Using art in the classroom… and passing exams too.

Well, it’s Saturday afternoon, after rather a stressful week of exams, exams, and, well, yes… more exams. This, I suppose is the joy of the university world, so it made me smile to see Jamie Keddie’s work on using art in the classroom on Onestopenglish, and in particular, I quote:  

“In a culture of ‘correct’ answers and multiple choice grammar tests, the subjective nature of art can pose a problem in the classroom.” (J. Keddie. onestopenglish.com)

This culture of “correct answers” is just what I’m trying to get away from, but then I find that we have to help our students to pass exams too. What we need is to combine the best of both worlds and that means motivating learners through lovely inspiring activities like Jamie’s wonderful work with images, and in this way their general love of the language will increase to the point where the exams are just syages along the road of discovery, rather than being great big blocks up ahead.

This is what I have been aiming at and judging from some of the emails I recieved today from students who have passed their exams too, it seems to be successful. They have learned a whole lot more from their courses than just how to get the answers right in the exams.

  So, if you’re feeling under stress, and feeling that you “ought to” be focusing on exams rather than communication, try doing both. Sometimes all it takes is a little shift in perception. Oh and ckeck out Jamie Keddie’s lesson ideas too.

Jamie Keddie's book OUPHis book Images can be accessed at Amazon and you can look inside to see some of his activities. He also has a lovely website called teflclips.

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