Reform Symposium 2010:The Power of Images for Effective Communication


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Reform Symposium Presentation August 1st 2010

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  • My presentation today is on one of my favourite teaching topics - using images in the classroom.
  • As you can see in this mind map created with, images inspire a wide variety of activities.
  • Whenever possible, take your own photos or ask someone to take them for you. I often commission my husband to take specific photos, as I know he has a keen eye for photography and they always come out well.. Select photos which create an impact. Select photos which will generate a lot of discussion and interest. Invite your students to take their own photos for different projects, which can then be displayed on the classroom walls.
  • Choose images which will lead to students using their IMAGINATION. MOTIVATION is a necessary ingredient for a successful lesson.  Images have the power to motivate and engage the learner. ACCESSIBILITY of digital photography is widespread nowadays and iwith a bit of patience and editing, it is possible to take the perfect picture for whatever project you are dealing with. The GENERALITY of many images make them suitable for all kinds of different activities. If students are lacking ENERGY, a quick photo flashcard activity can revitalise a flagging lesson.  Eg 20 questions -Guess the picture. Photo opportunities are always available in your SURROUNDINGS.  Use your location for meaningful and topical image-based discussions.
  • Well, I love this photo as it is very close to the area where I now live.  The area is full of olive trees and vineyards, with the mountains of the National Park of Abruzzo in the distance. This scene is so different from where I lived for most of my life in England!  They are worlds apart. Invite students to bring in their own special photo which tells a story.  Get them to prepare a short presentation. The rest of the class listen, and then ask a few questions.
  • I would like to invite the audience to write down an adjective that comes to mind when you view this image.
  • Of course, adapt the level of the adjectives you want the students to think of according to what they know/wish to review or recycle. NB  "eerie" means "strange and frightening"
  • I did this particular lesson as an introduction to me a short while ago.  I also wanted to focus on phrasal verbs.     I wrote the following verbs on the board.     I asked the students to guess the theme connected to my life.
  • I then showed the students this picture of my husband's current motorbike.   The phrasal verbs are all somehow related to this picture taken in Abruzzo.
  • I dictated the following 5 sentences to the students. In pairs, I asked them to guess which statements were true and false for me.  I told them the answers. I then gave them prompts to ask each other questions using the same phrasal verbs, but in a more personalised context. eg    Where did you GROW UP?   What are you LOOKING FORWARD to doing tonight?
  • I always keep old calendars with big images so that I can use them as flashcards in my lessons. This picture called "La Belle Dame Sans Merci" by Sir Frank Dicksee is one of twelve from an old Pre-Raphaelites calendar. Such images can be exploited in a multitude of ways. Brainstorm the scene.   What are the characters saying to each other?  Imagine the dialogue they are having.  Role play the conversation. What happened just before the photo was taken? What's going to happen next? Imagine the lifestyle of the people in the picture. Would you like to have lived in this era?  Why?  Why not? Any other ideas for exploiting this scene?
  • I love this picture of Joey and Chikita.  I have turned it into a Fotobabble, which is a site that allows you to bring your photos to life by adding a short audio to them. Students can create their own personalised fotobabbles about their hobbies / places visited /favourite sports etc  The possibilities are endless. Link to this fotobabble can be found on my blog.
  • I like using .  It's a free photo editing site which creates a lot of amazing photo effects, which can easily be embedded into student /class blogs or wikis. I used this in a blog post during the football World Cup in June. Different themes can be used to create interesting tasks.
  • This image was used as a discussion starter on the morning after the night before and to elicit adjectives for how the teams were feeling after the match, in which England got emphatically beaten by Germany.
  • This wordle is a colourful summary of the qualities necessary  for a "survivor teacher".  All these words were brainstormed in class. The discussion that ensued was very lively and engendered a lot of personal examples. Which of these adjectives describe you as a teacher?
  • Images such as this one are great for eliciting idioms.  Keep your eye open and start to build up your own repertoire!
  • Another fab free photo editng site called I took a screenshot of my avatar from Second Life, saved it onto my computer, and then edited it with this fun "Wanted" poster effect. Students can use this for creating advertisements or other projects.     There are 42 different effects on
  • I can't resist using pictures of my menagerie!   Usually students are interested in finding out a little bit about their teacher's life. Of course, it all depends on how comfortable you feel in doing this, but in my experience, it has brought the students closer to me and led to the students willing to share their own personal photos.  Such an activity generally leads to a class bonding and is very motivational.
  • This special effect from has a fun TV news bulletin feature.  You can insert your own image and caption. This effect is great for getting students to discuss topical events and is good as a predict the article activity. Can you predict what Norris has been getting up to?
  • The image of a high mountain (taken in Abruzzo) lends itself well to a question such as this one.  Students can select images of their own or from newspapers/the Internet to formulate suitable questions to interview each other in pairs or small groups.
  • Do this activity as a warmer. Students guess which animal you are thinking of. This activity is excellent for reviewing adjectives of personality.
  • Invite students to select an image of an animal from a collection you distribute or from students' own selection.  They jot down as many adjectives as possible to describe that animal and thenget the rest of the class to say which animal it could be.
  • Collect as many pictures of hobbies as you can and file them accordingly.  This is probably one of the top topics of conversation when you are getting to know someone and everyone has something to say about a hobby or two!
  • This is a picture of a toy Tabant car I have at home.    I used a free photo editing site called to chnge the effect.  There are many more special effects you can add to your own images.   Students would have great fun using this site to enhance their projects and assignments.
  • Another example of  I can't believe it's a photo of one of my sunflowers which has been changed to an "Old Master painting" effect. I love sunflowers and I grow a lot of them in the garden.  They cheer me up and bring sunshine into the garden. Personalising the question generates a lot of discussion, especially when you ask the students to give you a few examples why they like a particular flower as I have done here.
  • I've come to the end of my presentation. I hope you have enjoyed it. It's been a great pleasure to present at the Reform Symposium e-conference 2010. Thank you very much to all the organisers for making this possible.
  • Reform Symposium 2010:The Power of Images for Effective Communication

