After chatting with pupils in their native language, the two Spanish speaking stars took part in a role play activity and participated in a mock press conference with the students.
The visit was a trip down memory lane for the players as they discussed how being back in the classroom reminded them of their own school days.
“It went very well today, we enjoyed it a lot,” said Chicharito. “When we came into the school, we were talking about our school life was and what our lessons were like. It was a very good experience for us.”
United goalkeeper David de Gea, who was born in Madrid, was touched to see the pupils enjoying a Spanish experience. “To come here and see children learning my language and to see my country’s flag and the football shirt of the Spanish national team was very special for me,” he said.
The players further commented on the importance of working hard at school and Chicharito, who is fluent in English, highlighted how speaking another language can help in later life. “I think it is much easier to learn a language whilst you are at school”, he said. “I would encourage children to learn Spanish; I don’t think it is spoken as much as English in the world, but to learn languages will prepare you for life, you should learn as much as you can at school.”
Historically, Broadoak school has not seen a great uptake of Spanish at GCSE level and teacher Ruth Dunleavy believes that the special visit may inspire more children to take the subject further.
“We have to compete with more practical subjects that are more fun to do at the time,” said Ruth. “Spanish is a subject that many pupils enjoy, but it’s more of a future need. A visit like this makes them see how they can actually use languages in real life. They’ve seen me talking to the players rather than me just using Spanish in class. To see language in action is really important.
“Already because of this day we’ve had a new student from year 8 who now wants to take up Spanish for GCSE,” continued Ruth. “I think anyone who fancied it will hopefully be inspired to take it up now.”
That is certainly true for 12 year old United fan Daryl Weekes, who was delighted to take part in the lesson. “Seeing famous players speaking Spanish makes you want to learn more,” said Daryl. “I think it was good that the professional footballers came in. I support United so it was even more exciting for me. I was dead nervous this morning, I just couldn’t get it out of my head but it was really exciting to meet them.”
The visit was organised through Manchester United Foundation’s partnership with Broadoak school, which sees full time football coach, Emma Lipman, based at the school to work with pupils and the local community.
Emma commented, “To be able to bring two top class footballers into the school is a great incentive for the kids. It’s been great for me to see the children so happy and not just the 28 children who were in the class; there has been a real buzz around the whole school today.”
For more information about the Foundation's Hub of the Community school partnership programme click here.