Sunday, July 29, 2012

Let's play......Olympic coordination

So  Olympic mania has hit the UK and is reluctantly trickling over the channel  to France. I think the enthusiasm of the French for their Olympians is not so much a disinterest in the sports, but more about the fact that France lost out in the competition to host the Olympics in 2012.

Linked with a small village school in  England, I have been working on the Olympics with the children in the village school here. 'Les Jeux Olympiques' has been  engaged via conversation, verbal games, bingo, board games and an assortment of action games, which is where the fun started.

I had made a series of cards depicting team and  individual sports and one activity required the children to look & verbally identify the sport and action. So picture of boxer & fighting; hurdler and jumping, which immediately presented a problem because the children couldn't look and say both the sport and the action together. Well not all the children, as the two bi-lingual children had no problem with this, so I reversed the game and asked the children to do the same thing in French and the same problem occurred

Perhaps I should have read the runes at that point, but you know when you think well this seems like a good idea, so I demonstrated how they could add an action to the response swimming,action to swim and a swimming action. Well, we ended up with a sequence that ran: sport/gap/verb/gap/ action. A bit like what happens when you try and pat your head whilst rubbing circles on your stomach, for the French children it was impossible to do simultaneously.
 Meanwhile the two bi-lingual children asked which swimming stroke they should imitate and when I offered choice (front crawl, breast stroke back crawl or butterfly...adeptly translated for me by my young bi-linguists), chaos reigned. Try to imagine  combination of all those strokes randomly used, whilst the French class teacher looked on in bemusement  and I tried desperately  not to collapse with laughter

 But it was not a case of poor task coordination, more the fact that  the sequence required was  was individual & too much left to chance: the cards in random order , the sport word plus verb and then a choice of actions....too much. 
Sometimes it's definitely a case of 'Less is More'.