Visual Arts Symposium: Street art in EFL classroom by Magdalena Brzezinska

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10th Virtual Round Table

On April 27, the Visual Arts Circle went  live on the 10th Virtual Round Table. Among the people who participated were Kieran Donaghy, Rob Howard, Magdalena Brzezinska, Magdalena Wasilewska and Valeria Benevolo Franca.

One of the VAC Circle’s members who presented, Magdalena Brzezinska,  talked about the use of street art in the EFL classroom with teens. Her session was especially designed for the Visual Arts Circle symposium at the 10th Virtual Round Table (VRT) Web Conference and 9th vLanguages Conference.

Mura-love : Street art in EFL classroom

In her talk, Magdalena shared with the participants her love for street art, and she offered some specific tips on how such art can be successfully used in an EFL class to improve students’ knowledge and skills and to inspire learners to create.

The activities presented varied from simple pen-and-paper ones to high-tech online ones. Discussion incorporating certain MoMA’s art and inquiry techniques was introduced. Some other activities included :

  • a debate;
  • street-art-inspired creation of headline poetry, stencils, or students’ own graffiti;
  • designing a social campaign; and creating a virtual interactive walk.

There followed a sub-section devoted specifically to Banksy’s peace art and Banksy-inspired stickers and tattoos, where such techniques as impersonation, focus on the senses, and designing one’s own peace sign/symbol were examined.

You can download Magdalena’s slides Magdalena Brzezinska VAC Mura_love Virtual Round Table.

 

Anna Whitcher & Kieran Donaghy: GISIG & Visual Arts Circle Joint PCE

Social Justice and ELT through the Visual Arts

Last March, Anna Whitcher and Kieran Donaghy presented at the GISIG and Visual Arts Circle Joint PCE.   In this session , they looked at a number of resources such as projects, resource websites, lesson plans and publications which promote social justice in English language teaching, created by members of the Visual Arts Circle, a community of practice of language teaching professionals with a shared interest in the value of using the visual arts in language education.

 

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These are the resources presented in the session:

 

 

 

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Judy BoyleThe NO Project

 

 

The No Project

 

http://www.thenoproject.org/

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The NO Project is an award-winning, global, educational anti-slavery campaign that specifically targets youth awareness of modern slavery and human trafficking through film, music, art, dance, theatre, journalism, creative writing, education and social media. The project was set up and run by Judy Boyle.

 

Naomi Epstein – Visualising Ideas

 

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https://visualisingideas.edublogs.org/

 

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Naomi Epstein is a teacher of deaf and hard of hearing children in a secondary school in Israel. She created her website Visualising Ideas to share her materials and ideas on how to use the visual arts with deaf and hard of hearing children in the language classroom.

 

 

Chrysa Papalazarou – Art Least

 

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https://chrysapapalazarou.wordpress.com/

 

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Art Least is a site created by Chrysa Papalazarou, an English teacher from Greece who works in a state primary school. Her site explores ways of using art in English language teaching and learning, promoting social justice, and a more thoughtful and creative flow in the English classroom

 

Linda Ruas – Easier English Wiki

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Linda Ruas – Easier English Wiki

 

https://eewiki.newint.org

 

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Linda Ruas is a trainer of ESOL teachers and an ESOL teacher at a London college. She is also Joint Coordinator of IATEFL Global Issues SIG.

The Easier English Wiki provides the same texts and photos that New Internationalist magazine offers, but with easier vocabulary and grammar. This content covers the issues many English language students are living with or experiencing, or issues that are vital to understand in today’s world. Learners can learn English, reading the simplified article and then the original, develop critical thinking and visual literacy skills, and break down barriers at the same time.

 

Kieran Donaghy – Film English

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http://film-english.com/

 

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Kieran Donaghy is a teacher, trainer and writer based in Barcelona. His website Film English has a large number of lesson plans designed around short films which promote social justice and universal values such as compassion, kinness and equality in the language classroom.

publications

 

 

 

The Image in English Language Teaching (ELT Council)

Edited by Kieran Donaghy and Daniel Xerri

The book can be downloaded for free:

https://visualartscircle.com/the-image-in-elt-book/

 

The Image in ELT

The Image in English Language Teaching is the first publication of the Visual Arts Circle in collaboration with the Maltese ELT Council. It’s a collection of 18 chapters inspired by talks at the first five editions of the Image Conference. Two chapters are on how art can be used to promote peace and social justice in the language classroom:

 

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Peace art: words and images interwoven

by Magdalena Brzezinska

 

 

Images on canvas: art, thinking and creativity in ELT

by Chrysa Papalazarou

 

 

For anyone interested, here is their powerpoint presentation and description.Social Justice and the Visual Arts in English Language Teaching Handout

PDF PCE VAC Social Justice and Visual Arts in ELT

The Visual Arts Circle at the Virtual Round Table Web Conference

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We are delighted to announce the Visual Arts Circle is going  live on the Virtual Round Table Friday this 27th at 7pm CET for a few hours of take-aways for your classroom from the people behind the Image Conference.  With Kieran Donaghy, Rob Howard, Magdalena Brzezinska, Magdalena Wasilewska and Valeria Benevolo Franca.

