This week and next: Using art in the language classroom

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Quite possibly the most beautiful classroom on the Yale campus!

As we did last year, Yale language faculty and CLS staff paid a visit to the Yale University Art Gallery this past week, for a special Brown Bag on using art in language teaching. After a general orientation, participants headed upstairs and sat in front of two paintings, receiving expert guidance from Kate Ezra and Jennifer Reynolds-Kaye on how to look carefully and put observations into language. A consistent point that Kate and Jennifer underlined was that you and your language students do not need to be experts in art history, and you do not even need to view works of art from geographic or cultural areas associated with the language you teach, in order to lead students in valuable activities using the target language.

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Jennifer Reynolds-Kaye leading the Brown Bag group in a series of observation and writing activities

Kate and Jennifer reiterated that YUAG welcomes class visits, offers hands-on opportunities with many of its collections of material objects, and boasts a robust web presence where all of its items can be viewed. Contact the Education Department with at least two weeks’ notice to arrange a visit with your class, and speak to Suzanne Young at the CLS if you’d like to talk about project ideas ahead of time.

At next week’s follow-up Brown Bag, to take place in the usual CLS library venue, we’ll hear from several experienced colleagues about their ideas and activities for using art to teach language. And in the meantime, please feel free to comment here on your thoughts, techniques or projects for using art in language teaching and learning…we’ll pick up on them at the Brown Bag.

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