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CLIL and Stories that Move: a blend that works!

22 sep 2023 - door Emma Abbate

Emma Abbate is an experienced CLIL teacher of history and civic education from Italy. She talks about the CLIL approach (Content and Language Integrated Learning) to language teaching and why Stories that Move is an attractive tool to integrate into CLIL lessons.

The Stories that Move toolbox and CLIL approach both aim to promote active learning by engaging students in hands-on, collaborative activities.

They encourage cross-curricular learning by integrating content from different subject areas. In the Stories that Move toolbox, students learn about diversity and discrimination through the lens of history, language, and social studies. Similarly, in CLIL lessons, students can study philosophy, science, or social studies through the lens of language learning. A core CLIL aim is to develop students’ language skills by providing opportunities for language learning in a meaningful and authentic context. Stories that Move clips offer authentic stories subtitled in nine languages.

CLIL also promotes cultural awareness and the material on the Stories that Move website helps expose students to different cultures and perspectives.

Blending the two allows educators to create attractive and meaningful learning experiences that help students to develop a deeper understanding of issues connected with prejudices, intolerance, and inequality.

Using Stories that Move for CLIL

Combine the resources from the Stories that Move website with CLIL language learning objectives.

  • Select the individual modules that align most closely with the content objectives of the CLIL lesson. For example, for the topic of migration, Stories that Move has modules that focus on diversity and include stories of migration such as that of Shirel from Austria or Wael, who arrived in Berlin as a refugee from Syria.
  • Languages learning in context
    It provides a good opportunity for the students to use language in context and language learning goals can be integrated into the content of the Stories that Move modules using vocabulary and grammar structures from the language curriculum. The teacher will provide language support (scaffolding) to students as needed, such as vocabulary explanations, to help them understand the content and develop their language skills.
  • Interactive activities can also be built in to engage students in active learning. Group discussions and project-based learning activities from the CLIL lesson complement the interactive modules and quizzes in Stories that Move; a project on discrimination (CLIL Geography and History) can be built on resources from the toolbox.
  • Stories that Move encourages students to think critically about the issues presented in the resources and to apply their learning to real-world contexts, CLIL teachers can make good use of the materials – for instance, proposing role-play after watching a clip or clips, to help students understand different perspectives and points of view expressed in the videos.

In short, my experience in class shows that blending CLIL and the Stories that Move toolbox is a great way to help educators create motivating and significant learning experiences for our students.


Coyle, D., Hood, P., & Marsh, D. (2010). CLIL: Content and language integrated learning.
Cambridge University Press. Marsh, D. (2010). Key concepts for CLIL. In C. M. Dalton-Puffer, T. Nikula, & U. Smit (Eds.), Language use and language learning in CLIL classrooms (pp. 11-33). John Benjamins Publishing.

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