Implementation of ‘Eurovision Song Contest and the European Union’ (SOI-IT-253)

I have decided to implement this Learning Scenario by María García Baños in one of my EFL classes, made up of fourteen Italian high school students aged 14-15. During the first year of their foreign languages course, as part of the curriculum, they learn about geographical and cultural aspects of European English-speaking countries. And since this year Italy has returned to hosting the Eurovision song contest after 31 years, it seemed a good idea to explore the European Union and its member states with engaging activities, allowing students to discover the cultural heritage resources available on Europeana, consolidate their communication skills in English as a foreign language, develop intercultural and digital competences and… have fun with music.

Our learning pathway

In our first lesson, we started with a brainstorming on the song contest, trying to elicit students’ prior knowledge on the topic and activate vocabulary. 

In our next introductory step, we browsed the Eurovision song contest website and Europeana in order to understand how to search for information and resources. To adapt the scenario to my teaching context, I decided to adopt a modeling strategy and show my students the learning process and the product I expected from them: work in pairs to research and present information and curiosities about two EU member states participating in the 2022 Eurovision song contest, supported by an infographic created with Canva. In their oral presentation to their peers, they were supposed to include:

  • the geographical position of the two countries;
  • information about each country’s EU membership, currency, and landmarks;
  • fun facts about their participation in the contest;
  • details and opinions about the songs and their lyrics, pointing out useful language phrases;
  • some Europeana resources are representative of each country’s cultural heritage. 

I created an example of an infographic about Italy and Ireland using Canva, printed it to be hung on a class wall, and started presenting the information. Finally, through a Flippity randomizer students were divided in pairs and assigned the two EU countries to work on.

In the following three lessons the seven pairs of students presented the assigned countries, while their peers were allowed to ask questions and were then required to fill in a feedback & reflection form. All the posters created by the students were hung onto the classroom wall and their more colorful digital versions were collected on a Digipad.

Digital corkboard with examples of activities and output

We concluded our learning path with an all-fun lesson, playing a Quizizz based on all the information students had researched and various other fun facts, discussing the songs and singers of the contest and voting in the Eurovision style. Since we voted ahead of the semi-finals, all the 40 songs were still listed in the handout and the digital Flippity file provided for the ballot; each student assigned the 12, 10, 8 to 1 points to the 10 songs they preferred, just like real juries and viewers later would. We didn’t apply the “you cannot vote for your country” rule but students were asked to be as objective as possible. Are you curious to know about our predicted winner? Take a look!

Learning & Teaching Outcomes

The implementation of this learning scenario allowed my students to consolidate EFL vocabulary, grammar structures, and functions previously introduced through other CLIL activities, to learn about Europeana and Creative Commons licenses, develop research skills, consolidate their digital competence and express their creativity.

As a teacher, I was able to scaffold their learning process by providing answers to their questions while they were working but soon realized they ended up learning a lot of curiosities when exploring, and even when we were not working on this scenario I could hear them asking their peers questions such as… “Did you know that / who …?”. I must admit I too learnt a lot of new information and fun facts about some of the countries presented. Engagement is definitely the key to learning.

Did you find this story of implementation interesting? Why don’t you read about the related learning scenario?

Eurovision Song Contest and the European Union created by María García Baños

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CC BY 4.0: the featured image used to illustrate this article has been found on Europeana and has been provided by the National Library of Israel.

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