Arsenal Double Club Languages is an innovative, award-winning educational programme combining football and language learning.

Aiming to inspire and motivate pupils at primary and secondary level, the programme uses Arsenal and football to show pupils that language learning can be achievable, rewarding and, above all, fun!

The programme currently includes modules in French, German, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese, and is usually delivered in sessions of two 45-minute ‘halves’, just like a real football game.

In one half, pupils develop their language skills in the classroom, working with specially designed, Arsenal-themed workbooks, interactive PowerPoint activities and videos featuring the international stars of the Arsenal squad speaking in their own native languages.

In the other half, pupils move to the football pitch, where they hone not only their skills on and off the ball, but also the vocabulary and phrases they have learnt in the classroom in a series of coaching activities from the Arsenal training manual.

Primary and secondary modules

Double Club Languages is available to all UK schools at Key Stages 2 and 3. At primary and secondary level, it is a great way to build on pupils’ existing language knowledge or even to introduce them to a new language. The secondary Double Club modules also specifically aim to boost pupils’ enthusiasm for languages in advance of their GCSE options.

Language Days at Emirates Stadium

At the end of the programme, participating schools have the option to bring their students to Emirates Stadium, home of Arsenal Football Club, for a tour with a multilingual member of the Arsenal in the Community staff. Here, pupils are encouraged to practice their language skills while they visit areas such as the Directors’ Box, media rooms and the Arsenal changing rooms, and to go pitchside to see the famous turf from the manager’s perspective.

Delivery models and resources

Although the delivery model of 45-minute ‘halves’ is provided as a guide, Double Club is designed to provide a flexible framework, and can be adapted to suit any school’s timetable.
No knowledge of football or of Arsenal is required to teach the resources or to take part in the programme, and you don’t need to be an Arsenal fan – the programme has been run with great success across the UK, and places the emphasis on taking part and having fun.

Various supporting materials are provided to help teachers, coaches and pupils get the most out of the programme, including

  • a teachers’ guide
  • an activity-packed coaching guide – with step-by-step instructions, diagrams, and all vocabulary in the target language needed to run the activities, accompanied by audio recordings to act as a pronunciation support

Partner organisations

The Double Club Languages resources have been developed by specialist linguistic and cultural partner organisations in cooperation with Arsenal in the Community. Focussing on standard Key Stage 2 / Key Stage 3 curriculum topics, combined with authentic football vocabulary, the resources aim to inspire pupils’ interest and confidence in the target language, as well as to provide them with a cultural insight into countries in which the target language is spoken.

Scope and success

Since the programme began in 2006, over 11,000 pupils from more than 400 schools across the UK have participated in Double Club Languages at primary and secondary level. The programme is supported by the European Commission, and, in 2012, was awarded Premier League funding to support language learning in the London boroughs of Islington, Hackney and Camden.

Project Coordinator, Steve Eadon, is immensely proud of the scheme’s outcomes to date: “Football is a great way to engage pupils in their studies. We have received countless testimonials from teachers across the UK, commenting on greater pupil engagement and improved behaviour of pupils who had previously been difficult. There have been some fantastic stories of boys and girls taking inspiration from the programme, having been exposed to both linguistic and sporting role models”.

Double Club Languages has been awarded various national and international prizes, including the European Award for Languages (2008, 2010), the European Language Label (2012), and the 2012 Threlford Memorial Cup, awarded by the Chartered Institute of Linguists for ‘fostering the study of languages’.

Testimonials

Find out how Double Club Languages can be run in practice, discover some useful practical tips on implementing the programme and see what impact Double Club can have for pupils, teachers and schools in general. In these videos, Jackie Brooker, Double Club German teacher and former head of German at Aylesbury Grammar School, introduces you […]

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