Interview with Ceri Jones


Teacher, trainer and writer Ceri Jones talks about herself and her session at The Image Conference.

Your favourite film:

I always find any question with “favourite” in it so difficult to answer.  My mind immediately either goes blank and I either can’t even think of one example or a huge list parades before my inner eye and I can’t possibly start to rank or choose one out of so many options.  And then the fear kicks in that I will be judged for my answer. These things can be so telling, people will tut and shake their heads (or that’s what my inner voice is telling me). My usual strategy to overcome my natural instinct to just shrug and say “dunno, haven’t got one” is to grasp at the first that comes to mind. Of course, that means the answer will probably be different each time, and dictated by so many different factors (there I go trying to justify my answer again … ).  So, today, my answer is, Daunbailò (Down by Law) by Jim Jarmusch (1986). It probably came to mind ‘cos I’d just been talking to my daughter about an Italian exclamation (boh!) that I used to love.  For those of you who don’t know the film, it’s black and white and stars Roberto Benigni and Tom Waits amongst others.  Benigni has recently arrived in the States and is struggling to learn to speak English. He carries a notebook around with him and writes down the conversations he has with people he meets. There’s a great exchange between Benigni and Tom Waits at the beginning of the film which you can see here for a taster:


Your favourite video to use in class:

Again, plucking one out of the line-up that’s suddenly appeared in my head, here’s a short clip I’ve used fairly recently, mainly because someone posted the link online and I liked it and I thought my students would like it too: Avalanches, Since I left you. It was worth watching. I think (hope) you’ll like it.


In class, we exploited it for genre prediction, discussion of visual referencing from musicals in general, commenting on and interpreting the narrative and in particular the final interview. Outside class the students followed it up finding texts online about the group, the song and viewers’ interpretations and reactions to the clip.  (Not everyone liked it by the way, but everyone had something to say about it).

Useful image-related teaching tool:

My favourite for its simplicity and range of uses is Mosaic Maker on ( coupled with the photo sets in the eltpics galleries on flickr ( .  Easy enough for students to create their own mosaics and share them in class for great student-led lessons.

Why are you interested in using images in your classes?

For a huge, long list of reasons, but mainly for their immediate impact, their versatility and their ubiquity.

What should your audience expect to learn?

I’ll be talking about some specific image types that I think work particularly well and are especially powerful as they stimulate students’ to share and discuss images from their own camera lenses and worlds.  I’ll be suggesting ways of using and sharing these images in classrooms of all kinds, from no tech to online.  I hope people will be inspired to try some of the activities I’ll be modelling – and to explore and share the activities they use with their students.

 What are three words that sum up your session?

Personal, practical, student and learning centred (mmm … sorry, not really a word!)

 Which other presenter(s) are you looking forward to seeing?

Everyone – if only I could!

I’m particularly looking forward to seeing Ian James (aka Tefltecher) as I’ve followed his blog and photos and updates for years but have never seen him present and I know he’ll be inspirational.  Our sessions were scheduled at the same time at TESOL Spain earlier this year and I couldn’t see him there so I really don’t want to miss him this time!

You can read more about Ceri and her session here.


Unleashing the Power of Images


Ceri Jones Richmond

15.00 – 16.00 Aula magna

From digital cameras to mental snapshots, images have the power to stimulate, activate and motivate. They can be springboards, centrepieces or memory hooks. They build bridges with the world outside the classroom.  In this hands-on workshop we’ll be exploring how to unleash their power through a series of detailed practical lesson ideas aimed at a range of levels and backgrounds.

Ceri Jones is a freelance teacher, trainer and materials writer.  She has been working in ELT since 1986. She has worked in Italy, Hungary, Spain and the UK teaching, training and managing mainly in – and for – the private sector.  She is particularly interested in student-centred materials and activities.  She writes about her thoughts, her experiences and her experiments on Close Up (

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