Pupils come together for multi-lingual song
'Together in the Language of Sport'
To celebrate nations uniting for the London 2012 Olympic Games, over 250 pupils from schools across the UK came together at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium on July 2 to perform a multilingual song and music video in a project initiated by the Goethe-Institut London.
The lyrics to the song ‘Together in the Language of Sport’, were written by the pupils as part of a competition combining languages, sport and music, and include verses in French, German, Greek, Italian and Spanish, with a chorus in English.
This is the latest initiative in the Double Club Languages programme - a multi award-winning project run in cooperation between Arsenal in the Community and key language partners, which combines learning with football to raise attainment and make learning fun and relevant to young people’s interests. Each Double Club session is split into two parts - a 45-minute classroom session with bespoke, interactive materials featuring the Arsenal team and a 45-minute football coaching session – mirroring the two halves of the ‘beautiful game’.
The Double Club Languages multilingual song competition was launched in the autumn of last year, when a challenge was set for secondary school pupils from across the UK to write the lyrics for a multilingual Olympics-themed song, accompanied by a catchy melody penned by the German electro-indie band Fotos. The competition was funded by two of Arsenal in the Community’s language partners, the Goethe-Institut London and the European Commission Representation in the UK.
The response to the competition was astounding, with over 450 children taking part from over 50 schools across the UK. Teachers were delighted by the impact on motivation and behaviour, with pupils choosing to meet up in lunch breaks and after school to hone their lyrics. As one teacher put it, pupils revelled in the opportunity to “stretch themselves as musicians and as linguists and work together as a team. Pupils gained a great deal from the experience and improved their language skills while having fun.”
The talented winners from six UK schools were invited to sing their lyrics together as ‘Team Harmony’ at a recording session in London in March 2012. On July 2 they performed the multilingual hit at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium together with all other participating schools, as well as London’s Kaos Signing Choir for deaf and hearing children, who taught the pupils how to perform the chorus in sign language.
Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, said: “Arsenal Double Club's success shows that sport and languages are a winning combination. The multilingual song, with its mix of English, French, German, Greek, Italian and Spanish verses, is a brilliant idea and I hope it will inspire more youngsters to discover new languages.”
Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger, fluent in five languages himself, also emphasises the importance of learning languages on the basis of his own career: “The fact that I learnt languages allowed me to be where I wanted to be – in English football. If you want to achieve your dreams, you can do it, and languages can certainly help you get there.”
With London 2012 just around the corner, the multilingual Double Club project provides schools with a fantastic opportunity to bring sport and languages closer together and make a high-profile, concerted push for the promotion of language learning in schools across the UK.
The video documentary/music video of this event will be launched and disseminated on the Arsenal Double Club Languages website on Wednesday, July 18, just in time for the end of term and the beginning of the Olympic Games.