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Database of Teaching Sources

A database of selected, reviewed, tested, assessed and validated e-learning based language teaching sources addressed to Higher education students for the learning of 18 different European languages.

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Fundamental values of law - Justice

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Classroom Context

Target Language


Language of Instruction


CEFR level


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Linguistic Features





In technical terms, all that is needed is a computer with internet access and a projector that allows the class to view the web pages. The resource can also be applied online, as long as it is synchronous and through a platform that allows the teacher to share their screen.
The resource can be used with students with an intermediate (B1/B2) or advanced (C1/C2) language level. For students with a weaker level of proficiency, they may be asked to write the text in their own work time, outside the classroom context, so that they can use alternative means (e.g. dictionaries). In addition to this possibility, it is possible to choose two or three works of art that are more representative of the principles of justice and adapt the texts available on the web pages, simplifying their language.
The resource presented here is a new, improved and enlarged version of a resource that was applied to three classes of Chinese students learning Portuguese as a Foreign Language Applied to Law. Validation was carried out throughout this process, with the final version being applied to a new class and the respective results expressed in the following paragraphs of this form.

Case study

The resource was applied to a class of 17 Chinese students who are attending the second year of a degree course in Business Relations. The first year takes place in China and the Curricular Units are aimed at an in-depth work at the level of general language proficiency. In the second year the students are in Portugal, in a context of linguistic immersion, seeking to improve the level of Portuguese language from an elementary level to an intermediate level (B1/B2) and to promote specific knowledge in four areas of knowledge (Commerce, Law, Economics and Management).
The resource was applied in a Law class, using a discovery methodology, starting from the students' perspective and the exploration of works of art (an uncommon tool in the classes of the abovementioned areas), in order to reach the knowledge of the specific content to work on, in this case 'Fundamental Values of Law - Justice'.
Throughout this process we tried to stimulate linguistic competences, namely oral and written, being oral expression the dominant competence.
Through the application of the resource it was perceived that the students got to know vocabulary specific to the area of law and that they understood, through co-constructed learning, its meaning.
It should be noted that in a large class it takes a long time to share the 'works' created by all the students, so the class can be organised into groups, with each group building a work of art/text.


1. O professor deve contextualizar oralmente a temática dos ‘Valores fundamentais do Direito’, referindo que a Justiça é um dos desses valores, a par da Segurança e da Equidade. Deve, ainda, explicitar que o Direito, ao respeitar o valor da Justiça, procura tornar a sociedade mais adequada a todos os cidadãos, prevenindo e corrigindo desigualdades e desequilíbrios.
2. O professor refere que o valor da Justiça tem sido representado, em Portugal e no mundo, por vários artistas plásticos, como escultores e pintores. É pedido aos estudantes que se posicionem no lugar de um destes artistas e que escrevam um texto que apresente uma possível obra de arte que represente devidamente o valor da Justiça. Cada estudante apresenta oralmente a sua obra à turma.
3. O professor faz o paralelismo das obras criadas pelos estudantes com as obras já existentes, referindo que, na sua generalidade, os artistas têm recorrido à figura feminina, incluindo-lhe determinadas características.
4. O professor solicita que os estudantes observem cinco obras de arte que se encontram em Portugal e que representam a Justiça:
• “A Justiça divina e humana”, Vitral de António Lino (Tribunal Judicial - Ponte de Sôr) – Webpage 1
● “Veritas Ivstitia, Prvdentia”, Painel cerâmico de Jorge Barradas (Palácio da Justiça - Cartaxo) - Webpage 1
● “A Justiça, Verdade, Serenidade, Fortaleza, e Temperança”, Vitral de Júlio Resende (Palácio da Justiça - Vagos) – Webpage 1
● “A Lei e a Justiça”, Alto Relevo (Tribunal - Cascais) – Webpage 1
“Justiça”, estátua de Costa Mota, sobrinho (Assembleia da República - Lisboa) – Webpage 2

5. Os estudantes podem, ainda, autonomamente, pesquisar outras representações da Justiça existentes no mundo. Em alternativa o professor pode mostrar os exemplos disponíveis no documento “A Justiça em dez esculturas” (Webpage 3:
6. A partir do contacto com as obras de arte, o professor pede aos estudantes que identifiquem os elementos mais frequentes nas várias representações da Justiça, chegando-se à conclusão que são: a espada, a balança e os olhos vendados.
7. O professor pede aos estudantes que partilhem a sua opinião relativamente à simbologia dos três elementos identificados, relativamente à área do Direito. Para o efeito podem ser indicadas algumas expressões características, tais como “Eu acho que…”, “Eu penso que…”, “Na minha opinião…”, “Eu acredito que…”; “Eu creio que…”; “No meu entendimento…; “Eu considero que…”.
8. O professor solicita que os estudantes leiam a simbologia de cada um dos elementos, presente na página 2 do documento .pdf disponível na Webpage 1, discutindo-se o significado de cada elemento.
9. Oralmente, o professor sintetiza os três princípios essenciais da Justiça, a partir dos elementos das obras de arte, introduzindo os conceitos de imparcialidade (espada), proporcionalidade (balança) e igualdade (olhos vendados).
10. Como tarefa complementar pode ser solicitado aos estudantes que leiam os textos que acompanham as imagens das páginas web utilizadas na aula e que, a partir destes, elaborem, por exemplo, uma síntese das ideias expressas, que poderão apresentar à turma.

