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June 2020 - Year 22 - Issue 3

ISSN 1755-9715

Understanding Epidemics Through CLIL

In light of the recent events surrounding the Coronavirus, I am sharing some CLIL-Pages (link) which you, your colleagues and teachers you train might find useful for teaching upper secondary students some basic notions surrounding epidemiology and how diseases spread.  

These CLIL-Pages are from the Cambridge “Talent Series (Levels 1, 2, 3)”, which are excellent EFL textbooks, for which I was asked to develop five 2-page CLIL-Modules for each of the three Levels.  These CLIL-Modules below are from “Talent Level-3 (CEFR level B2) and address the following notions:

  1. Travel and health: today we can travel far and fast, which, although very advantageous, is a concern when it comes to how far and fast infectious diseases can travel.
  2. Germs and resistance: a fun task to consider personal hygiene plus a warning regarding the development of drug-resistance when we misuse and abuse pharmaceuticals.
  3. Populations and epidemics: why “diseases which have travelled” may infect many, but not everyone.
  4. Epidemiology through numbers: the fact that infectious diseases often spread through “animal hop”, the transfer of disease between different species. The second page of this module addresses a different but important issue: since viruses and bacterial resistance evolves quickly and represent “acute problems” which probably go away soon, pharmaceutical companies are less interested in researching drugs for these “acute diseases”, preferring to research drugs for chronic diseases which, being chronic, sells more drugs for many more years.
  5. Art and mortality: how art was used during the plague to give illiterate peoples instructions for dealing with the dead (very important for containing infections!); how artists communicated the concept of “infections coming through infectious air” (very correct!).

Again, these five CLIL Modules were taken from “Talent Series: Level 3”. However to “tell the Coronavirus story”, I shuffled the modules from their original A-B-C-D-E sequence.   At the end of the file, you’ll find a brief explanation of the thinking behind the development of these 2-page CLIL-Modules and also the index of the Talent textbooks, which, as you can see, are excellent EFL textbooks: the CLIL-Pages were a very small contribution to brilliant work authored by writers of the main body of the Talent series.

Below are links to the CLIL-Modules from the other Talent Levels: I have permission from Cambridge to share these for non-commercial purposes.  Final disclaimer, I have already been paid for these CLIL Modules and have since used it to eat some pizzas.  Therefore, my sharing these CLIL-Pages here will not get me any more pizzas: I simply hope to help EFL and CLIL colleagues engage their students in learning about epidemiology, a very real modern-day concern in an ever-smaller globe.

To access other CLIL materials developed by Teresa, plus her CLIL research papers, please visit:


Please check the CLIL for Secondary course at Pilgrims website.

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