The Power of Image and the Moving image on students learning and projects

The following post is the result of what I presented on THE IMAGE CONFERENCE in Brasilia on
25th October

"A picture worths a thousand words "

Chilean Patagonia

                   Photo by Roseli Serra

As an avid reader , cinema fan and a teacher for over twenty five years, I have recently started to play closer attention to the power of images, films and short videos more than ever in my life.  Of course it hasn't happened out of the blue. Actually it has to do with the fact that for the last few years I have taught different age groups and I have discovered that they are all more visual than I could expect, not to mention that I am  a highly visual learner and teacher.

Having said that , I would like to reflect upon the power of image and its impact both on teaching and learning.

" At early education books are richly illustrated , but later on images give way to greater and greater proportion of of verbal written text "  ( Ben Goldstein )

                             Photo extracted from

Later on pictures are usually treated as simply decoration or as a background for important texts. Text has been prioritized over image, which, many times, cause a "negative impact"on the learner who has suddenly  made the transition from lots of images to lots of texts without, most of the times, being prepared to face such change. Consequently and unfortunately,  texts cause an opposite effect on our SS because, sometimes they are not interesting at all .

                                 Photo extracted from

Although words and pictures can signify the same thing, the effect they produce can be quite different.
Have a look at the image below. What effect does it cause? Would words provoke the same emotional charge?

                               Photo extracted from

Likewise, we recognize one another through an array of visual codes . By looking at the image below, it is easy to identify what this person likes, isn't it?   

                               Photo by Roseli Serra

The concept of visual literacy is that it is easier and quicker  to communicate a message with an image. It means that the importance of fostering a visual literacy has been taken seriously 

                                                                                   Photo by ELT Pics

Identity construction from images on the internet :

According to Richard Gresswell  images have all to do with the way we construct our personal and professional network, for example, within our PLN.  In addition, image-based communication has largely influenced our lives in all senses , especially with the recent shift to mobile technologies. Images have become part of our everyday life in a way people construct multiple identities.  It seems that "successful " social networking  depends on the construction of many identities to some extent. Identity regarding images has more to do with "what to do "rather than "who you are". You choose your public mask. And through our lives this is a constantly shifting as we take many different roles. 

                                          Photo by ELT Pics

We conclude then that the digital technology and social networks have empowered the use of images and changed teaching and learning. There's no way back.

"Knowledge is on the web"     Carla Arena - IATEFL -Liverpool 2013 )
Some ideas I have experienced with my students using multimedia: 

I've used multimedia for teaching and learning for two main reasons 
  1. The use of multimedia in teaching and learning leads to higher teaching. 
  2. When we think about images nowadays we actually include videos, pictures, games, etc. Multimedia then refers to any computer- mediated software or interactive application that integrate text, colour, graphical images, animation, audio sound, and full motion video in a single application. 
My goals:

  1. To make my teaching more interesting
  2. To motivate my students by: 
  • Raising interest in the target language they are supposed to learn 
  • Working on different projects along the semester and create an electronic portfolio on wikispaces 
  • making my SS more skilled once they have learned to use different and images to produce language ( both written and spoken ) 
  • Leading them to a better sense of achievement once they produce and work with not only texts , but also images and different medias to present , produce and share ideas:
Some Activities using images, videos and other multimedia tools: 

                                 Photo by Roseli Serra

Actvity 1: Working with pictures: 

Have a look at 5 simple activities at the Power Point Below

Working with pictures from Roseli Serra

Actvity 2: A video  music project suggested by Jonathan Reinaux:

Click the Power Point below  to see the steps for this activity:
A music video – Level Upper Int
View more presentations or Upload your own.

To listen to the original video and song , click on the image below

Daylight Project

The worksheet for the students is available below:

Actvity 3: A video activity. Theme:Stereotypes - The Simpsons in Brazil 

To see the steps for this activity click the Power Point below

To watch the video click below:

The worksheet to be used with the students is available below:
My students' electronic portfolio:

These projects are related to readers, movies, short stories and songs.

  • All the choices are negotiated with the teacher
  • Guidelines are posted on Edmodo. 
  • They do some of them at the school lab , some in the classroom with their mobile devices and sOme at home. 
  • Oral presentations  in class. 
  • All the projects stored in a Wikispaces by the teacher. 
A Photo book: 
SS create an electronic book to talk about their daily routines, things they like and don't like.
Target language: Daily routines, likes and dislikes, frequency adverbs and school subjects; 

A Glogster Poster and a Smore flyer about a book and a movie:



  • SS choose a book to read and a film related to the book 
  • They choose songs that have to do with the film, book and characters
  • Gudelines posted on our groups on Edmodo
  • Presentation in class 
  • Web tool/ App : SMORE


Working with images, films , songs , apps and web tools have completely changed my teaching style because: 
  • I fell teaching and learning have become much more interesting. 
  • The projects raised interest in the target language and in the English language itself. 
  • Working on different projects along the semester and creating an electronic portfolio not only motivated my students but also made them sure I am at their side helping them learn and build up knowledge rather than correcting or assessing them only.  
  • My students have learned to work with different medias and consequently they are more skilled and able to vary their learning strategies and use of tools. 
  • Having a higher sense of achievement my students have also improved their critical thinking skills as well as the use of self -evaluation. 

Enjoy your teaching!

References: Available on  Livebinders


david.modernlanguages said...

What a great post, Roseli. Vrry complete and very thorough.

Roseli Serra said...

Hi David,

I am so happy you like it! I hope you can use the activities with your SS!
Roseli :)

Hana Tichá said...

A wonderful and elaborate post, Roseli. I'm a visual learner as well and I suffer a lot when I'm forced to read long texts in boring textbooks. So you can imagine that your post is music to my 'eyes'. Images do play an important role in our lives. By the way, when I see a picture of a coffee mug, I immediately think of Roseli Serra :-) Take care, Hana

Roseli Serra said...

Hi, Hana!
I am really happy you like it!

Feel free to use the ideas , improve them , adapt them and send me suggestions :)


Debbie said...

Hi Roseli,
Thanks for sharing such an amazing post. I will blog about how I use images to create stories, practice vocabulary and learn Grammar. And I will try to connect my ideas with yours.
Impecable presentation Roseli

Roseli Serra said...

Hey, dear Debbie,

Your opinion indeed counts a lot for me! Thank you so much for your encouraging comment! I am looking forward to your post!

Break your leg, sis!


nadia mahmoud said...

I have really enjoyed reading your valuable article.You have great insights about the strengths and weaknesses of EFL students.Millions of thanks for your articles.

Roseli Serra said...

Hi, Nadia,

Thank you so much for your encouraging words but mainly for reading them ! Please, fell free to share and use and/or adpat them according to your students' needs.

Get i touch! I'd love to!


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