Event Summary: The power of visual images in EFL

This post is republished from an entry on the editorial page of www.osakajalt.org

On Saturday, January 15, 2011, I had the pleasure of attending the latest Kyoto JALT chapter meeting titled: The power of visual images in EFL. The speaker, Sandra Healy of Kyoto Sangyo University, began the talk by having the participants look at an image (a Van Gogh painting). She then dictated a few sentences and asked everyone to only write down the sentence if it was true. If it wasn’t true, she asked us to correct the mistake. Afterwards, participants shared their answers with a partner and compared the differences. Finally she ended the activity by showing us the image again. She followed the activity with three questions: “Did you agree?”, “Did you talk a lot?”, and “Did you enjoy it?”. My partner and I didn’t agree, talked a lot and enjoyed the activity.

Ms. Healy then summarized a large amount of research showing the reasons why using images in an EFL classroom is an effective pedagogy. Finally, she showed some example activities from her classroom. My favorite among these activities was a self-introduction activity. Instead of the students simply saying a few things about themselves, she had them take a photo of a number of objects that held meaning for them and each student brought the image to class and discussed it with their classmates as a way to introduce themselves.

All in all, it was an excellent, well thought out and well researched presentation. I’m glad that I could attend.

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