Together in the Language of Sport
In the run-up to the Olympic Games in London, 2012, partners of the Arsenal FC Double Club Languages programme set a challenge for secondary school pupils from across the UK to write the lyrics for a multilingual Olympics-themed song in French, German, Greek, Italian and Spanish, with a chorus in English.
The response to the competition was astounding, with over 450 children taking part in the competition from over 50 schools throughout the UK.
Teachers were delighted by the impact on motivation and behaviour, with pupils choosing to meet up in lunch breaks and after school to hone their lyrics. As one teacher put it, pupils revelled in the opportunity to “stretch themselves as musicians and as linguists, and work together as a team”.
From recording studio to stadium
The talented winners from six UK schools were invited to sing their lyrics together as Team Harmony at a recording session in London in March 2012.
On 2 July 2012, over 350 pupils from 36 UK schools came together to perform ‘Together in the Language of Sport’ in Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium. The day was an enormous success, with the pupils joining together to learn the song’s chorus in sign language with children of the Kaos Signing Choir and practising a special dance routine, before performing the song with great gusto in the stadium stands.
The Double Club Languages Song Competition 2012 was initiated by the Goethe-Institut London and financed by the Goethe-Institut London and the European Commission Representation in the UK.
Listen to the song
Why not use the song in class as part of a cross-curricular language learning activity? Here are some ideas on how you can use the song to bring your pupils together in the language of sport!
- Language detectives: Can your pupils find out what all of the verses mean?
- Translate: See if your pupils can translate the English chorus into the language they are learning. For advanced pupils: translate against the clock.
- Composers: Write a new verse for the song. (You can download the instrumental version of the song here:
Together in the Language of Sport – instrumental version – MP3)
- Dance-off: Your pupils create a dance routine for the song, based on the lyrics.
- Album artists: Can your pupils create a cool piece of cover artwork for the song?
- Let the Games commence! What can your pupils find out about Olympians who speak the languages in the song as a first language?