1. The teacher should orally contextualise the topic of 'Fundamental values of law', stating that Justice is one of those values, along with Safety and Fairness. The teacher should also explain that by respecting the value of Justice, Law aims to make society more appropriate for all citizens, preventing and correcting inequalities and imbalances.
2. The teacher mentions that the value of Justice has been represented, in Portugal and in the world, by various plastic artists, such as sculptors and painters. Students are asked to put themselves in the place of one of these artists and to write a text presenting a possible work of art that properly represents the value of justice. Each student then orally presents their piece to the class.
3. 3. The teacher draws parallels between the student-created works and existing works, noting that artists have generally used the female figure, including certain characteristics.
4. The teacher asks students to look at five works of art in Portugal that represent justice:
- "A Justiça divina e humana", Stained-glass window by António Lino (Judicial Court - Ponte de Sôr) - link 1
● "Veritas Ivstitia, Prvdentia", Ceramic panel by Jorge Barradas (Palácio da Justiça - Cartaxo) - link 1
● "Justice, Truth, Serenity, Fortitude, and Temperance", Stained glass window by Júlio Resende (Palace of Justice - Vagos) - link 1
● "The Law and Justice", High Relief (Court - Cascais) - link 1
● "Justice", statue of Costa Mota, nephew (Assembly of the Republic - Lisbon) - link 2:
5. Students can also research other representations of Justice that exist in the world. Alternatively the teacher can show the examples available in the document "Justice in ten sculptures" (link 3:
6. Based on the works of art, the teacher asks students to identify the most common elements in the various representations of Justice, and they can then conclude that these are: the sword, the scales and the blindfold.
7. 7. The teacher asks students to share their opinion regarding the symbolism of the three elements identified, in relation to the area of Law. For this purpose, some characteristic expressions may be indicated, such as "I think that..."; "I think that..."; "In my opinion..."; "I believe that..."; "I believe that..."; "In my understanding...".
8. The teacher asks students to read the symbology of each of the elements, present on page 2 of the .pdf document available on link 1, discussing the meaning of each element.
9. Orally, the teacher summarises the three essential principles of Justice, based on the elements in the works of art, introducing the concepts of impartiality (sword), proportionality (scales) and equality (blindfolded eyes).
10. As a complementary task, students can be asked to read the texts that accompany the images of the web pages used in class and, based on these, prepare a synthesis of the ideas expressed, which they can then present to the class.


Comprehensive approach
Capacity to match the needs of lecturers and students


Added value
The provided tangible improvements


Motivation enhancement
The capacity to motivate students to improve their language skills


Effectiveness in introducing innovative, creative and previously unknown approaches to LSP learning


Measurement of the transferable potential and possibility to be a source of further capitalisation/application for other language projects in different countries


Skills assessment and validation
Availability of appropriate tools for lecturers to monitor students’ progress and for students to assess own progress and to reflect on learning


Flexibility of the contents and possibilities for the LSP lecturers to adapt the contents to their and to students’ need


Assess the technical usability from the point of view of the lecturer and the student


Assess the accessibility from the point of view of the lecturer and the student


The resource includes instructions for the teacher, both in terms of the methodology to be adopted and the materials needed for its application, and also in terms of the answers expected from the students. It is, therefore, a comprehensive resource that seeks to meet the linguistic needs of students who access Portuguese as a foreign language and who, at the same time, are taking their first steps in the study of Law. To do so, it uses a methodology that considers the students' perspectives and knowledge and starts from them towards new areas of knowledge. This methodology is considered to enhance discovery and increase learner motivation.
The fact of exploring works of art, an infrequent strategy in Portuguese language classes for specific purposes - Law, makes the resource innovative. Taking into account that there are several works of art that represent Justice in several countries and continents, it is also possible that the teacher can adapt the resource to their context and even take students to observe, in loco, the work/s of art that exists in the country where they are, which enhances the transferability of the resource.
The materials needed to apply the resource are free and simple to access and can be found online.
The component of the resource that could be improved is the assessment and validation of students' competences. Although this is a formative assessment, in which the teacher gives immediate feedback to the student so that he/she understands what needs to be improved, two tables could be constructed, based on the CEFR, which would allow the teacher to record the students' level of performance in speaking and writing. Alternatively, a hetero-evaluation between peers could also be used.
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