This task-based lesson plan first appeared on the ELTA Serbia newsletter, September 2019
“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).
This is my 2nd blogpost about the SMCA’s latest show RESTART (the show is now over, of course) . In my first post, I talked about the ‘Lubki’, comic art from the Russian Avant Garde . This new post is dedicated to another small section of the show, which was actually hosted in just one room, the Analytic and the Organic Art, which are in fact quite interesting movements under the bigger umbrella of the Russian Avant Garde.
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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Here is my first Goal for 2015. I hope you enjoy it!
There is a history with the term ‘Transformative learning’ because it emerged several decades ago as a particular conceptual framework for understanding how adults learn. The first one to articulate this theory, Paolo Freire, believed that learning is interconnected with the development of a critical consciousness which will eventually lead the learner to take political and social action and be liberated from oppression. Learning is nothing else then than an emancipatory process for Freire. More theorists have followed after him, with the most famous of them being, perhaps, Jack Mezirow, who considered reflection as a central moment to his thinking of how adults make meaning.
For me, both of them present a way of teaching that takes me beyond any strategy I should learn to use when teaching. They represent a vision of life, and within it a vision of life with my students.
ART in ESL
Why use Art in a foreign language context? Art can enhance instruction is so many levels that perhaps we should not even have to ask this question. Art can help us explore and thus, deepen our understanding of the world around us. It can provide us with rich aesthetic experiences. It can result in cultural awareness. Most of all, it allows for levels of high critical analysis, reflection and communication. That makes it an invaluable tool for us.
Some possible links for information are the following :
(Photo @Louise Bourgeois. ‘Untitled’ sculpture, 2002)
Save the strays
Not relevant to ESL, but ….I have a life, too, you know, outside teaching! One of my daily routines is to care for stray animals, whatever this means. It is a fulfilling job because it means caring for the community above all.
You can of course find an organisation that supports stray animals in your area or just care for them yourself by regularly feeding them, providing water and trying to find foster families. It does not take up much of your time and every little thing helps!
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.