Fiona Mauchline Answers The Image Conference Questionnaire



Fiona Mauchline is a teacher, teacher trainer and materials writer based in Cáceres. She regularly teacher-trains in Spain and other countries, and her publications include Interface and Motivate (for ESO, Macmillan) and Motivate for Bachillerato (Edelvives). She writes or runs 4 blogs (including macappella and Take a photo and…), and co-curates #Eltpics, a creative commons, crowd-sourced photo resource for teachers. Here Fiona answers The Image Conference questionnaire.


Your favourite film / video / image / game website (choose one or more options): , which, with over 26k photos for teachers, is brilliant. I also use videos a lot in class, but pretty much always from YouTube – you can find and do so much with what’s there. is excellent too, and there’s also and Indie Flix. As for games, we make them, we don’t find them online. The process of making games generates more language and genuine communication than the games themselves.


Your favourite image to use in class:

Impossible to choose, there are so many. If I have to use a coursebook, I try to use the images there but I also look for stuff to suit whatever comes up.  I use students’ own images a lot, and my favourite image set at eltpics is Every picture tells a story, but I use the eltpics search option all the time. Just to have one favourite video or image or whatever would mean you do the same class again and again. I repeat conference workshops, but rarely classes. Each one is different.


Useful image / game – related teaching tool:

Not teaching-specific tools, but web tools for class prep or to show students how to use to make learner-generated materials: a) Picmonkey   b) Wordle (but a pest, because of java, and although not images, it’s certainly visual)    c) a couple of crossword generators. There are other things but these are the ones I use most.


Tell us a bit about your session:

We’ll do stuff, see stuff, talk a lot and hopefully laugh a fair bit too. It’s very participative – the easiest way to explain is to ‘show and let do’ rather than ‘show and tell’, IMHO.


Why are you interested in using video and images in your classes?

Because they help to bridge the fairly wide gap psychologists say exists between most classroom materials & teachers’ brains, and how ‘the Play Station Generation’ assimilates information. Also because recent British studies (by the BMA) show that approx. 11.5% of young people have mental health issues often related to anxiety, and using images and imaging can help reduce anxiety in what is essentially a stressful context (second language learning / production). If that doesn’t sound too pompous! An’ anyway, it’s fun.


What should your audience expect to learn?

How to Unleash The Power of Images…… 😉 ie ideas for using images and imaging that reduce anxiety, stimulate the imagination (Vygotsky held that language is a natural bridge between stimulus and emotional response), generate heaps of language and fun, boost self-esteem, encourage genuine communication, integrate skills, integrate people…….


What three words sum up your session?

I’m tempted to say ‘sex n drugs n rocknroll’ but I’ll be (slightly) more serious and say ‘imagination, colour, chatter’.


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

I’m a teacher; I don’t have favourites 😉 Though if previous Image Conferences are anything to go by, you get so much from talking to co-audience members, that I really don’t have favourite presenters, as anyone and everyone is tuned into the Image theme. So my final answer is “anyone, everyone and Paul Driver”.


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