Implementation of ‘If the Walls Could Talk…’ (SOI-IT-256)


Immediately after reading this engaging learning scenario designed by Katarzyna Siwczak, I considered implementing it with a class of 25 fourth-year upper secondary students aged 17-18, in order to integrate a curricular English language learning unit focusing on the art world. Learners had already been presented with upper intermediate vocabulary about the arts and had worked on some texts in their course book; in addition, in a previous unit, they had acquired crime vocabulary, including terms associated with the arts, such as piracy, heist, forgery, and vandalism.

According to the Italian national curriculum, at the end of the fourth year, upper secondary students are supposed to achieve the B2 level on the CEFR in all four language skills: reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Some of the students in this class were also preparing for their B2 qualification exams and needed to practice their writing skills.

Our narrative

Since it was necessary to adjust the learning scenario to my teaching context, we started our first lesson introducing the topic of street art and focusing on oral skills, with a listening activity based on a TedEd video “Is graffiti art? Or vandalism?”, followed by a class discussion.

Then I showed the students the Wakelet collection with the challenges, asking them to start a personalized journey at their own pace, to be completed within 2 weeks, documenting their learning on an individual Sway page. Since I strongly believe in the effectiveness of modeling when requiring students to work with a new digital tool or following an innovative methodology, I prepared a Sway with detailed instructions and resources and posted it on our MS Teams channel. The link to each student’s learning diary had to be posted on a collective digital board.

Extracts from students’ learning diaries containing their reflections and artworks

In the next lessons, students illustrated their learning diaries containing screenshots, texts, and their final artwork, explaining what message they wanted to convey, discussing their choices with their peers, and getting their feedback… Finally, we focused on how to write an article, with examples from the course book and other resources; the last activity was, therefore, a writing task: an article on the political and social impact of street art to be published in the school’s online magazine.

Assessment & Feedback

This learning scenario has certainly helped most of my students to improve their English language skills in a more engaging and less stressful way, during a period of the school year in which they are usually full of formal tests. Allowing them to manage their own learning time and pace was one of the elements which were mostly appreciated, together with the possibility of being assessed with a rubric that considered their efforts and digital competence (the quality of the learning diary produced), their communicative competence (explanatory texts + article), as well as their critical thinking and creativity (artwork). Personally, I was impressed by some of their creations and by how deeply they had reflected on the ways that artists can raise awareness or make a difference.

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

If the Walls Could Talk… created by Katarzyna Siwczak

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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 Associazione culturale GoTellGo.

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