Language Sensei

A Language Teacher's Journey

A Picture for 1000 Words (or Situations)!


Medium Format CameraAs a world language teacher a picture or visual is key for me. In the past that meant finding, cutting out and preparing pictures for a variety of uses.My cupboard is packed with laminated photos – of items, places and more.

The most useful pictures, I have found, are those of people, especially people ‘in the news’ or ‘of the moment’. But staying relevant in today’s world is difficult. Sadly many of my collected and coveted photos are of people unknown to my students.

Enter the usefulness of a ‘photo’ Keynote or Powerpoint (or whatever program you like); a collection of photos (no labels needed). Mine is not long – but it contains photos of people relevant to my students. This may mean an iconic person (in Canada – Terry Fox) or one who dominates the news (Justin Beiber or Psy of Gangnam Style).  Of course it also means including people who are famous in Japan (my Target Language) The ease of use and changeability make it key. For me it is also an ‘authentic resource’.

My picture slideshow is useful in all grades and levels. While my first year students have seen them in context of “where are they from” or “what nationality are they”, my 4th years used them to discuss “what do you think this person has done/not done in the past”.  The students love seeing who is on the slides and often give suggestions of who should be added. Pictures, for me of famous Japanese people, are also a way to extend learning in a topical ‘cultural’ direction.

Quick to make, and easily changeable, the ‘famous person’ powerpoint is one of my most useful ‘tools’ in my teaching toolbox. Who would you put in yours?







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