Sunday, 23 March 2014

Listen to your Eyes- Julia Alivert & Jeffrey Doonan, TESOL Greece Convention, March 2014

A journey into Art. How can Art be introduced in EFL classrooms? Why should it be used? What can learners gain from this? Julia and Jeffrey introduced us to different kinds of Art.
There is Museum Art with all the famous masterpieces displayed and there is Street Art. Which one is better? Should there be any comparison between the? Aren't they the two sides of the same coin?
By exposing learners to Art in ELT students can express their feelings, their knowledge is expanded, they have a deeper insight into culture, society, political situations and their generation. They broaden their horizons.
We had the chance to see how the Greek myth of the fall of Icarus was illustrated by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, 1558. Three associated poems followed- by W.H. Anden, William Carlos Williams and Edna St. Vincent Millay. The core meaning of the painting? Life goes on. 

Then we were amazed by how the historic bombing of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War was illustrated by Pablo Picasso, Israeli and Palestinian children and an anonymous street artist on a wall ( a photo taken by Jeffrey). All so different but still so impressive.

The leaflet that Julia and Jeffrey distributed is very informative a definitely keepsake. There are so many invaluable photos of Art masterpieces, poems, activities; how a theme like a kiss or a social, political event is perceived by artists and poets.
All tasks focus on observation and deeper critical thinking. On its last page it is noted that these activities are more applicable to teenage learners of B1 to C1 level. However, Art in ELT can be used in younger age groups and lower level target language levels. We should just change the perspective.
In my view, it depends on teachers' willingness to introduce Art in their classroom, let their students bring Art in it (as Julia and Jeffrey encouraged us), let them express themselves!
Julia and Jeffrey, thank you for opening new paths of teaching for me!

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