    1. 1. The Power of Images for Effective Communication Reform Symposium 2010   by   Janet Bianchini lljb
    2. 2. Mind map:
    3. 3. IMAGES lljb
    5. 5. Every photo tells a story. What's the story behind this photo? lljb
    6. 6. Use your imagination! Transport yourself to this landscape. What do you see? How do you feel? Which adjectives spring to mind? krb
    7. 7. wild spectacular isolated breathtaking romantic eerie lonesome rugged awesome unspoilt  
    8. 8. <ul><li>What's the subject? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>GET ON/GET OFF </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>BE WORN OUT </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>LOOK FORWARD TO </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>GROW UP </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>BREAK DOWN </li></ul></ul>lljb
    10. 10. TRUE OR FALSE? <ul><ul><li>Janet GOT ON the motorbike to go from Italy to England. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Janet was absolutely WORN OUT when she got to England. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>She's LOOKING FORWARD to riding on it again soon. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>She GREW UP in Italy. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The motorbike keeps BREAKING DOWN . </li></ul></ul>
    11. 11. Use images of art to create a host of different tasks. Image source link here
    12. 12. Use to add audio to your images and to generate motivating tasks.
    13. 16. Use your own images to teach idioms. Can you guess which idiom is being demonstrated here? krb
    14. 17. AS BUSY AS A BEE.   Think of the last time you were very busy.   What jobs did you have to do?   Did you manage to do everything?
    15. 18. &quot;Wanted&quot; poster effect from
    16. 19. She's just chilling in Janet's plant pot.  Where do you like to chill out? krb
    17. 21. Who do you look up to most in the whole world? krb
    18. 22. Can you guess which animal this is? It's fast,  free-spirited, inconspicuous, agile,  intelligent  and elegant. Image courtesy of Google images
    19. 23. A CHEETAH
    20. 24. Original source from
    21. 25. Hobbies <ul><li>Can you guess what I like doing? </li></ul>What do you like doing in your free time? lljb
    22. 26. My favourite car is a Trabant.  What's yours?
    23. 27.   What's your favourite flower?
    24. 29. Janet Bianchini   The Power of Images for Effective Communication   Reform Symposium 2010