Implementation of “School uniforms, yes or no”(SOI-HR-275)

Author: Maja Labaš Horvat, English Teacher

School/Organization: Srednja škola Prelog, Croatia

I have decided to implement this Learning Scenario by  Željka Starčević in one of my EFL classes, made up of thirteen Croatian secondary school students aged 14-15. As part of the curriculum, they learn about different school systems so the topic of school uniforms was relevant to the unit’s content, and since our students have to learn how to write a for and against essay which they will be tested on in the state matura exam, this learning scenario was a perfect fit to introduce the students to argumentation and support. 

The implementation context

The story behind the Implementation


The learning scenario “School uniforms, yes or no”, Željka Starčević, was used as a starting point for an activity on for and against essay writing by the Croatian teacher Maja Labaš Horvat with the 1rd grade students secondary school students (13 students), attending Srednja škola Prelog , Croatia.

Subjects that were covered during this implementation are English, Civic Education and Art, since the students learn how to state their arguments and give support for them. The implementation took two classes of 45 minutes as I adapted the information provided during the original scenario for 14-15 year-old students.

Why this learning scenario?

Firstly, the topic of school uniforms is linked to the unit from our curriculum on Education, and at the same time, the learning scenario uses Art and texts from Europeana, which can freely be used in the classroom, and which students have not yet used. 

Secondly, the topic introduces argumentation, debating and essay writing, which was an excellent introduction to the topic of essay writing, in this case, the writing of a for and against essay.

The narrative

The motivation

We first formed 2 groups of six students and have used the QR codes provided by the author of the LS for them to comment on the photos, notice similarities and differences and to come up with the topic of the lesson (

Picture 1: Using the QR codes to access links to Europeana photos

 This part took less than in the scenario. Then each group was given a different text on school uniforms (, ) and and each group had to present the gist (also shorter activity because it didn’t include writing on Padlet).

The argumentation

Groups were given ten minutes to write the arguments for implementing school uniforms and those against the implementation (one set for each group). They could use the given texts and do research on the Internet (web pages provided by the teacher to save time). Then the groups wrote the arguments on the whiteboard (Padlet wasn’t used because the activity was done in the classroom, not at home as in the scenario). It took students only 10 minutes to come up with a list of some ten arguments for and against the topic. Then we moved from the scenario and each student had to choose one argument and provide support for it. This was great because it gave them a chance to think more about the argument and some of the weaker arguments were dismissed. Students took notes while their colleagues presented the arguments. 

Picture 2: Writing the arguments for and against the topic

The writing part

While the scenario focused on class debate, the idea behind the implementation was to introduce students to essay writing, specifically to learn how to structure a for and against essay. The teacher explained the essay structure (4 paragraphs) and gave them a clear overview on what each paragraph needs to incorporate (with examples on the topic of school uniforms). Students then worked on their essays in groups and after doing a first draft, their homework assignment was to finish the essays which were shared on by both of the groups ( . It would be perfect if we had an additional class so they could finish it all together, this way they had to cooperate online. 

Picture 3: Essay structure                                     Picture 4: Essay done by group 1

Learning outcomes

Benefits for students

The main learning outcomes achieved with the implementation were to enhance their basic vocabulary, to improve all four language skills, especially the productive ones. The classes included Collaborative Learning and Peer learning, as they were the ones learning from eachother through the discussion. Event he weaker students did a great job because they had peer support and could ask additional questions while working in a group. The learning scenario really enhances students’ critical thinking skills, information literacy, adaptability, creativity and responsibility for their own work within the group. The atmosphere in the classroom was more relaxed and they used English more than they usually do while sitting in pairs. I will definitely try to use the scenario for class debate, but probably with 4th year students.  

Outcomes for the educator

Teacher as the facilitator

Since EFL teaching requires us to think outside the box and at the same time, gives us the opportunity to present the newest trends and topics to our students, Europeana is a great source of data, blogs, works of art which we can use on a daily basis, as motivation for work, as a place where students can do guided research and as a starting point for teachers when deciding on topics and choosing educational materials for classroom usage. The platform for me is really easy to use, it is very intuitive and with the help of our local ambassador, it became a resource which first comes to mind when planning lessons. I have also read other learning scenarios connected to the topic of Education and will use them in my future work. The platform helps me to become the helper/facilitator and allow students to take responsibility for their own work and progress.

Did you find this story of implementation interesting? Why don’t you read about the related learning scenario? School uniforms, yes or no? (EN-CUR-203) created by Željka Starčević

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Do you want to discover more stories of implementation? Click here.

Public Domain Mark 1.0: the featured image used to illustrate this article has been found on Europeana and has been provided by the National Academic Library and Information System Foundation.

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