Why it Makes Sense to Teach the World Cup

Part of the Cool Sites series

As an English language teacher I love opportunities to teach culturally responsive lessons (CRT), a type of curriculum that celebrates and responds to various cultural issues through student-centered instruction. In a previous post, Do Our Students Realize They Live in the World, I explain why all students need to develop skills in collaborating with others worldwide. These skills are rarely thought in schools. How many teachers do you know in your school that participate in international projects?

Nelson Mandela is an incredibly wise man who realized that one way to unify people in a nation is through sports! The World Cup is the sporting event that unites nations and brings the world together to rejoice, cheer, kick, scream, rant and now blow our vuvuzelas! My adult English language learners are having rich discussions about the World Cup and my kindergartners are also enjoying learning about sports! However, you can use the World Cup to teach any subject, such as math, history, and statistics.

Lesson Ideas

Below are the resources I have been using with my adult English language learners (pre-intermediate level) and hope they provide you with ideas:

Sean Banville’s Listening Exercises & Quizzes

To prepare for the class, I suggested my students complete these activities in our wiki:

  1. Please read this article about Germany in the World Cup
  2. Then listen to the MP3 of the article without reading the article
  3. Now take these quizzes to check your understanding- Quiz 1 and Quiz 2

Sue Lyon’s Video & Listening Quiz On Vuvuzelas

  • In class, we sparked thoughtful discussion by watching a video on the ESOLCourses blog about banning Vuvuzelas.
  • As a class we created a concept map of what we remembered from the video about Vuvuzuelas and what we had each observed.
  • Then we took this video quiz.
  • We then separated into two groups to debate the issue if Vuvuzelas should be banned! We had an incredible discussion with the majority of the class voting on Sue’s poll to not ban them. Many of the students came up with great arguments, such as Vuvuzelas being a tradition, a symbol of hope, preventing coaches from communicating with players, and more!

Can I Play This at Home? The World Cup Online Game

  • In class, students also created questions for this fun game, Can I Play This at Home.
  • This game has the students choose a team, then answer questions correctly to make the footballers make a play.
  • Students are submitting their questions on the website then having their classmates play the game at home.
  • There are also preset questions in several categories, such as math, spelling, and grammar.

Here are more World Cup resources and ideas:

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Shelly Terrell

Shelly Sanchez Terrell is a teacher trainer, author, and international speaker. She is the host of American TESOL’s Free Friday Webinars and the Social Media Community Manager for The Consultants-E. She has co-founded and organized the acclaimed educational projects, Edchat, ELTChat, The Reform Symposium E-Conference and the ELTON nominated Virtual Round Table language and technology conference. Her prolific presence in the educator community through social media has been recognized by several notable entities, such as The New York Times, UNESCO Bangkok, Edweek, Converge Magazine, the United Federation of Teachers, the 140 Conference, Mashable, English Central, Tefl.net, and T/H/E JOURNAL. Her education blog, Teacher Reboot Camp, is ranked as one of the top 10 language teaching and technology blogs and the 50 best blogs for education leaders. In 2012 find her book, The 30 Goals Challenge for Educators published by Eye on Education and participate with over 7000 educators worldwide in this online professional development course that helps educators develop Personal Learning Networks and accomplish social media and teaching goals. Find her on Twitter, @ShellTerrell. Shelly has taught English language learners at various levels since 1998 in the US, Greece, and in Germany. She currently presents and hosts workshops on integrating technology effectively with young learners and adults. Shelly holds an Honours BA in English and a minor in Communication with a specialization in Electronic Media from the University of Texas in San Antonio and an Honours MA in Curriculum Instruction ESL from the University of Phoenix.

4 thoughts on “Why it Makes Sense to Teach the World Cup

  1. Dear Shelly,

    I am an ESl teacher in Uruguay and I am carrying out a World Cup project with my 4th grade students. I am using some of the sites, activities and tools you have shared.

    THX 4 SHARING!!! ☺

  2. I wish I had students right now! I think my students would love the real-world sports tie into learning and activities surrounding the World Cup. It sounds like you are taking full advantage, good for you!

  3. Great post, Shelly, & cheers for the mention.

    It’s always really interesting to hear how other people use our lesson plans & quizzes in their lessons. The concept map is a really nice touch that I hadn’t thought of.

    Some great links to other World Cup materials that I hadn’t seen before as well, which I’ll be adding to our World Cup teaching resources list.

    Sue :-)

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