This task-based lesson plan first appeared on the ELTA Serbia newsletter, September 2019
This is a lesson plan and activities I have recently created for a speaking and listening class. It is about a project of Becci Manson, a photo editor, which she initiated when volunteering in Japan after the terrible earthquake and tsunami in 2011, trying to bring positive change to the lives of people stricken by the tsunami.
“For us, art is not an end in itself … but it is an opportunity for the true perception and criticism of the times we live in.” (Dada poet Hugo Ball)
Social Inequalities is a mini course teaching students how to prepare oral presentations using contemporary artists as an incentive. The target group is students over 16 years old and the level is B2+ . In total it lasts about 8-9 teaching hours. This is why the whole series was initially posted in 3 parts (First : lesson plan 1, Second : lesson plan 2 and Third : lesson plan 3 & 4 together).
The Call for Proposal for The Visual Arts Creation in Language Education (VACLE) Conference in Valletta, Malta on 15th and 16th February 2019 is now open. The VACLE Conference which is being co-organised by the ELT Council and the Visual Arts Circle is an innovative event that explores the possibilities that creation of the visual arts (drawing, painting, design, crafts, photography, film-making, video-making, computer art and gaming) offers to both language teachers and language learners. The VACLE Conference seeks to bring together leading experts and practitioners in visual arts creation in language learning that share their experiences, insights and know-how, and provide participants with a unique opportunity to enhance their competence in teaching visual arts creation in the language classroom.
The conference aims to showcase multimodal approaches to language education. There is a special focus on how oracy, the capacity to express oneself in speech and understand speech, can be developed through visual arts creation.
The Call for Proposals is open until 7th December.
This series of lesson plans fist appeared on the Visual Arts Circle and can be found Visual Arts Circle. I am sharing it here too so that it is archived.
The first of a series of lesson plans for the Visual Arts Circle
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(This article was first published in the May – June 2017 issue of the ELTA Serbia newsletter ELTA-Newsletter-May-June-2017)
In summer courses, and not only, museum and gallery visits are part of the outdoor activities planned for the students. This article presents activities that teachers can prepare before, during and after museum and gallery visits with their students (these visits could be part of a summer course but not necessarily). The idea is that you motivate your students to learn more about the art resources in museums and galleries while teaching them English at the same time, as well as activating their imagination. Hopefully, the activities described here will succeed in encouraging your students to experience these places as ‘living organisms’, full of possibilities for fun and not just as ‘sacred places’ that are unapproachable.
Art does not reproduce what we see; rather, it makes us see.
I met Chrysa Papalazarou, online first (through social media) and then in person, early this year, and we both thought that we had a lot in common, especially our love for art. Chrysa has been using art in her English class in a systematic way for the last 3 years and has created two blogs for this purpose. Her work caught my attention immediately because it was the first time I saw a colleague use a systematic research-based framework to ‘marry’ ELT and the Arts. The framework in discussion is Visible Thinking which stems from Project Zero (Harvard University). Even more intriguing though, is the fact that through these lesson ‘proposals’ , as she likes to call them, Chrysa tries to raise her students’ awareness on contemporary issues such as War and Peace, bullying, disabilities, etc.
This is a new series of activities about art paintings and sound effects.
In this activity students will explore sound effects and storytelling. They will compose a sound effect sequence from a picture stimulus and tell a story. They will have to find and select the sound effects on the internet, build up their own sequence and create their narrative and share it with the rest of the students who will have to guess which picture the sequence relates to and why.
Paintings and sound effects
Language level: Intermediate – Upper Intermediate
Learner type: Adults
Time: 60 minutes
Activity: Listening to sounds, narrating and writing stories
Language: 1) use of the simple past, 2) you might want to pre-teach some structures, such as :
It might be…
I think it is possible that…
Could it be …?
I believe it is..
Skills : The primary aim of this activity is to encourage students to use their imagination to build up a story with the use of sound and image.
Materials: Sound effects websites, art paintings/photos
Prepare a selection of pictures. In this case, it is : Matisse (Dance I), Edward Hopper (New York Movie) and David Hockney (My parents), Edward Hopper (Night Windows), Henri Rousseau (Luxemburg Gardens), Raph Steiner ( American Rural Baroque). Depending on the size of the class, of course, they could be more.
You can also suggest some sites with sound effects which the students can use, such as : https://www.freesound.org/browse/tags/sound-effects/ , http://www.flashkit.com/soundfx/ , http://www.freesfx.co.uk/ , etc.
Divide your students in pairs and give each of the pairs a painting or photo. Tell them that they have to come up with sound effects to fit the pictures. Using the painting as a point of reference, they need to build up a story around it. (Show them, for example, Edward Hopper’s ‘New York Movie’. They should come up with the sound of a movie playing, the opening of a cinema door, the sound of the velvet curtain, the walking of a person on a thick carpet, etc.) . Also, tell your students NOT to reveal their pictures to the other groups/pairs.
Allow each pair of students time to discuss a short narrative for their pictures. Tell them that they have to write down only the basic parts of their story and not all the details.
Let them explore ways of expressing it using sounds. Ask them to find the MP3 files of the sound effects on a relevant site.
After they have prepared their sound sequences, let the groups share them with the rest of the class. Now it’s also time to reveal all the paintings.
Ask the rest of the class to guess which picture each pair of students used. Encourage the other students to describe the elements that led them to this conclusion.
Now, ask them to explain the story that each sound-sequence think that it narrates.
Get the students to explore each other’s stories and decide who made the better sound adaptation
Ask the students, in the end, to write their stories in a more elaborate way.