“it isn't your fault”




LEARNING PATH of  lesson1

Brainstorming activity: I propose two images of keywords about human rights, dignity and discrimination,  aimed at breaking the ice, let students freely speaking.

As to reading I start presenting  to the whole class, the articles of three legal sources,  the Italian Constitution and the two most important international sources from UE and UN. The common denominator is “dignity”: the documents share  words and expressions that  lend themselves to in-depth analysis. Therefore, the first activity, to be carried out in pairs, concerns vocabulary: synonyms, antonyms, odd man out, and rephrasing.

The lesson continues with the administration of a running dictation, about human rights. Running dictation gets students out of their seats and engages reading, writing, listening and speaking skills. I avoided putting many visuals or other coloured images in the text in order to allow pupils to concentrate on the single chunks of language. I think this is an amusing activity: the class is divided into three groups and each group has its text attached to the  blackboard, at a certain distance from the others, so that the running students do not bump into each other!  I choose a very easy text from the syntactict point of view with parataxis and linkers. The students should try to reproduce the text exactly – including correct spelling and punctuation. The follow up activity concerns a family word grid to be completed (to be done in ict lab, so that they can search for the words on web dicionaries).

After that, I propose a noticing microlanguage activity, concerning the use of modal verbs and collocations.

Finally, as homework, students have to search for collocations with the word “discrimination”.


 WARM UP ACTIVITY: Brainstorming

Reflecting on the meaning of equality (10 min.)

The concept of “equality” is connected to several aspects of our lives and all humans should be able to live decorously and serenely.

Students can work in pairs and briefly discuss this topic:

“According to you, which are the fields where equality is violated?” Think about nowadays, in history.... write the results of your reflections. Brief class discussion.




Reading: legal sources

Costituzione italiana 1/1/1948

Articolo 3

Tutti i cittadini hanno pari dignità sociale e sono uguali davanti alla legge senza distinzione di sesso razza lingua, religione, opinioni politiche, di condizioni personali e sociali                                


The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union 07/12/2000

Article 20

Everyone is equal before the law

Article 21

Any discrimination based on any ground such as sex, race, colour, ethnic or social origin, genetic features, language, religion or belief, political or any other opinion, membership of a national minority, property, birth, disability, age or sexual orientation shall be prohibited.


The Universal Declaration of Human Rights 18/12/1948

Article 1

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.


ACTIVITY 1: reflecting about the words of equality  

(20 min.)

Students can work in pairs  

 Write a synonym next to each of the words below:

  1. person                      …………….                4. violation        …………………
  2. equality                …………….                5. dignity        …………………
  3. endowed        …………….        

 Write a antonym next to each of the words below:

1.   moral              …………….                 4. conscience        …………………

2. respect

3. (to)prohibit        ………….....        5. (to) safeguard   ……………


ACTIVITY 2. Running dictation

(about 20 minutes)

 UN International day for the elimination of violence against women

Because you are valuable, you have the right to live and maintain your dignity. Your dignity is the condition of being worthy of esteem and respect.

Being treated with human dignity requires that others  cannot hurt you physically, mentally, emotionally or socially.

Why This International Day?

ACTIVITY 3. Complete the FAMILY WORDS grid

Here you can find headwords taken from the running dictation: starting from

 the entries, try to search for the terms of the same family (about 20 minutes)









to value










ACTIVITY 4. Language scaffolding NOTICING

(about 10 min.)

Grammatical structures that are relevant for this topic: modal verbs for obligation.


Humans should be able to feel equal before the law

Women should be treated respectfully

Women ought to have the same rights as men in every countRy

Human dignity must be protected

Look at some verbs and adjectives concerning equality, that can constitute “collocations” (groups of words linked together, habitually juxtaposed)



to have

to demand

to fight for

to promote

to ensure

to establish

to strive for

to guarantee

to regain

to achieve










Search for collocations  with the word “discrimination” 

e.g. discrimination against (women, gay people...)

to fight discrimination

You can use verbs, adjectives, but also prepositions











LEARNING PATH of lesson 2

I start the lesson by proposing a warm up activity in pairs, a tile puzzle*, and by commenting the various collocations they have searched for as homework. Pupils talk freely, in the sense that class discussion involves the chunks of language found not in a schematic or strictly way but, in order to let pupils be confident with them, in a loose way.


