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Why Using Art in The Classroom ?

1. Responding to art can be very stimulating and can lead onto a great variety of activities. In its simplest form this might be describing a painting, but with a little creativity all sorts of things are possible. For example, the well-known ‘grammar auction’ activity can be redesigned as an art auction, where the students have to say a sentence about the piece of art – anything they like – and then the rest of the students bid according to how accurate they feel the sentence is.

2. Using art provides a useful change of pace. While many teachers use visual images to introduce a topic or language item, actually asking the students to engage with and respond to the piece of art can encourage students to become involved on quite a different level.

3. Incorporating art into the class or syllabus can take the students out of the classroom and encourage them to use their language skills in the real world. A visit to an art exhibition or an assignment that involves research on the internet can generate all sorts of language.

4. Thinking about or even creating art can be very motivating. It can take the emphasis off of accuracy and put it onto fluency and the ability to clearly express thoughts and ideas. This is great for students whose progress in speaking is hindered by a fear of making mistakes.

5. Responding to art has the potential to develop students’ creative and critical thinking skills. Students as low as pre-intermediate level will be able to read a short biography of an artist and discuss how their art depicts different aspects of their lives.

These are just some of the reasons why art can be successfully used in the language classroom. Now let’s have a look at some of the common problem areas and try to identify some solutions for these.

Potential problems and solutions
Problem: As we all know, art is very subjective and therefore we may be faced with students who are reluctant to engage with the chosen examples of art.