As the world (and even a few Americans) turns its gaze to South Africa for World Cup 2010, we should be seizing this opportunity to infuse multilingual and globally-conscious themes into schools and summer programs everywhere.
But before we dig into some great ideas, you might want to get into the polyglot spirit by playing this World Cup language quiz from BBC.com (you can access the quiz by clicking here). Or, take a moment to reflect on the linguistic quagmires that happen when speakers of at least 17 different languages engage in heated competition–the New York Times reported last month that FIFA referees everywhere are now taking crash courses on international swearwords (under FIFA guidelines, players can be penalized for obscenities or lewd gestures).
Now, onto some fun strategies and activities that incorporate the World Cup:
- How many languages can you use to say World Cup? Using this translated list of the phrase in 36 languages (including Arabic, Chinese, and French) as a start, see how many your kids can learn.
- Chant along with the crowds! Older kids and teens might be interested in learning cheers from different countries using YouTube videos available for viewing on npr.org (you can find them here). If you work with kids who speak languages other than English, having them teach each other soccer chants can help to incorporate home cultures and learn about new traditions.
- Have something to say? Get your students’ voices heard. Through World Cup Team Talk, BBC.com is offering a message board where global audiences can post. Comments will then be translated into 10 different languages using Google.
- Larry Ferlazzo has organized a comprehensive list with literally hundreds of World Cup-related teaching tools on his blog.
- Want to learn more? Check out the official World Cup 2010 site at Fifa.com. It is available in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Arabic, and International Sign Language, in case you were wondering.