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In just three weeks I will be in Istanbul for the 2nd ISTEK Schools International ELT Conference (click the link for more info). The general theme for the conference is ‘Reflections and Innovations in ELT’ (for those of you reading who are not in the field, ELT = English Language Teaching), and I’ll be taking part by giving a workshop for the very first time on my own. I’m a little nervous, but also very excited.

I’m looking forward to meeting a few familiar and some new faces at the conference, which I am sure will prove to be a very successful event.

Below you will find the title, abstract and summary for my workshop:

Before words: ideas for using images and sound in the language classroom

Often while teaching languages we can become fixated on writing. This workshop aims to look at how images and sound can be used in the language classroom and help our learners, especially those who struggle with the written form. I hope to give you some practical ideas for using these stimuli in your teaching.

The aims of this session are threefold:

  1. To contextualise the reasons why I started using images and sound more with my students. I will also make brief reference to theories of language acquisition and learning that underpin the use of such stimuli.
  2. To demonstrate some straightforward activities with images and sound that I have used with my learners. The audience will be given the opportunity to experience these activities from the learner’s perspective. These will be practical ideas that you will be able to use with your learners straightaway. The activities I plan to show will include: using student-generated images as a way of developing vocabulary, using sounds as a basis for creative writing and speaking activities, predicting the audio to a poem from pictures, as well as quick and simple filler activities.
  3. To provide time and space for a swap shop where the audience will be able to share their ideas for using images and sound in the language classroom.


Participants will be encouraged to take an active part in the session, through drawing and listening activities. There will be a number of opportunities for participants to share and compare ideas. Real examples of how I have used the activities will be shown, via images of students’ work (shown with permission) on a computer presentation data projection. Feedback on participants’ own ideas will be collected on forms during the session and there will be time for Q &A at the end.


Wish me luck, and if you’re going to be at ISTEK I look forward to seeing you there =)


Image credit: Artists by quinn.anya on Flickr