Multicultural chatter provides the soundtrack in dressing rooms at many English football clubs - however there are still some languages which remain uncommon to those in the English game.
Chinese is one, and so it was no surprise that a group of FA coaches faced a unique challenge on a recent visit to China to deliver the first ever FA International Coaching Award Foundation Level.
Working with translators to deliver The FA’s coaching message to 72 Chinese PE teachers provided a unique to the group of eight FA staff tasked with spreading The FA’s coaching philosophy overseas.
FA Tutor Training manager, Tessa Payne, who helped deliver the course during last October’s eight-day visit to the city of Zhongshan, described the scenario.
“Although very few of the teachers spoke English, we were able to overcome the language barrier through lots of practical demonstrations and working closely with translators," she said.
"The Chinese teachers very quickly embraced our coaching methodology."
The Sino-UK School Football Project started in 2003 and is charitably raised solely by Dr. Sun Yi Xian's Youth Foundation (U.K.) supported by the Ministry of Education of People's Republic of China
The partnership is the first of its kind between English football and China and is part of a 15-year agreement for The FA to provide on-going educational training through Dr. Sun Yi Xian’s Youth Foundation(U.K.) to support the delivery of football within the PE curriculum across schools in China.
Shanghai is the next stop for FA coaching staff with coaching courses planned later this year in June and September.
Head of FA Learning, Jamie Houchen, stressed that the project is focused on developing the game at all levels in China, as opposed to bringing through only professional players.
“The FA content we are delivering is helping to embed the game of football into a new generation of young people in China and supports teachers to teach the game with confidence," he said.
“This project is very much a football development project, within the spirit of further developing the game worldwide.
“The initial course has demonstrated how The FA can help the Chinese Education system to engage more young people in the game of football, and use football as a tool to develop a new culture of physical education across China."
The International Coaching award Foundation Level is a combination of the FA Level 1 and the FA Youth Award Module 1 coaching awards.
Developing young players' curiosity, creativity and confidence is part of the core content covered on the course and represented a cultural shift for many of the Chinese candidates.
Payne explained: “The Chinese teachers attending the course underwent a significant journey throughout the eight days. Being prepared to ask the players to make decisions for themselves required a real cultural shift in the teachers' outlook on learning which they openly embraced.
“The main principles are to help young Chinese players to think for themselves, interact socially within small groups, become more athletic and enjoy the game of football."
The Sino-UK School Football Project officially commenced in 2003 and is charitably raised solely by the Dr. Sun Yi Xian’s Youth Foundation(U.K.) supported by the Ministry of Education of People’s Republic of China.
The FA International Coaching Award Foundation Level was delivered by Jamie Houchen, Tessa Payne (FA Learning), Ian Bateman (FA youth coach educator), Richard Cooper, Marieanne Spacey, Jon Gittens (FA regional coach development managers), Claire Daniels (FA Skills Programme project officer) and John Read (English Schools FA).
This is in support of the Sino-U.K. School Football Project, with the working team led by CEO Nelson Cheng and Chinese officials. The project opened successfully in October 2013 in Zhongsun city in Guangdong province.