IATEFL Bits – Beauty Lesson

Two weeks in modern life is almost a past life. I’ve read wonderful accounts of the IATEFL conference in Brighton, some which I experienced myself, mainly related to the interconnectedness during the days and nights there, and to the inspiring sessions I’ve attended. Because of a whirlwind of events and things to do just after I came back to Brazil, I’ve decided that instead of trying to excel in what others from my educators’ network have done with such care (see here the reports), I’ll go bit by bit, trying to blog about what I saw and experienced, but with a more practical approach to it. I have no idea how long I will take, but with my digital notes, which are an extension of my memory, I’m sure there will be a lot of ideas to share starting now.

Here’s the first one. Inspired by Ceri Jones’ presentation “Unleashing the Power of Images”, I’ve created this Animoto about Beauty with my own Flickr photos to use it with my students, but also in the hope to inspire other educators.

In my classroom, we’ve already explored the concept of beauty using the quote “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. Students have decided for their own concept of beauty and have chosen an object, place or person to express its beauty. In a very relaxed, informal way, they showed pictures and talked about beautiful aspects of our lives after we had explored some vocabulary beyond the usual beautiful/pretty words. With their cell phones in hand, they looked for more powerful adjectives to express beauty and came up with this list:

Amazing student written and oral production and they were consciously trying to use the new vocabulary.

During her presentation, Ceri gave many ideas to use still images, which I love. However, I decided to use Animoto to add a bit of movement and personal touch to my own idea of beauty, but having Ceri’s own words in mind of using images to “trigger our students’ minds”, to make English as part of “the students’ identity, not external learning”, to help them develop a sense of “being a user of English, not a learner”. So, as a second part of the lesson, I intend to send the video to my students and ask them to make their own definitions of beauty.

One approach that could be used to develop students’ Critical Literacies – a topic Lindsay Clanfield explored during his presentation –  is to ask students to watch the presentation and start a discussion:

  • Where do you think this person comes from? Why?
  • Is the producer of this video a man or woman? How old?
  • What are the key concepts of beauty for this person? What truly matters for him/her? How do you know?
  • Check the photos the person used for the video production, choose one to represent your own concept of beauty. Write your beauty definition on the photo comment area. 


For further exploration: The producer didn’t use some of the images in the set in the slideshow presentation. Why? 

    From there, students can make their own digital creations to express beauty.

    Any other suggestions?


    4 responses to “IATEFL Bits – Beauty Lesson”

    1. Dear Brad,

      Thanks for giving me some background on your own experience in China, a country with such an aesthetic sense of beauty, but with such uniqueness. I’d love to know more about the video and the Chinese quote’s history!

    2. I’ve just come to this post – sorry for being so late calling by, as you say, it’s been really hectic since IATEFL. Thank you so much for the mention Carla – and the animoto is absolutely stunning! I love it and the way it works with Lindsay’s ideas as well.
      Looking forward to the next instalment!

    3. Ceri,

      Your session was really an inspiration, for working with images is something that I’ve been doing for years, but simple ideas like yours work like a charm. In fact, for two years in a row I was part of a group of educators who trained others to make the best out of images. It was an Electronic Village Online Session (TESOL) called images4education http://images4education.pbworks.com . This year, we’ve worked on digital storytelling – from images to motion (http://digistorytelling.pbworks.com ). Thanks for sharing with us your work. I’m already spreading your ideas to inspire others to make a difference in our classrooms.

      Cheers from Brazil.

    4. Thanks for sharing your wonderful ideas.I am looking forward to your upcoming blogs stuffed with new thoughts.

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