Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Art Photography as a Basis for Language Activities

I've always loved and been moved and inspired by great photographs and I have always found them to be powerful prompts for language and communication. I think the power of images goes all the way back to cave painting which was our earliest form of asynchronous communication.

So whenever I see site with great images on I try to think about how they could be used with language students. Simon Hoegsberg's site is one such site. It's not just that these are great images, they are also powerful themes and he has also understood the potential of websites to deliver these images.
You can see some of his photographic projects at: http://www.simonhoegsberg.com/

Some of the projects I think would have the most immediate use would be 'Faces of New York'. A collection of images of 10 New Yorkers talking about their faces. This could act as a nice model to get students doing a similar thing or be great as a split reading with students having information about the different people and having to connect it to the correct face.


I also like this one with the rather morbid title of 'We're All Gonna Die Sometime - 100 Metres of Existence' which is a 100 meter long horizontal image of people taken walking over a bridge. It's a great one for getting students to identify people by their descriptions and to describe them.

Anyway, it's certainly worth checking out the other projects, though some of the image are quite strong and not recommended for younger learners.

Hope you enjoy these. If you like using images in language teaching it's also well worth checking out the Images4Education group, a group of educators who collaborate to develop teaching ideas that exploit web based image technologies. You can also find image based activities for learners here on my Daily Activities site.

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Nik Peachey

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