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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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Porajmos - the Romani genocide

Date of Publication

October 2021

Target Group


Domain Area

International Relations

Learning Scenario

Autonomous learning
Classroom Context

Target Language


Language of Instruction


CEFR level


Type of Material


Linguistic Features



Critical Thinking


This is the first activity produced for the Portuguese microsite of IWitness (carried out by the University of Lisbon Centre for English Studies’ researchers, with funding by the FCT), one of the webpages of USC Shoah Foundation, based on survivors’ testimonies. Registration is required but the resources are totally free.
This activity is about the Romani genocide during the Holocaust and is available to be downloaded on a pdf file, along with the supporting video subtitled in Portuguese. The activity is organised in 4 Cs - consider, collect, construct and communicate - and for each part students are directed to different materials, such as short texts, chronologies, biographies, poems and videos so as to answer suggested questions or complete the given tasks.
As a case in point, the videos can also be used with students with hearing or visual disabilities, since they are provided with subtitling for the deaf and hard of hearing and audiodescription.
It requires free registration.

Case study

Even though meant for secondary school students (9th to 12th grades), this is perfectly suitable for the higher education context where these issues of human rights are deeply debated. Therefore, I would use this resource with students studying Law (Technical Portuguese) or International Relations (in courses within the Language and Communication field). If taught to foreign languages, this resource requires the students to have an intermediate to upper-intermediate level. Despite the videos being easy to follow, the texts can be a bit complex. This resource could be tested using a task-based approach. Students would be asked to work in groups and then as a lead-in activity they would do a brainstorming exercise coming up with words they associate with genocide and other human rights atrocities. Even though this resource focuses on literary texts, these could be used as a means to stimulate students’ critical thinking and creativity, 21st-century skills that should be continually fostered in higher education. Students could then write a poem in pairs and then compare their texts.


The activity itself is already organised in a lesson plan. Teachers need only to select what they wish to actually implement with a specific class. Nonetheless, the following steps could be followed:
Step 1: Warmer: set the context (brainstorm ideas or words related to genocides)
Step 2: in groups, students read the poem suggested and debate a set of ideas related to the poem and the emotions it conveys
Step 3: Students, in the same group, write their own poem about a topic related to human rights atrocities.
Step 4: Groups swap their poems, read them aloud and discuss them.


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


This resource matches both lecturers\' and students’ needs. It is ultimately an activity pack that can allow students to practise and enhance their autonomy, reading and writing, along with their critical thinking. There is a myriad of activities and tasks, all technology-based, and students will eventually appreciate some if not all of them. Technically, it is very easy to use, enabling students to go forward or backward. It can be one whole lesson in itself. It is friendly-user, and it gives very clear instructions. Because of the relevance of the topic, this resource has a high potential to be a source of further capitalisation/application for other language projects in different countries. It is worthy to mention that this project has resources in several languages (either translated or originally written).
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