Julia Alivertis & Jeffrey Doonan talk about their session at the Image Conference in Athens


In this article Julia Alivertis and Jeffrey Doonan talk about their workshop “Writing with light- Photography in the ELT world”

Photography has been viewed as art, a skill, a human need, a statement, a technological triumph, to name but a few; yet the real meaning of the word is ‘writing with light’ and it is a language in itself.

Photos are a part of ELT materials and play a vital role in most language certification exams. Join us at the Image Conference for a workshop that aims to demonstrate a variety of activities that utilize photography in ELT teaching in ways that may seem new, or even subversive. The focus is on combining language learning skills with visual literacy and ethical concerns.

Modern photography has raised a number of concerns about its effect on society. Our students spend a lot of time taking, looking at, or swapping photos; they decide what to take a photo of, what elements to exclude, what angle to use, and these factors may reflect a very subjective representation of their social context. They take on the roles of street photographers, social commentators, fashionistas, reporters, or models. These photos can provide a lot of material to be explored in the classroom.

As educators, we want to introduce ways to take advantage of the positive aspects of photography, at the same time informing our students how to recognize artistic expression, voyeurism, passive observation and critical discernment. They should feel welcome to evoke and provoke different feelings, strange perspectives, storylines and cultural interpretations, without compromising their self- respect, or other people’s privacy and copyright.

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