Ted's teaching tips

9th June 2000 at 01:00
Scoring or missing a goal at football brings out ecstasy and despair. The Euro 2000 finals start tomorrow, so this picture of Liverpool players and crowd at one in their emotions prompts questions about feelings, aspirations and the game.

Football Who are the two teams in this game (Liverpool and Manchester United)? Why is it always a "big" game (teams close to each other geographically, often challenging for league and cup honours)? Who is the player on the ground and why is he so well known (Michael Owen, youngest player to play for England, scored "wonder" goal against Argentina, seen by millions in the last World Cup)? Do footballers earn too much (up to pound;50,000 a week for the best in England)?

Euro 2000 Which teams are in the Euro 2000 competition and can you find the 16 countries on a map? Why are these competitions so popular (the excitement of sporting competition, acceptable substitute for war and conflict, shown all over the world on television, heavy marketing)? Is there too much hype about football? Are the replica kits and merchandise too dear?

Body language Look at the people in the picture, players and spectators. What do most have in common (disappointment, hands on heads, red kit)? Think of other examples of body language that betray our feelings (pointing in anger, slumped shoulders, laughter and smiles, wide eyed with fear or curiosity, expressive use of hands, menacing looks and gestures, drawing up to fll height, raised fists).

Writing (a) Write an account of a football match you have seen, saying why it was exciting, important, boring, memorable; (b) draw and label pictures showing different emotions expressed through body language; (c) pretend you are a spectator and describe your feelings when the goalkeeper saves all the shots.


Football players and spectators break the stereotype of the British as unemotional people with a stiff upper lip. But should we let feelings, such as joy or sadness, burst out spontaneously, or should we keep them under control?


Bottling up your feelings often causes stress. People should not be afraid to show happiness, grief, anger, disappointment; it is the honest thing to do. Most of us feel better after watching a football match, as it gives everyone a chance to be uninhibited, to shout, let off steam. Emotions are covered up in our society, especially by boys who are ridiculed if they cry or show how they really feel.


It is childish not to keep your emotions under control. And it is self-indulgent to reveal too much of yourself in public, simply a way of attracting attention. Some people will not be able to draw the line between an expression of anger and physical aggression, so violence could follow an emotional outburst. Self-control is a sign of maturity.

Ted Wragg is professor of education at the University of Exeter

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