We are delighted to present a write up of Jade Blue’s workshop in the Visual Arts Circle and Global Issues SIG pre-conference event at IATEFL 2018 last March in Brighton. This is the first of the workshops/talks from the joint even at IATEFL we are going to present here.
Drawing in the ELT Classroom to Explore Social Justice
This was a practical workshop session applying practical teacher-drawing and learner-drawing tasks to explore issues of social justice and human rights.
Why Global Issues and the Visual Arts? What’s the link?
Those of us attending the PCE were doing so because we’re interested in, and recognise, either (or both) the power of visuals, and the importance of Global Issues in English language teaching. The visual arts have the power to trigger deeper discussion and engagement with a topic. We, and our students, are global citizens, of a world in which themes such as social justice and human rights are becoming increasingly important.
I believe that these things need to be talked about. One of the many things we’re doing as language teachers is helping to ‘grow’ a shared language – a lingua franca – with which we can talk about such things. The visual arts have the power to help us do that.
But Why Drawing?
How does the act of drawing differ from just looking at someone else’s visual? In a nutshell, the act of drawing as a way of exploring language leads to a deeper and more personalised, memorable connection. The workshop demonstrated and tried out learner-led and teacher-led drawing tasks.
The learner-led tasks are designed to act as a launchpad, or springboard, for discussion, with learners working in pairs or groups to share and generate ideas. These tasks looked at what a child in today’s world needs to survive and thrive, and the relationship between society and the individual, although the activities can be adapted for a range of related topics.
The teacher-led task, a PICTOGLOSS, is designed to aid learner comprehension of stories and language. In the PCE session, we looked at a story entitled ‘Teacup’ by Rebecca Young. Whilst telling the story the teacher illustrates it on the whiteboard and the learners then use these visuals to verbally reconstruct and discuss the content of the story. Again, the Pictogloss activity can be adapted to work with a wide variety of text types.
Jade Blue’s slides from her workshop can be viewed here JADE BLUE Drawing in the ELT Classroom to Explore Social Justice
Jade Blue 2018
Header Image: “Satellite View of The Road to Arlit, Niger” The Road to Arlit is a dangerous passage way for human traffic and economic migration. This is a detail of a carbon and pencil drawing. Artist Emma L Pratt drew every detail of the topography of this area as a reflection upon reading about the discovery of the bodies of 92 people who died of thirst after their vehicles broke down as they tried to cross the Sahara.
Hi Jade, I think the power of physically drawing our reactions to things can’t be underestimated. As you mentioned yourself in your IATEFL workshop, that twofold (or manifold if sound, space and group is included ) act of engaging visually through the eye and kinetically through the hand is the reason why I continue to draw and make visual work with my hands. I’ve likened it to the muscle memory of something being embedded there in my hands. Great stuff.
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