With these activities, you can score a cultural goal.
As a Spanish teacher, I loved using popular events as an opportunity to bring the world into the classroom. This year, the most-watched global event will be the FIFA World Cup. Because the tournament brings together fans worldwide to cheer on their favorite teams and players representing their country on the world stage, it exposed my students to many countries they don't typically get a chance to think about.
This year's World Cup features 32 teams and will be held in Qatar from November 20th to December 13th, 2022. With the excitement of the matches and the international audience that watches them, World Cup fever can be used in different ways as a language immersion tool. Take advantage of this unifying event, whether you teach Spanish, French, German, or any other language!
Make It a Competition: World Cup Music Bracket
What better way to learn about the countries participating in the World Cup than by listening to their music? You probably won't be able to watch every match, but you can have a friendly music bracket where students vote every day for their favorite song. You can use our bracket template by making a copy of it and then filling it out with the winners your students choose! Copy the bracket to your Google Drive, and you can customize it however you want. It includes links to the playlist plus a list of songs in order of the match schedule.
Two songs from each World Cup-participating country compete in a knockout format to determine the winner. Your students listen to the songs and vote for their favorites. Students in my classes frequently rated this activity as one of their favorite activities of the year!
If you play two songs per day representing 32 participant countries, this bracket should last the entirety of the World Cup. To reduce the total time it takes to find the winner, you can have different classes vote for different sets of songs. It'll be interesting to see whether the winner matches that of the actual Cup!
Boost your students' language excitement by playing these fun songs before World Cup games. We've got a YouTube playlist of songs from each country to make it easier for you.
WORLD CUP PLAYLIST
Introduce Sports Vocabulary Through Clip Chat
Clip Chat, also known as MovieTalk, was one of my favorite ways to show videos in my classroom. Dr. Ashley Hastings developed the MovieTalk language teaching method to teach English as a second language at the university level.
Using MovieTalk, you can provide your students with a wide range of vocabulary in an engaging way. As you describe a sentence structure, students see images of it instead of written translations. By using this technique, students will receive differentiated instruction based on their current level of language proficiency. For beginning students, most words will be brand-new, while advanced students will recognize grammatical constructions and a few novel words.
You want your students to watch videos that tell compelling stories and make them want to discover what happens next. The language of the video itself won't matter since you'll be muting the sound anyway.
Select a short film that students will find interesting. The video should be less than five minutes long and have more action than dialogue.
Preview the film and choose what clear and comprehensible language to use as you describe the story and action. Note any essential unknown words/phrases you might need to write and display.
Students watch the film in class while you pause to narrate understandably through the action. If there is any dialogue in the film, mute the sound before you play it in class.
As students watch the film, pause every ten to twenty seconds to narrate what is happening: describe the action, ask questions, make predictions, etc. Your narration should be appropriate for your students' proficiency level.
Circle new language by using personalized questions and answers to connect with the class or predict what will happen next.
EL ÚLTIMO SUSPIRO- ARGENTINA
O FUTEBOL CLASSICO- DISNEY
BOUNCE- GUILLAUME BLANCHET
If you want more short-form curated films, you can also try this MovieTalk database compiled by a group of language teachers. It is entirely free and constantly updated.
Be One Country's Superfan Class
If you don't want to be a jack of all trades, master of none, you can focus on one country to support as a class! First, give students the option to vote for the country they want to support in a quick poll.
Choosing one country lets you create cultural lessons specific to that country. If you teach Spanish, you and your students might select Argentina, which arguably has the richest soccer history in all of South America. There, schools and offices close when the national team plays, and commercials aired during World Cup season are equal to Super Bowl ads.
You could decorate your classroom with Argentinian flags, art, and posters of prominent Argentinian personalities like Diego Maradona, Mercedes Sosa, and Lionel Messi. This will be Lionel Messi's last chance to help his home country win the World Cup, so it could be a historic moment to celebrate with your class!
Your class can also read a novel that takes place in Argentina, like Misterio en Buenos Aires by Fernando Ceravolo—available as an eReader from our collection— where four high school students from a high school in Barcelona take an end-of-the-year trip to the capital of Argentina, Buenos Aires, and find the map of a famous explorer. They have a series of fun adventures while they try to find a treasure.
Finally, your class could watch and answer comprehension questions related to this commercial released for the Qatar World Cup, called 40 millones, made by the Argentinian Soccer Federation, which focuses on the Argentinian people's passion for their team.
If you teach French, you may want to choose the champion of the last World Cup–France! You can discuss with your students the celebrations that took place once the French national team went back to France after the World Cup in Russia in 2018.
You can also take a virtual tour through Paris and learn about the beautiful Marseillan coast with iPassport (part of iCulture's continually updated library of video, song, and reading content), or compare and contrast an American home versus a typical French home.
On the day your country plays, organize a class party to show support, even inviting students to comment on the game if you can show it during class. We invite you to join classrooms around the world that will also be streaming World Cup matches on their TVs.
The 2022 FIFA World Cup will be broadcast live in English on FOX, FS1, and the FOX Sports App, as well as in Spanish on Telemundo, Universo, and Peacock–streaming options should be easy to find! Most games will broadcast between 7 AM and noon EST, with some exceptions at 2 AM.
Reach Your Class's Goals With Language Is Limitless
There are many ways you can use the World Cup to engage your students and make your lessons more meaningful. I hope this post has given you a winning score to make language learning fun and relevant.
Have you ever wanted to get–and share–more ideas? Join our Language is Limitless Community to get newsletters full of teaching ideas and join the Facebook group to share ideas with fellow world language teachers.
Former Spanish teacher based in Columbia, MD. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish Language and Literature from la Universidad del Zulia and a Master's degree in Spanish Linguistics from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Her interests include SEL education in the world language classroom, theater, and how to make the world a less scary place.Explore more related to this author
World Cup fever can be used in different ways as a language immersion tool.
Natalia Álvarez-Morillo, Spanish Teacher