After, aiming at getting deeper into the field of discrimination, the class watches a video, a song concerning a case of domestic violence. The text of the song is used to make a dictogloss, which involves both listening and writing,  in a cooperative context. The follow up activity are  both the reflexion, with a little scaffolding, on the language and phrasal verbs, and the task of looking for vocabulary concerning the semantic field of “suffering” in the text of the song. Then, a speaking activity is proposed: the description of the story.

Activity 2 is a comprehension activity - to be carried out individually - starting from an institutional video of the United Nation about the protection WOMEN’S rights. It involves listening, note taking and writing. A moment of discussion is expected at the end of the task. This speaking should be more methodical than the  previous ones, considering that vocabulary and structures are gradually becoming more familiar to the students.

Finally activity 3 is a “noughts and crosses” game, with the objective of stimulating speaking and fluency, using the terms found during  the lesson path. This game is meant to be done in group.

*Key of the tile puzzle:

Domestic violence has long been a taboo subject for the media, contributing to the shame associated with this issue.”.

ACTIVITY 1 listening, writing, noticing, speaking,

(about 40 minutes)


Song: Tracy Chapman Behind the wall



You will listen to the song and write down what you remember; then, you will listen to the song again, write and compare with a schoolmate. Finally, in groups of 4 people you will have to recreate the original text (of course shown only at the end of the activity)

Behind the Wall

Last night I heard the screaming

Loud voices behind the wall

Another sleepless night for me

It won't do no good to call

The police

Always come late hey

If they come at all


And when they arrive

They say they can't interfere

With domestic affairs

Between a man and his wife

And as they walk out the door

The tears well up in her eyes


Last night I heard the screaming

Then a silence that chilled my soul

Prayed that I was dreaming

When I saw the ambulance in the road


And the policeman said

"I'm here to keep the peace

Will the crowd disperse

I think we all could use some sleep"


Last night I heard the screaming

Loud voices behind the wall

Another sleepless night for me

It won't do no good to call

The police

Always come late hey

If they come at all

ACTIVITY 2. watching a video: listening, taking notes, comprehension, writing

(about 40 minutes)


UN video

Beat me I'm UNbeatable


UNITED NATION  women Anti violence MESSAGE

Ending Violence against women and Sarah’s Story: Improving essential services for survivors of violence against women and girls


SDGs sustainable development goals


While listening, take notes and, after listening, answer the following questions (comprehension)

What does “to take the heat” mean? And who “step forward” is addressed to?

What happens to Sarah after her apparently normal wedding?

How do usually women react to violence?

Why is it so difficult for her to seek help?

Who are the main perpetrators of violence, according to data?

Which are the main services to apply to?

Which is the main idea of the message?


Discussion in class at the end of the task.


LEARNING PATH of lesson3

The warm up moment is composed of  A speaking activity.

It is a hot seat game with some of the words found during the previuos lessons: the class is divided into 2 teams, one student is on a chair, facing his/her team, and has to guess, through the descriptions of the schoolmates, a word written on the board*.

After, I propose  a text taken from Amnesty intenational website. The first activity is connected with comprehension with questions; the second one is linked to the collocation concerning our semantic fields of suffering and violence.

Another follow up activity linked to the text is writing a  summary, a condensed version, focusing on the main ideas, and leaving out much of the reduntant  and explanatory detail of the original text.  Anyway, in order to be effective, a few well-chosen words and supporting details must be present.

So  the two activities linked to the text have two different objectives: the first one, analysis, the other one, synthesis.

At the end of the lesson students have to solve a word puzzle and increase their word bank (in case they do not finish the activity, they will do it as HOMEWORK)

*Words for the hot seat game:

to challenge

refugee status


to blame



honor killing

acid burning

  1. Work in pairs:
  2. Violence Against Women : A Human Rights Violation

Without exception, a woman's greatest risk of violence is from someone she knows. Domestic violence is a violation of a woman's right to physical integrity, to liberty, and all too often, to her right to life itself. When states fail to take the basic steps needed to protect women from domestic violence or allow these crimes to be committed with impunity, states are failing in their obligation to protect women from torture.

The imbalance of power between inmates and guards is a result of prisoners' total dependency on correctional officers and guards' ability to withhold privileges and is manifest in direct physical force and indirect abuses. Because incarcerated women are largely invisible to the public eye, little is done when the punishment of imprisonment is compounded with that of rape, sexual assault, groping during body searches, and shackling during childbirth. Women are often coerced into providing sex for "favors" such as extra food or personal hygiene products, or to avoid punishment. There is little medical or psychological care available to inmates. Though crimes in prison such as rape are prevalent, few perpetrators of violence against female inmates are ever held accountable. In 1997, for example, only ten prison employees in the entire federal system were disciplined for sexual misconduct.

