I’ve been reading the Guardian newspaper ever since I was a teenager, and though I can no longer pop to the newsagent to pick one up, it is still my main source of news and comment. From the news articles to the various podcasts, I don’t think I could live without it. It’s the only newspaper that I know of that has a TEFL section, which should make it popular with us teachers too.
One of my favourite pages is 24 Hours in Pictures. Every day they publish a collection of around fifteen recent images. This includes pictures from current global events, as well as other notable images. It’s a great resource that can be used in a variety of ways, including as a conversation starter. Below is an example of how I used the page in an upper intermediate and above lesson about photography:
1) Begin with a general discussion about photography to gauge the level of interest and knowledge about the subject.
2) Go through the pictures and discuss them, concentrating on the technical aspects of photography rather than any issues raised. This is an opportunity to introduce some relevant vocabulary, such as composition, framing, use of light, portrait, landscape etc.
3) Then ask the students to choose their favourite image. They then explain why they chose this one in particular.
4) Ask students to imagine that they are a judge for a news photography competition. They have to give a prize to the best news photograph. What criteria would they use to decide on a winner? Hopefully they will use some of the qualities mentioned in point 2, as well other things such as capturing a moment etc.
5) Show the clip from the BBC Culture Show below. I stop the clip at the 3 minutes 45 second point, but you could show more if you wish. The chances are you’ll need to play the video more than once, even if your students are very advanced, so decide how you want to structure their tasks. For my upper-intermediate student, for the first listen, I just asked her to summarise the main idea.
6) For the second listen, I asked her to listen again and note down anything the judge says she looks for in a prize winning photo.
7) The students then compare the list they made at point 4 with the judges criteria.
8) If you want to do some language work based on things that came from the video, you could do it at this point.
9) Finally, you could finish by discussing the issues raised in the photos.
Possible follow ups activities:
– Homework: Ss uploads one of their own photos to fotobabble and describes what is happening and why they like this photo so much.