Make sure you join us !

https://t.co/KuZpUuKicc  @VisuaArtsCircle #ImageInELT #VisualELT https://t.co/Ps3J1ozKuk

Video creation in the language classroom

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Anna Whitcher’s tips for the language classroom: Being a strong believer in teamwork and collaboration, Anna finds that groupwork is empowering when working with video creation in the language classroom. The other benefit is that having the students at the centre of image and video creation means that their expertise is drawn on. Learners that may not be so strong with language production have their moment to shine in other areas.

A first-timer’s reflections on the Image Conference in Lisbon

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By Nora Nagy

 

 

Connecting the Visual World with Language Education

Looking back at the Image Conference I can’t help thinking that something special and important started to happen in the world of English language teaching with the first conference six years ago. Being at this event felt like attending an empowering interdisciplinary conference with the overarching principle of connecting the visual world with language education.

As a teacher-researcher, I think a lot about the possibility of change and innovation through education, always searching for practical approaches and tasks which can contribute to a better learning experience for my students. The Image Conference, both allegorically and in action, managed to create bridges among various disciplines. Let me share the five most important things that I was reminded of and learnt about in a short but intensive two days in Lisbon on 13-14 October:

  1. People can make magic happen. Everyone at the Conference – Kieran Donaghy, Sylvia Karastathi, Anna Witcher, the members of the Visual Arts Circle, Alberto Gaspar and the organizers from APPI, the high school students who helped at the event, the participants and the speakers – worked towards the same goal of making these two days a rich and memorable experience. No matter what background we came from or what our main role at the event was, we all had the same sense of purpose and we shared our love of the visual arts and education through them.
  2. The written word (and world) is just one of the many meaning-making systems that teachers operate with. In the classroom, different semiotic systems are present at the same time, and we can draw on them when designing our lessons. Using images, sound, video, songs, our own body language – all multimodal resources – are ways of creating a better learning experience. The Image Conference opens the world of English language teaching by linking different areas such as museum studies, semiotics, social studies, applied imagination, information technology, discourse analysis, literary studies, film studies, music and psychology, just to mention the most apparent ones.
  3. If the great goal of education is implementing positive change in the lives of our students, the Image Conference managed to show examples of achieving this by offering excellent teaching techniques and at the same time addressing the themes of empathy, equality and social justice. These three issues were discussed in most talks and workshop, and empathy was probably the greatest philosophical and psychological framework which guided our thinking and action. We often find it difficult to discuss the controversial topics our students see on various media channels on a daily basis. Through powerful images we can introduce issues like homelessness, migration, poverty or learning difficulties and disabilities. Empowering our students with the right level of language to converse about these questions in their mother tongue as well as in a second or third language can probably contribute to the discussion of these topics across cultures and nations. This is how even a small task addressing a difficult topic can help our students develop their intercultural communication competence and share their ideas in an argumentative setting.
  4. One image can be a powerful resource for a wide range of levels and ages. At the conference, we saw several examples of what it means to grade the task and not the text. Imagine looking at a famous painting. How many levels of meaning can you create based on a single image? You can describe it, talk about the colours, the people, the objects, the setting. Then you can create a narrative based on what you and your students can see. With more experienced viewers you can discuss the historical context, talk about geography, political issues, and abstract concepts. By asking the right questions and designing the right task for each group, a single image can turn into a powerful starting point for your various classes.
  5. We cannot grow without connecting with each other. From the very beginning, with Kieran Donaghy’s opening plenary through the workshops and talks to Carmen Herrero’s closing plenary, I could not remember a talk which did not refer to the work of other presenters. The two days together formed a colourful mixture with different presentations built into the same beautiful bowl of ideas. The variety of themes and presenters reminded me how individual differences can become powerful resources in collaborative projects. I would like to remind all my colleagues that we need to team up with each other more regularly. When we are looking for inspiration, it might just be enough to talk with the Arts, Math or Geography teachers in the staff room and start a project together.

Implementing Meaningful Reflection

If we would like to make the most out of our collaboration, we need to ask for and give critical reflection to each other. This is the trickiest part of most conferences and most work experiences. How can I reflect on another teacher’s, researcher’s, author’s work when I have just met them in person? The key to this question seems to lie in the intentions of the people involved, and the conference provided the perfect examples for this. Not only did the feeling of empowerment and empathy permeate the presentations, it also guided our coffee breaks and evening chats. When a speaker asked for feedback, I get the impression that the compliments lead to serious discussions which can take a good talk to its next step: the implementation and development of the ideas of the speaker and inspiring each other to do more and share more with others.

This year, I went to this event with the excitement and the enthusiasm of a first-timer, and I can tell you that I am already more intrigued about the next event than I was before Lisbon because I know exactly what to look forward to in Athens in 2018. I would like to encourage all teachers to follow the work of the speakers of this conference and the work of the Visual Arts Circle to get constant inspiration for their daily teaching adventures.

Nora Nagy

PhD student in English Applied Linguistics and TESOL, University of Pécs

Instructor at the Department of English Applied Linguistics, ELTE Budapest

Helbling Readers Blog Co-Author