We have discussed the importance of the artists and their work. Here is some further discussion on this important subject:
One morning I was doing my morning routine of sitting at the kitchen table answering emails, the usual. My eye caught the mess on the sink and countertops of my kitchen and my brain said, “Clean the damn kitchen!”.
But my other just happened to catch, on my computer’s desktop, an image that our Zoom group artist drew in a recent Zoom group meeting. The image was of Krashen and one of Zoom group students dancing on the beach in the rain in L.A, depicting a recent story we had done in our Zoom class.
The drawing drew me in, which is the entire premise of the Ultimate CI Book series approach, that images attract people’s attention more than words, reflecting a recent powerful insight I had when one of the teachers in our Zoom group was teaching. When reading, as a Spanish learner, his text in class (in Phase 3), I could almost actually see that the words were not really words, but in an odd way formed a picture in my mind. What does this mean?
To me it means that words are really just code for an image. They form a picture in the way that objects form a picture, but with words instead. That is a deep insight and would challenge any language teacher to rethink what they are actually doing if they are teaching word lists instead of working more with images in their language instruction. Do you see? Words are really just low-grade images. You read the words and it makes a picture in your mind.
Put another way, when we work with images, the instructor “writes out the image in words”, and we can “see” from the words what the picture is. We can “see”, in the Phase 3 written words, the Phase 2 drawing.
This idea has profound implications for our entire concept of what a language pedagogy should even be, and indicates that images can provide language teachers with possibly the most powerful way to teach a language, because images are not so abstract as words.
What happens when the instruction isn’t so abstract? The affective filter goes down, and the conscious mind is far less engaged as a result. The student can therefore learn in a way that aligns far more with the research, with much less effort, with more enjoyment, just by looking at the image while the instructor talks about it, which is what happens in the Create phase of the Star Sequence curriculum.
Images concretize words, making them easier for the students’ brains to process them.
I eventually did the dishes, but not after realizing that I had peeled off another layer of the language teaching onion.