Teaching languages through football Arsenal Double Club Languages

Thu Oct 10 13:41:00 UTC 2013

Just before the start of term, Penny Lewis (Subject Advisor for PE and Sport) and I spent an interesting morning at the Emirates Stadium with Steve Eadon - Arsenal Double Club Languages Coordinator. In addition to being a massive fan of the club, Steve is clearly passionate about promoting language learning and intercultural understanding. This soon became evident as he referred to different language activities undertaken with students at various places on the stadium tour. His article below shows that linking languages and football can get great results and can tackle poor motivation head on:

Teaching languages through football – Arsenal Double Club Languages

The Emirates Stadium

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Arsenal Double Club Languages is an innovative education programme for pupils that are learning French, German, Spanish, Italian or Portuguese at school.

The programme uses Arsenal and football as a theme to inspire pupils to learn a language. The Club produces fun, relevant learning materials in collaboration with specialist language partners including the Goethe Institute, Institut Français and the Consejería de Educación.

These resources, which cover the topics included in the National Curriculum, consist of colourful workbooks that are filled with language activities based around football, and also a DVD featuring one of the Gunners’ players speaking in their native language. No knowledge of football, or Arsenal, is required to teach the resources, or to complete them.

Like a regular football match, Double Club sessions are divided into two 45-minute halves: classroom and football.

A unique feature of the programme is the reinforcement of the language skills gained in the classroom out on the football pitch, for which a coaching guide is provided for staff that do not specialise in delivering practical sport sessions. The guide also contains all the basic vocabulary in the target language that might be needed during a practical session – just in case you want to delegate the delivery of this part of the programme to PE staff or sports leaders.

The target language is used in both the classroom and football sessions to create a fun and practical learning experience. Of course, the two 45-minute sessions are purely a suggestion and the programme is designed to be flexible so as to fit into any school’s timetable.

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 Arsenal in the Community staff. Here the students are encouraged to practice their language skills while they visit areas such as the Directors’ Box, media rooms, the Arsenal changing rooms and pitchside.

The programme is available to all schools at Key Stages 2 and 3. For primary pupils, it is a great way to build on their existing knowledge or even introduce them to a new language. At secondary level, the programme aims to boost pupils’ enthusiasm for MFL in advance of selecting their GCSE options.

Since 2006, some 10,000 pupils across the UK from almost 400 schools have participated in the scheme. The programme is supported by the European Commission and was awarded the European Language Label as the UK’s best language project in 2012.

For more information, please contact me direct at seadon@arsenal.co.uk or visit the Arsenal Double Club website. Please also see the links below. 

Useful links:




Outstanding contribution award, Arsenal Double Clun (CILT website)

Media coverage









Steve Eadon
Arsenal Double Club Languages Coordinator


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