Amela Trokic (Bosnia and Herzegovina) on Spreading Olympic Values through English Language Classes

August 1, 2012

History is, unfortunately, filled with many examples of humanity’s tendency to be stereotypical, judgmental, and prejudiced. People often go out of their way to find what makes us different as opposed to focusing on what makes us the same. Despite this, the Olympics have always lit the way, both figuratively and literally, when it comes to unifying mankind. Today, the Olympics have developed into an event that celebrates diversity, dissolves differences, breaks barriers, and brings people together. It is a place where everyone has the same goal, same vision, and same dream.
Respect is earned as athletes put their full energies into fulfilling the same dream, showing the world the wonders of healthy competition. It is no surprise that along the way athletes and fans worldwide also develop everlasting friendships with one another. This is why the Olympics today stress the values of respect, excellence, and friendship, all in the hopes of preserving the dignity of mankind, which seems to fade each day.

In an attempt to secure a peaceful society using these values, it is impertinent that an educative approach be taken. Taking into consideration the fact that English is taught in nearly every corner of the world, an educative Olympic themed ESL/EFL (English as a Second or Foreign Language) course would be the ideal approach. The program would offer Olympic themed lessons that would not only help students better their English skills but also instill in them the values that the Olympics reinforce. The course would be made into a series catering to every English level and offering well-made course books full of real Olympic examples such as newspaper clippings and interviews for reading and writing exercises. Interactive CDs and DVDs would offer Olympic scenarios for listening and speaking activities (conversations, discussions, sport announcements, and commentaries), where athletes attending the Olympics make appearances either as voiceovers or actors. Bonus Internet material can also be offered as further study for students worldwide. This type of educational material is can be implemented everywhere in the world and would help spread the Olympic message. Students will be able to prepare for the games and learn great life skills while learning the English language. For the non-ESL student, interactive English course materials would be offered that allow teachers to easily intertwine them into the existing curriculum.

Another creative approach to realizing the values of the Olympics is through public initiatives. Making it mandatory that all athletes participating in the games complete community service hours in the form of visiting local school or community sports centers in their home country would help spread these values.

The Olympics are a wonderful tradition that needs to continue, and the values they represent need to be instilled into every individual worldwide. In a time when conflicts are numerous and disaster always seems to be lurking, the world needs to be reminded that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel—burning like a torch.
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