As I have introduced in my previous blog entry, I would like to describe some of the activities and materials devised to work with our adolescent students.

As I have introduced in my previous blog entry, I would like to describe some of the activities and materials devised to work with our adolescent students. As it was explained, time constraints at our school obliged us to adapt to a more moderate model within CLIL, which is called “Theme-Based” model. It departs from the focus on Grammar Teaching and provides different activities on varied and original topics. Content and activities selection should guarantee and foster:

  • students´motivation and interest.
  • cooperative work.
  • development of communicative, cognitive, affective and learning processes.
  • reflection about the world´s current issues.

Following these premises we devised especial materials and activities so as to develop the different contents contained in the film from which we had departed.

To work with the series of contents Music-Biology-Values we designed materials for students with low proficiency level in English. We decided to show them the scene “Virologist Scene/Bob Marley Scene” from the film "I am Legend" and initiated a discussion based on questions and a brainstorm of ideas. In this way we introduced the topics and helped students recall as much knowledge and information about them as possible.

Before watching activity:

  • What is virology?
  • What does a virologist do?
  • Brainstorm ideas and try to build up a definition.

Afterwards students read a scientific text about “Virology Jobs” and checked their predictions. The chosen text was easy to read as well as informative enough so that students could extract the necessary information they needed to continue working. They also discussed the topic with their Biology teacher, who helped us a lot with specific information. The reading follow up activities included:

  • finding scientific words from Greek and Latin origins which resemble words used in our mother tongue, Spanish.
  • organising families of words.
  • reinforcing Grammar: PRESENT SIMPLE exercises in sentences referring to general truths and scientific use.
  • reinforcing Grammar using the PRESENT SIMPLE PASSIVE in sentences used in scientific texts.
  • fill in a chart comparing Bob Marley’s philosophy of life with what Dr. Neville does as a virologist.
  • preparing a short summary explaining the message contained in the “Virologist Scene/Bob Marley Scene” in the film “I am Legend”.

This is only one example of activities designed to work with our students following the “Theme-Based” model which can be developed in schools with restricted time allotted to the teaching of English.

It would be very interesting if colleagues from all over the world could share any ideas on materials and/or activities they might have been applying in their schools. Please contact me and write about them or about any other topic which might be of interest to all of us!

Receive my kind regards from Argentina,



Dear Paula,
Many thanks for your article which is quite interesting from creativity points of view.  I sometimes use this method (Theme-Based) with my students but without the help of any science teacher s as they do not know English.
Sometimes students do not have access to the films and I ask them to read a short story or an essay and we discuss about the different roles of actors / actresses and also the theme or useful points mentioned in the story. These kinds of activities are well performed with conditional sentences type 2, EG. What would you do if you were a virologist in a hospital? What would you like to be after being graduated from university?  Students usually response well if they find the jobs introduced interesting. They also ask the words they do not know which a good practice is and help their vocabulary be improved. TV local serials are also a good topic of discussion as some of them are really attractive which induce students to talk about them.
However many teachers here believe that putting students in real situations ,as they are done on films and TV programmers , are also enjoyed and well responded  by the students.
What I have experienced is that the subject of discussion and conversation must be of student’s interest so as to get the best results. The young like to talk about marriage and solving their problems while some adults prefer talking about inflation, cost of living, buying a flat, obtaining a better job or an educational degree.
Best wishes
A Mazinanian

Dear A. Mazinanian:

Thanks for participating with your comments! I think you are right when you say that topics to work with at school within a CLIL framework can be drawn from different sources, not only films if they are difficult to find where you live. Good readers can also be of help to draw some topics related to other school subjects, as well as to some cultural issues which can be dealt with in English classes.

With respect to other teachers at school who do not know English, I do not think this can be a problem. They can help you focus on a specific topic (the topic they specialise in) and help your students  grasp the key concepts of the different subjects even in their mother tongue. Then teachers of English should provide the students with the necessary materials to learn and practice the language they need.

Thanks again for your contributions and please keep commenting in case you have experimented with any other activites!

Good luck,


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