Inmate: recluso

To grope: palpeggiare, molestare

shackling: ammanettamento

Women's subjugation to men is pervasive in the political, civil, social, cultural, and economic spheres of many countries. In such societies, a woman who turns down a suitor or does not get along with her in-laws far too frequently becomes a victim of a violent form of revenge: acid burning. Acid is thrown in her face or on her body and can blind her in addition to often fatal third-degree burns. Governments do little to prevent the sale of acid to the public or to punish those who use it to kill and maim. Similarly, the ongoing reality of dowry-related violence is an example of what can happen when women are treated as property. Brides unable to pay the high "price" to marry are punished by violence and often death at the hands of their in-laws or their own husbands.

To turn down a suitor: rifiutare un corteggiatore

to get along: andare d'accordo

in-laws: parenti dello sposo, affini

to maim: sfigurare

dowry: dote

In some societies, women are often looked upon as representatives of the honor of the family. When women are suspected of extra-marital sexual relations, even if in the case of rape, they can be subjected to the cruelest forms of indignity and violence, often by their own fathers or brothers. Women who are raped and are unable to provide explicit evidence, are sometimes accused of zina, or the crime of unlawful sexual relations, the punishment for which is often death by public stoning. Such laws serve as a great obstacle inhibiting women from pursuing cases against those who raped them. Assuming an accused woman's guilt, male family members believe that they have no other means of undoing a perceived infringement of "honor" other than to kill the woman.

To undo (qui nel contesto): cancellare, annullare

Female genital mutilation is the removal of part or all of the external female genitalia. In its most severe form, a woman or girl has all of her genitalia removed and then stitched together, leaving a small opening for intercourse and menstruation. It is practiced in 28 African countries on the pretext of cultural tradition or hygiene. An estimated 135 million girls have undergone FGM with dire consequences ranging from infection (including HIV) to sterility, in addition to the devastating psychological effects. Though all the governments of the countries in which FGM is practiced have legislation making it illegal, the complete lack of enforcement and prosecution of the perpetrators means FGM continues to thrive.

Intercourse: rapporto

to thrive: crescere

Sexuality is regulated in a gender specific way and maintained through strict constraints imposed by cultural norms and sometimes through particular legal measures supporting those norms. The community, which can include religious institutions, the media, family and cultural networks, regulates women's sexuality and punishes women who do not comply. Such women include lesbians, women who appear "too masculine," women who try to freely exercise their rights, and women who challenge male dominance. Lesbian women, or women who are perceived to be lesbian, experience abuses by state authorities in prisons, by the police, as well as private actors such as their family and community. Numerous cases document young lesbians being beaten, raped, forcibly impregnated or married, and otherwise attacked by family members to punish them or "correct" their sexual identity. Lesbians in the United States face well-founded fears of persecution by police because of their sexual identity and violence against lesbians occurs with impunity on a regular basis.

The UN High Commission on Refugees advocates that "women fearing persecution or severe discrimination on the basis of their gender should be considered a member of a social group for the purposes of determining refugee status." (
Guidelines on the Protection of Refugee Women) Such persecution may include harms unique to their gender such as, but not limited to, female genital mutilation, forcible abortion, domestic violence that the state refuses to act on and honor killings. However, women seeking asylum in the United States rarely gain refugee status based on claims of gender-related violence, as U.S. asylum adjudicators apply a restrictive interpretation of the international definition of a refugee entitled to persecution. In particular, lesbian women seeking asylum from sexuality-based persecution in their countries of origin often, and legitimately, fear disclosing their sexuality to authorities.

Claim: affermazione, asserzione

Perpetrators of violence against women are rarely held accountable for their acts. Women who are victims of gender-related violence often have little recourse because many state agencies are themselves guilty of gender bias and discriminatory practices. Many women opt not to report cases of violence to authorities because they fear being ostracized and shamed by communities that are too often quick to blame victims of violence for the abuses they have suffered. When women do challenge their abusers, it can often only be accomplished by long and humiliating court battles with little sympathy from authorities or the media. Violence against women is so deeply embedded in society that it often fails to garner public censure and outrage.

