Like most ELT practitioners when watching television, reading newspapers or magazines, using the internet or listening to the radio, ideas usually for supplementary materials often ‘jump out’. In each case, I generally make a mental note, but if the idea appears to be particularly useful, I have straight away worked on the idea and material to make it ‘lesson ready’.
During the development of an idea for materials using Voicethread centred around logos and signs, the very act of walking around and looking for suitable examples to photograph has changed my perspective as a teacher. Similar to the practice mentioned above, now whilst walking around in town or journeying from A to B, everyday objects, signs and locations now also seem to jump out as possible starting points for learning materials. At present, I’m quite hooked on signs, notices and logos, which can be used to stimulate a variety of topics in class. Below are some photos that I recently took of signs and notices in Hastings, including shots further away in each case to illustrate the context further.
All of these appear to have both negative and positive connotations, which would be interesting to explore within a lesson. Students could then go into town and find further examples themselves. In some cases, they might not understood fully what the signs, logos or notices are trying to communicate that they photograph, and once back in class these could then act as items of both language and cultural learning (acculturation), to be further unpacked and interpreted.