Using Art to help teach English

Here is a story of some primary students at a school India from a volunteer who had success using art projects in the classroom

Drawing Lesson, Kerala, 2010 (Stan Higgit)

Drawing Lesson, Kerala, 2010 (Kath McGuire)

“The students were quite disruptive and could be a handful at times. The school was in a poor fishing community in Kerala and many of the students came from very difficult home environments.

“We had been doing the topic of animals with the students for a few days (bingo, spelling, I went to the zoo and I saw …, guess the animal, etc).

“We divided the students into groups (of about 6). We gave each group 3 A3 sheets of white card. Each sheet had the outline of an animal drawn on it (we had traced these from a book we bought in an art supply shop in the nearest big city). We also gave each group a small pack of 8 coloured crayons. We told them to colour in the animals and draw any other things in the background that they wanted to do.

The kids loved it! They worked harder than we’d ever seen them work.

“They actually started working together. There were far fewer scuffles than in a normal lesson and only the occasional fight over the brown crayon. The students played to their strengths and swapped the sheets around within the groups. They usually worked as pairs within the groups.

“We saw pair work, group work, sharing, communication, creativity and students having a great time!

“In subsequent classes we used these posters as props in other games and teaching activities.”

– Kath McGuire, Volunteer in Kerala, 2010



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