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, instructional designer, adjunct professor, and the author of The 30 Goals Challenge for Teachers: Small Steps to Transform Your Teaching and Learning to Go: Lesson Ideas for Teaching with Mobile Devices, Cell Phones and BYOT. She has been recognized by the ELTon Awards, The New York Times, the Ministry of Education in Spain, and Microsoft’s Heroes for Education as an innovator in the movement of teacher-driven professional development and education technology. Recently, she was named Woman of the Year 2014 by Star Jone’s National Association of Professional Women and awarded a Bammy Award as a founder of #Edchat, the Twitter chat that spurred over 400 teacher chats. She has trained teachers and taught learners in over 25 countries and has consulted with organizations worldwide such as UNESCO Bangkok, The European Union aPLaNet Project, Cultura Iglesa of Brazil, the British Council in Tel Aviv, IATEFL Slovenia, HUPE Croatia, and VenTESOL. She shares regularly via TeacherRebootCamp.com, Twitter (@ShellTerrell), and Facebook.com/shellyterrell. Her greatest joy is being the mother of Rosco the pug.

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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