work will come as second nature.