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Posted on June 22, 2012 by kierandonaghy

This ESL lesson is designed around a beautiful and moving short film called Whistleless by Siri Melchior, and the themes of communication, creativity and learning a language.

Language level: Pre-intermediate (A2) – Intermediate (B1)

Learner type: All ages

Time: 60 minutes

Activity: Watching a short film, speaking and writing

Topic: Communication, creativity and learning a language

Language: Narrative tenses

Materials: Short film

Downloadable materials: whistleless lesson instructions


Step 1

Show your students the image below and ask them to discuss what it means.

Ask them the following questions:

What does “find your own voice” mean? Is the meaning literal or non-literal?

How can you find your own voice?

What things can you do to find your own voice?

What does “sing your heart song” mean? Is the meaning literal or non-literal?


Step 2

Tell your students they are going to watch a short film in which a little bird tries to find its own voice. Ask them to identify the different ways in which the little bird tries to find its own voice. Show the film and then get feedback.


Step 3

Put your stuents into pairs, show the film gain and ask students to write a narrative based on the film beginning:


Once upon a time there was a little bird …


Give them 10 minutes to complete their narratives.


Step 4

After 10 minutes put each pair with another pair and get them to compare their stories.


Step 5

Now ask students if they think the idea of finding your own voice can be applied to learning a new language. Put them in small groups and ask them to discuss the following questions:

How can you find your own voice when learning English?

What things can you do to find your own voice in English?

Are there any tools which can help you to find your own voice in English?


Step 6

Hold a plenary discussion on finding your own voice when learning a language.



Ask students to write  a short composition titled How I can find my own voice in English.


I hope you enjoy this English language lesson.

Film English is a labour of love, it takes hundreds of hours and thousands of euros a year to sustain and provide free English language lesson plans. Keeping it a free, clean, ad-free experience — which is important to me and, I hope, to you — means it’s subsidised by the generous support of readers like you through donations. So if you find any inspiration, joy and stimulation in these English language lessons or if they help you teaching English, please consider a modest donation — however much you can afford.




10 thoughts on “Whistleless

  1. Pingback: Whistleless | Film English | Tommy found a real book.

  2. Pingback: Ejercicio expresión oral y escrita inglés B1 | sabrina solar blog

  3. What a wonderful site. I can see it is not only a labour of work but a labour of love and done so beautifully. I commend you highly and will gladly make a small donation to help keep this kind of site going. My thanks and best wishes to you.
    Rob Barron, Poole, Dorset

    • Hi Rob,
      Thanks a lot for commenting and for your kind words about the site. You’re right, it is a labour of love and knowing other teachers get a lot from it makes it all worthwhile.
      All the best,

  4. I’m afraid the video has been deleted from Vimeo. What a shame! This lesson looks fantastic, just like all the others on Film English. Thanks for all your continued hard work!

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