We are delighted to announce the first publication of the Visual Arts Circle in collaboration with the ELT Council. ‘The Image in English Language Teaching’ is a book edited by Kieran Donaghy and Daniel Xerri that features contributions by leading experts in the use of images in language education such as Ben Goldstein, Anna Whitcher, Antonia Clare, Paul Driver, Sylvia Karasthati, Paul Dummett, Magdalena Wasilewska, Andreia Zakime,Elena Domínguez Romero, Jelena Bobkina, Candy Fresacher, Tyson Seburn, Chrysa Papalazarou, Magdalena Brzezinska, Emma Louise Pratt, Samantha Lewis, Jean Theuma, and Valéria Benévolo França who are all also members of the Visual Arts Circle. The book includes a preface by Gunther Kress, Professor of Semiotics and Education in the Department of Culture, Communication and Media Within the Institute of Education of University College London. The book is available by open access thanks to the support of the ELT Council. You can download the book by clicking on the following link The Image in English Language Teaching (2017).
Jade came to ELT from a background in theatre arts and now works in the UK and Germany as an English language teacher, Business English trainer, and teacher-trainer. Jade writes an ELT blog, has been published in Voices and has recently contributed to a Routledge publication on Reflective Practice in ELT.
‘…unless the stuff of the senses remains present, the mind has nothing to think with.’
(Arnheim 1969: 01)
Since I started teaching in 2012, I’ve begun to notice a disparity between the way grammar is presented in course books and the way the brain processes information, which suggests that learners could benefit from more extensive use of graphic representations of grammar patterns. My own learning experiences, my classroom practice, and the writings of other practitioners illustrate the benefit of graphic frameworks, and suggest that teachers should be encouraging learners to engage with, and even create, visual representations of information to aid learning.
What if? is a short animation written and produced by Anna Whitcher and Kieran Donaghy with support by EMC design. The video aims to encourage teachers and students to reflect on the increasingly important role of film-making in our educational system and schools. As the moving image is rapidly becoming the primary mode of communication all over the world, it is necessary for students not just to be able to ‘read’ the screen – to be able to analyse, interpret and discuss film texts – but also to ‘write’ the screen – to create their own films. When students create their own short films and videos they improve their language skills and communicative competence, as well as developing skills such as collaboration, decision-making and creativity, which are in demand in the modern-day workplace.
We call on all teachers and their students to make a short film, and send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com .The best film will win a copy of Kieran’s bestselling methodology book Film in Action.
Let us know what you think of the film in the comments below.
To inaugurate the website of the Visual Arts Circle we have invited Dr. Sylvia Karastathi of New York College, Athens, Greece who has a PhD and post-doctoral studies from the University of Cambridge, to write about the increasing important role of visual literacy in English language teaching.
Few language teachers can claim that they never use still or moving images in their lessons; yet, this standard practice is rarely touched upon in teacher training curricula on the assumption the way to introduce images into lessons is self-evident. This short article starts by introducing some key ELT resources on using images in the classroom; it then goes on to argue that we need to approach images not simply as an aid but as a key component of “multimodal communicative competence”.
The Status of the Image
In his 1966 ground-breaking study The Visual Element in Language Teaching Pit Corder made the useful distinction between “talking about images” and “talking with images”, differentiating between physical description and personal response. Since then, practical books such as Andrew Wright’s Pictures for Language Learning (1990), Jamie Keddie’s Images (2009), Ben Goldstein’s Working with Images (2009) and Peter Grundy’s et. al. English Through Art (2011) have suggested a wide variety of engaging activities that exploit the power of still images in the classroom and demonstrate their potentials to facilitate language learning. More recently, principled uses of the moving image in the classroom have become the focus of discussion in ELT with publications such as Ben Goldstein and Paul Diver’s Language Learning with Digital Video (2014) and Kieran Donaghy’s Film in Action (2015).