Art in the language classroom

I use art with my students and student-teachers in the university classroom. This is useful to tap into the more emotional side of (language) learning and bring to light aspects of the learner that are seldom called upon in higher education. 

Many of these activities help my students understand themselves better, as language learners and /or future language teachers. Many of these activities, inspired by the works of others, can be adapted to be used in any type of language classroom.

To find out more about what we do, see examples, get teacher guides and learn about the research, visit my website L2 ART

Auto-portraits

As a means of discussing and disrupting representations of culture and students' relationship to the target language, I ask them to draw themselves as a food item or item from the target language/culture. 

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Language flowers

To help students visualize the lingusitic landscape in their classroom, I ask them to each create a language flower of the linguistic repertoire. In this exercise, we also discuss what it means to add or remove a language from their repertoire. 

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Collages

In this activity, I ask student-teachers to represent the ideal second language teacher. From there, we discuss their beliefs, hopes, worries, and aspirations. 

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What is collaboration?

In this painting activity, student-teachers create a painting collaboratively. After the activity, we discuss their feelings (i.e., surprise, anxiety, awe, embarrassment) during and after the painting activity. This activity reveals their expectations when it comes to collaboration, specifically around having control, ownership, and dealing with unanticipated contributions from others. 

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Me Mapping activity

In this assignment, I ask students to represent who they will be as future language teachers. They draw on what they have learned about themselves during the course and how this will shape their pedagogical practice as language teachers. I encourage them to use any artistic form of expression they want: dance, song, poetry, video, etc.

 

One creative student used a multi-layered cake to represent the complex interaction of their inner and outer selves when discussing their heritage, their ideas about professionalism and bilingualism, and their relationship to the target language.

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