I’ve always had this natural inclination to add images to whatever lesson I was teaching, and now even more so when I see the neuroscientific reason for doing it. James Zull, in his book “the Art of Changing the Brain”, mentions that
“Our concrete experience contains much of the information we need for understanding, because it produces images for our brains to analyze, rearrange, manipulate, and turn into action. We have maps of our experience in our brains, and we can run through these maps like the frames of a moving picture.”
He goes on to say that the images in our brains come from the experience itself and that’s why
“teachers could make extensive use of images to help people learn. If we can convert an idea into an image, we should do so. And whenever possible, we should require our students to show us their images. It should go both ways”
Having the power of images in mind, our classroom should be visual-rich and empowering. It should help our learners enhance their language skills through their sensory brains. In this sense, today I just came across a Facebook post by Ben Goldstein where he mentioned a blog called Dear Photograph in which the audience shares images of a past original setting and taking a photo holding a film photo of people in the same place.
Now, imagine having the same kind of project with your group of students after they’ve explored some of the images in the Dear Photograph blog. You can ask them to talk to their parents and relatives, to find nice photos of places that they could go and take the same kind of picture, holding the film-developed photo. Plus, you can explore the use of the past in the images contrasted with the present. The teacher would have the perfect timing to talk about “USED TO”, for example, and then use students’ own images to explore language in a totally contextualized way.
Then, in the same Facebook thread, Paul Driver suggested the use of the Zefrank’s blog project Young Me/Now Me for the same kind of activity in which students take their own photos, explore the blog’s photos and use language to compare and talk about the differences between now and then.