Tim Kelly, a teacher and trainer based at Internationa l House Córdoba, Spain, talks about his experience as a delegate at The Image Conference.
1. What did you enjoy about The Image Conference?
The buzz from meeting up with like-minded ELT people who had decided to support this new initiative. Talking face to face and sharing ideas and a coffee rather than by social networking. Indeed, the day flew by.
2. How was The Image Conference different from other conferences you’ve been to?
Well, the idea of a thematic conference had initially sold it to me. It just seemed to fit in with the new technology opportunities I have in my work environment. It also meant I arrived with a focus. Often conferences give you so many ideas that you can be overwhelmed. I also think it arrived at just the right time. There really is a need to share work and ideas about new technologies and images in language learning.
3. What were the main discussion points to arise in The Image Conference?
We were reminded of how image and video were initially used in ELT as merely visual support for grammar.
Over the course of the conference we saw how use of images promotes creativity and collaborative learning and asks questions about the boundaries of class time and space.
One recurrent idea was about everyone having their own voice to give to an image. This sensory nature of images was highlighted with examples of how we not only process them visually but through our emotional attachment and experiences.
There were various takes on stimulating learner response to images. From withholding or playing with an image to feed imagination and promote speculation to using student-generated images – often with voice recordings – to bring own-world experience to the learning process.
Finally, there was interesting discussion about the key role our bodies play in making sense of our image-saturated culture. I had seen Scott Thornbury talking on language being embodied and embedded in the real world at TESOL Spain. Here Paul Driver proposed street game activities for ELT to promote whole-body experience of real-world visual stimuli beyond the four walls of the traditional classroom. Amazing stuff! I’d like to know more.