Bias: pregiudizio, preconcetto

Ostracized: messo al bando

Embedded: radicato

to garner: attirare        

outrage: indignazione

Violence against women is a violation of human rights that cannot be justified by any political, religious, or cultural claim. A global culture of discrimination against women allows violence to occur daily and with impunity. Amnesty International calls on you to help us eradicate violence against women and help women to achieve lives of equality and human dignity.

1) Answer the following questions:

  1. How can violence against women be manifested?
  2. Why isn't it easy to be protected by authorities both in developed and undeveloped countries? Show some examples.

match each paragraph with the right title

Violence against women in custody

The Problem of Impunity

Gender Based Asylum

Human Rights Violations Based on Actual or Perceived Sexual Identity

Female Genital Mutilation

Domestic violence

"Honor" Killings

Acid Burning and Dowry Deaths

2) collocations

each group searches for collocations concerning our topic.

3) abstract with the main ideas

Noughts and crosses game(about 20 minutes)


The class is divided into 2 groups. Each group chooses a word and has got 60 seconds time to build up a sentence with the word. Of course each team has to try to win the match!



Court battle







ACTIVITY 1: fostering creative thinking

(2 hours + homework + 2 hours oral presentation)

  1. CreativePINK thinking

First step:  the class is divided into groups of 4-5 people. You can decide the members of the groups, however you want, considering the fact that you have to work at home, too.

You are requested to develop a task/work on the topic, a sort of anti-violence campaign, or a project to spread information in your school  (PP presentation, song, poem, video, role playing, cartoon, poster, survey). You can complete their activity with homework.

During your work you can discuss, talk, select and share information in FL as much as you can.

You can start with these suggestions, but you can also surf the Internet for other tips and ideas.







http://fra.europa.eu/en/theme/gender European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights

 http://www.itis-cesena.it progetti: “noi non lo faremo”

Second step: you  are requested to make an oral presentation of your works on the topic.




Beginning 1

Developing 2

Very Good 3

Exemplary 4


little information on topic and/or  informtation that does not relate to topic.

some information on topic but  major pieces of information are missing

a good deal of information all relating to the topic, but a few important pieces of information  may be missing

 all  points of information, presented in a concise but extremely complete manner.


There are accuracy issues in the presentation. The final project does not connect all of the information back to the question.

The project is fairly accurate. the final project makes attempts at connecting the information together, but needs more definition.

The project was accurate. The final project makes an attempt at connecting the information together, but needs more definition.

The project went above and beyond what was required.   The students fully understood and answered the essential question.


There are glaring mistakes with grammar, spelling and punctuation on the visual/written presentation

There are between 8/10 mistakes with the spelling, grammar, and punctuation on the visual/written preseNtation

There are between 5/7 mistakes with the spelling, grammar, and punctuation on the visual/written presentation

There are 3/4 or fewer mistakes on the visual/written presentation


The students follow the requirements but do not add anything more or the presentation is not easy to follow

The project is full of pictures and data, but still contains redundant information

The project contains a good balance between visuals and information but contains little personal contribution

The project contains the appropriate balance between visuals and information and provides personal contribution


2) INDIVIDUAL OBSERVATION: all the learning path of the student is monitored by  the teacher through observations during the different phases

Beginning 1

Developing 2

Very Good 3

Exemplary 4


Does not participate

Sometimes partcicipates

Usually participates and interacts

Interacts  and participates at all the activities


Rarely listens to, does not support the efforts of the others

Often listens to, does not always support the efforts of the group

Usually listens to, shares with and supports the efforts of the group

Tries to keep people working together. Always listens to, shares with and supports the efforts of the others.


3) INDIVIDUAL ORAL PRESENTATION will be assessed by the FL teacher as to the following indicators:

Beginning 1

Developing 2

Very Good 3

Exemplary 4






                                                                 MAXIMUM SCORE 20










a) Write a short text ( maximum 50 words) to explain  the concept of “human dignity”, , and giving your personal point of view on the matter.

Use the present tense and modal verbs for obligation as grammatical structures and the following key-words:

person, dignity, human, violation, humiliation, protection, inviolable,  respected, deprivation, abuse, freedom, equal, free, spirit  of  brotherhood, conscience, decorum,  honour,  reason.

Obviously, you do not need to use them all and you can also use the adjectives that correspond to the given nouns or the nouns that correspond to the given adjectives. You should use also the vocabulary found during the previous activities.

b) What kind of strategies would you personally suggest to prevent  homophobic violence, especially among young people? What do you think should be done or improved  in your educational system about this issue?