Creating a new language course is always a team effort. Authors, editors, artists, designers and many others work closely together, each adding their own particular skills and insights.
Over the next two weeks, to celebrate the launch of Guess What!, our new course for young learners, we’re going to be hearing from some of the people who work behind the scenes. They’re going to share their own personal perspectives on how a Cambridge course is developed; they’ll discuss how Guess What!’s lively characters were created, how the artwork was developed, and how the course was designed.
Today, Senior Editor Melissa Bryant explains how the team chose the striking photographs used in the course, looks at the role that visual literacy plays in Guess What!, and shares an exciting visual activity for you to use with your learners.
Visual Literacy is a 21st Century skill, and it enables learners to read, understand, and create images. But what actually is Visual Literacy?
And what does Visual Literacy enable us to do?
So, how do we use visual literacy in Guess What?
Selecting the Photos
Selecting the unit opener and CLIL page photos was a lengthy process, with the involvement of our authors, editors, publishers and picture researchers. Getting the perfect photo was difficult, because we wanted every photo to introduce the content we were teaching as well as being eye-catching, thought-provoking and a starting point for engaging discussions. We searched through thousands of pictures to find the exact photos we were looking for.
When choosing each and every photo, we had to ensure that:
While thinking about all of this, we also had to ensure that we were providing an instrument for teachers to use, to enhance their learners’ visual literacy. This meant that we had to pay attention to the colours, lines, placement of objects, and degree of abstractness, all in view of portraying the image in the light that we wanted it to be seen.
Here’s an activity you can use with your learners, using some of the Unit Opener double-page photos we’ve used in Guess What! (You can download the images at the end of this post. Click on each one to enlarge it, then right-click and choose ‘Save image’ to save it to your computer.)
Ask learners to work in pairs or small groups and choose one of the photos. Ask them to discuss a few of the following questions, before presenting their ideas to the class:
This type of task would work well as a warm up or warm down. It could be condensed or extended depending on the number of questions you ask students to discuss, and the way in which you ask them to present this. You could even make it into a guessing game, by asking students to listen to the presentation, then look through their book to guess which photo was being described.