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World Cup 2014 Challenge

With the FIFA World Cup taking place in summer 2014 in Brazil, the partners of the Double Club Languages programme launched a special competition for schools throughout the UK, in which pupils had to complete a series of creative challenges in Portuguese.

Initiated by Routes into Languages (London), the partner organisation for Double Club Portuguese, the competition included six tasks in simple Portuguese – a language most pupils were encountering for the first time. In small groups, the pupils needed to use their creativity and initiative to complete the challenges, which included designing a football strip, creating an animated tour of Brazil and even making a short film.

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Some 82 schools from across the country entered and the judges were amazed both by the standard of the work produced and the enthusiasm shown by the participants. Renata Albuquerque, from Routes into Languages, commented “We’ve seen young people engaging with something that is fun and relevant to them. They have made films, created some art work and have been really creative with languages, which I don’t think is something that they do all the time. Teachers have told me that their students have shown great initiative and amazing motivation”.

Activity and Awards Day

Over 80 winning pupils were then invited to Emirates Stadium for the very special Double Club World Cup Day, delivered in collaboration with the programme’s partner institutes. The event gave the lucky pupils the opportunity to experience the 5 languages offered by the Double Club Languages programme: French, German, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese, through a series of innovative, dynamic and fun workshops, delivered by the partner institutes. Each school also had the opportunity to have their photo taken with the FA Cup trophy.

The activities were designed to enthuse pupils and give them an insight into the language and culture of each country. The students rotated between French mime, Spanish cookery, Italian dance, a Portuguese sentence auction and a training video in German with Arsenal midfielder, Serge Gnabry. The dynamic nature of the event had a strong impact on the pupils, who were all engaged and eager to learn new vocabulary in each language. Luke Roskilly, who was delivering the German workshop on behalf of partners UK-German Connection, said: “What’s amazing is that the pupils have soaked up the German very quickly indeed. We’ve seen them going away saying ‘gut gemacht!’, ‘super’ and ‘klasse’, so it’s clearly had an immediate impact”.

A special guest

Both organisers and pupils were thrilled to be joined on the day by the multilingual Sky Sports News presenter, Kate Abdo, who proved to be hugely popular with the pupils and served as a perfect role model to show the kind of career that language skills can lead to. She shared her experiences of working as a sports broadcaster for various international TV stations, as well being asked by UEFA to co-host the Europa League draw on two occasions.

Kate was full of praise for the Double Club Languages programme: “For me the biggest positive was seeing how you can take languages outside of the classroom and make them really fun and interactive for kids so that they really enjoy what they’re doing.”

Impressions from pupils, teachers and partners

Yves Letournel, the programme’s partner at the Institut Français, added: “It makes sense to implement this programme because it is linked to pleasure; and pleasure is crucial in making kids interested in languages.”

Joe O’Farrell, from Heart of England School, one of the lucky pupils to attend the World Cup Day, said: “We learnt lots of different vocabulary and they made it more interesting by giving us things to do. We did mime in French, food tasting in Spanish and dancing in Italian.”

Ridwana Wallace-Laher, Head of year 8 from Grange Technology College, said: “Today has been really interesting for our pupils because they’ve got to experience learning different languages. We only study French at our school so it’s been really good for them to experience learning languages in such an imaginative way”.

Once the pupils had received their prizes and certificates, they departed the stadium filled with energy, motivation and a new-found enthusiasm for languages; though not before they had taken a selfie with Kate.

The event was a huge success, and highlighted how football – such an international and popular sport – can make learning languages enjoyable, attractive and attainable for young people.

Have a look at some photos from the event: www.flickr.com