Say it with a Ballad! (LS-IT-533)

This Learning Scenario by Maria Rita Pepe has been designed in order to provide an engaging learning experience for EFL teenage students starting to learn about the poetic text and how to analyse it. It has been created within the Italian curriculum of English as a Foreign Language which, in some high school courses, includes English Culture and Literature and consequently the analysis of different literary genres. 

Teenagers usually have a special emotional connection to music and rhythm. Therefore, starting from the analysis of a poem from the Europeana collection, students will learn about the ballad as a genre from the beginnings in its oral, traditional form to our modern pop and rock songs. They will learn how ballads have been used to tell stories or convey messages.

Activities are focused on storytelling in order to improve communication skills, formative assessment draws on game-based learning techniques, while the final task is meant to stimulate students’ creativity and cultural expression and at the same time show them that playing with the language can be easy and fun.

It is a learning experience which can be fully adjustable to any learning situation, whether you are teaching in class, online or in a hybrid mode. 

Working with Europeana during an online lesson

The Learning Process 

Students start immediately with a hands-on activity: they are presented with a resource from Europeana, “Willie, we have missed you”, a ballad whose language can be easily understood by EFL intermediate learners, and asked to work in groups in order to read it, imagine the story behind the poetic text and spot some of the features of poetry they have already studied. They report their theories and findings in a collective board where they can see their peers’ suggestions. Even the presentation of the main features of the medieval ballad by the teacher takes place in an interactive way, through a Quizizz lesson which they can actively take part in.

Students taking part in the interactive lesson on the medieval ballad

Later, they will use Europeana again to browse through two collections curated by the teacher and choose one of the ballads in order to present it to their peers.

Example of a student’s work

Other activities will allow them to be in control of their own learning path: a flipped learning task promoting inclusion since students can navigate the resources at their own pace; a task requiring them to research and present, integrating citizenship topics into the learning experience; a creative production task allowing students both to express themselves and make their learning visible.

Finally, they will reflect on their learning and will also provide feedback to their peers according to structured guidelines.

Would you like to know more about this learning scenario? You can download it below:

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Public Domain Mark 1.0: the featured image used to illustrate this article has been found on Europeana and has been provided by  The British Library .

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