Benito Vacio

Language through Art (part two)

Strategies for teaching English using art

As promised, I would like to share with you my strategy in teaching English through Art.

Since I was hired primarily to teach English in the project, I had to use our existing method of teaching English although the subject matter is art. Instead of using the usual topics for survival skills in the language, I use their sense of appreciation as a tool in facilitating their acquisition of the language.

I began with a warm-up that involved the correct reading of the vocabulary words to learn. Then the students were made to understand the words using a dictionary for they will be used in the dialogue later on. They made use of the Thai- English dictionary.

With this activity, I got one positive feedback from my observer. She commented, "The activity letting the students use the dictionary is very commendable. This is the only elementary school in the province I know that develops the dictionary skills of students. It is very good."

Once the students already understood the words I presented the picture for the day. I asked them what they saw in the picture pertaining to name, color, size, number, quality, etc. I then distributed this dialogue worksheet to answer.

A. Which animal do you like in the picture?
B. I like the _________________.
A. Why do you like it?
B. I like it because _________________.
A. Is it your favorite animal?
B. Yes, ____________.

After answering the worksheet cooperatively, reading practice was done first by group, by sex, and later on by pairs. They were given 15-20 minutes to memorize the dialogue. Although I had only 3 questions for Grades 4-6 students, only 25% could memorize and present the dialogue with mastery and confidence. Anyway, I will review them during our next meeting.

What came next was the coloring of the picture provided.

While the coloring was done, I called for individual students to come to me and describe the picture. Since it was my first time to do serious writing of this sort for my students, I asked them what they know about the picture, I write what they say, and later on let them read their work.

This I did to give them the idea of describing a picture and give them confidence in describing without being threatened by writing and spelling. Surely, next time, they will have to describe the pictures themselves.

Even though the subject was on art, my students were able to know words, their meaning, inevitably spelling as well, ask and answer questions in a dialogue, improved their aesthetic sense through coloring, and a breakthrough in learning English through another topic they don't usually study.

For a change, try art, music, and sports, as lessons to teach English. Wonder of wonders, students will welcome it for it will spice up their taste for words and they will love learning English more.


Can you provide some ideas about where I can send some children from Rayong and Thailand to learn English via Art. I have several children (I support, not my family) who are a bit on the low end of the IQ range but both have a propensity to art. I'd like to send them to a supplementary education program to focus on art and thereby improving their English.
Thank you

By ron small, Pattaya Thailand (4th December 2016)

It's a good idea. I can try it next time.The nice thing too is students can spot errors in their work and that of their classmates afterall I have only 6-17 in a class.Thanks,,John.

By Benito Vacio, Nonthaburi (17th July 2016)

I like the ideas in general. In this day and age I suggest that teachers type the students' answers, print out the results and give each student a copy to keep. They could glue the print-outs into their books and some of the students could present their results to the class in another lesson. Makes for a nice way to review work. I have to say that typing is superior to writing as a touch-typist can type at two to three times the speed of a writer. An essential skill that all teachers should learn. (I would say that as I'm not the neatest writer!)

By John, Bangkok (16th July 2016)

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