Learning English in Color: A Multi-Modal Approach to Language Teaching with Elfrieda Lepp-Kaethler, Ph.D.
The therapeutic power of the arts has wide-reaching potential for language teachers and learners. English Language Learners (ELLs) face challenges not only of learning a new language, but also negotiating unfamiliar cultural contexts, dealing with academic or workplace content, and navigating personal and family struggles. Many carry memories of traumatic experiences.
In the field of Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) it is common to speak of using a variety of learning styles. While music, drama and story-telling have been recognized as effective tools in the language classroom, the use of visual art has received little attention. Very often only lip-service is paid to multi-modal practices in language classrooms.
Research in expressive arts indicates important links between language, images, sensory-motor experiences and memory. In this workshop the presenter gives participants a hands-on introduction to research in using expressive arts to enhance language development and personal growth.
1. An adult program for newcomers with interrupted schooling offers “English in Color”, experimenting with multiple modalities.
2. International students in a Canadian university participate in weekly “English through Art” sessions.
3. An education course for pre-service English teachers explores “Expressive Arts as Pedagogy.”
Preliminary findings suggest that integrating expressive arts engages learners at a deeper level than using just words. Through art-based tasks, learners engage in complex thought processes often barred from expression by limited language proficiency and lack of connection to cultural identity. Creating art contributes to reduced language learning anxiety and creates a motivating learning environment for rich language development. Through accessing creative parts of their brains, learners hone critical thinking skills and expand their imagination. Drawing from the principles of expressive arts therapy, multiple intelligences, and motivational theory, the presenter suggests both theoretical principles and practical techniques that could benefit many language teachers and learners.
Friday, March 27, 2020
11AM – 12:30PM