Episode 1 - What type of learner are you? Learn English naturally

Updated: Oct 11, 2019


complicated - hard or difficult

assure - to promise or tell something to someone confidently or firml engaged - enjoying the task you're doing

related - linked to (of the same subject) retain to keep or continue to have something

learning style - the way you prefer to learn 

struggle - to experience great difficulty in trying to do something

photography - the activity or job of taking photos

original - something that existed since the beginning  

urban - of or in a city or town

version - a particular form of something that is slightly different from other forms of the same thing

Hello everyone and welcome to the very first episode of Arty Anglais. The podcast where we talk about art, culture and society to help you learn English naturally.

Introduction Hello and Welcome to the first episode of The Arty Anglais Podcast. My name is Tara and I am a teacher and an art teacher from ‘Down Under’ in Australia. But at the moment I’m living in the South of France in Montpellier. I’m currently painting and teaching English in France. I feel so lucky to be doing two things I love together. I am a super passionate teacher interested in many things including art, architecture, gardens and teaching and I want to share some of these passions with you. I’ll tell you why I am interested in these things a little bit later. For now, this podcast is especially for my intermediate English students and other people all over the world who are learning English. This will be a listening resource that you will be able to listen to for pleasure. 00:01:30 I must say that I’m quite excited to be making this podcast, as it’s something I’ve really wanted to do for a while. Now, I have a shiny, new, blue microphone in front of me and all the stars are aligned and I’m feeling ready and motivated. In English, we use the expression ´the stars are aligned’ when we mean to say that the conditions are right for something to happen. Often, this might be something that was unexpected but it’s a good thing. Anyway, today we are going to talk about a few different things. Firstly, why I decided to make this podcast and what it's all about. How we can use art to learn English? The different types of learning styles; and what it means to be a visual learner. 00:02:28 But firstly, let's talk about: Why did I make this podcast? Well, That’s a good question! I was inspired to make this podcast because of my own language learning experience. I’ve been living in France since the end of 2018. Therefore, I’m trying my hardest to learn French. Now, before I arrived in France, I knew very little French. But day by day I am starting to learn more and more. Every day, I listen to a podcast called Innerfrench. (I will put a link to it in the links of the transcript just in case you’re learning French too). This podcast is an excellent resource for intermediate French learners (like myself) as the language is simple to follow and Hugo, the host of the podcast, speaks clearly and slowly. This podcast has really helped me. The most important thing that Hugo has taught me is how important it is to try and listen to or watch something in French, every day. I really agree with him and thanks to his inspiration I have started to notice a huge difference in my comprehension. This is why I wanted to make a version of a podcast in English to help my intermediate English students. So, each episode will be available as an audio file, as well as a transcript with links that you’ll be able to find on my website.

www.artyanglais.com 00:04:08 I encourage you to listen to each podcast as many times as possible. If you need, read along with the transcript. But sometimes try and listen to it without it. I’ll try my hardest to make sure my Australian accent doesn’t confuse you too much and to pronounce the words properly. But be careful, because I will take also this opportunity to teach you some cool slang when it comes up! And although this is not a conversation, I will try to talk as naturally as possible, but a little bit more slowly (slower) than I would normally talk if I was talking to some native speakers in English for example. Because I really believe that by listening to the language you start to build up your vocabulary and it gives you the opportunity to understand faster spoken English. So, before I talk too much, let's get started with the podcast.

00:05:18 So the first question you might want to ask me is - What does it mean to be Arty? This is quite an interesting word. Being 'arty' means being someone who is very interested in everything connected with art and artists! If you like art, like me, we can describe you as being ‘arty’. When I was in school, my friends used to describe me as being arty because I always liked to draw on my school books.

But sometimes in English, we can describe someone as being ‘arty-farty.’ It’s a weird word I know because it doesn’t literally mean that! It means that we are describing them as someone who is interested in art but not always in a positive way. For example, we might say to someone - ‘You just like this weird piece of art because you’re arty farty! However, at Arty Anglais, I assure you, we use the word ‘arty’ in a positive way to describe someone who is really interested in, and loves, art. 00:06:29 So, What is The Arty Anglais Podcast about? Well, my podcast is not just about learning English grammar. It’s a podcast about the subject of visual art and all things art and culture related. There are so many other resources out there to help you with grammar and where I can, I’ll give you some great links to some YouTube videos and Podcasts. However, I strongly believe that the power of language learning is listening to something every day. Hugo from InnerFrench talks about this a lot! I believe learning for pleasure, and if you’re like me, I struggled to find things to listen to that I was really interested in when I started learning French. Language learning is absolutely a marathon, not a sprint, so it’s important to stay motivated. I believe you stay motivated when you’re listening to the topics that you like! Some of the topics that I want to talk to you about are the subjects that interest me the most. For example - my favourite artists and art styles, my own experiences as an artist and a creative person, exhibitions I have been to, art inspiration, books, magazines. There are so many different things you can talk about with the subject of art. I also want to talk to you about how you can talk about your opinion in art (even if you’re not an artist). I want to discuss things like what it means to be an artist and why I believe everyone can be creative; and how you can start being creative to learn English. 00:08:28 Of course, I’ll also talk about some interesting art and learning theories but nothing too complicated. I also really like architecture and gardens so I'll try to include these in some the podcasts also. We recently learnt that the iconic building - The Notre Dame in Paris was on fire. This broke my heart for many different reasons. So, probably in a future episode, I’ll definitely revisit this iconic building to talk about the importance of Architecture and sculptural and visual parts of the building. 00:09:03 Anyway, I hope that you’ll enjoy the podcast and find it useful for your English learning. I have a lot of ideas that I learnt while studying to be a teacher and that I’ve seen while teaching kids, teenagers and adults. I want to share these ideas with you. I’d also love to hear from you about your ideas. What subjects do you want me to talk about? What subjects interest you the most when you're learning English. Firstly, I just want to explain a little bit about who am I and what I’ve done and why I am doing this. Hello! I’m Tara and I am a Landscape Architect, an artist and a teacher from Australia. I am now living in the South of France in Montpellier. A landscape architect for those of you who don't know is someone who designs landscapes which can include parks, gardens, playgrounds, or anything in outdoors really. Sometimes I also even design indoor gardens. I guess you could say that I am someone who is arty. I like arty things. This is why I teach English classes to children with a focus on art and creative making. I also teach teenagers and adults and it's not always necessarily about talking about art. I tailor my programs in such a way that it's interesting for the students. So, I know what you’re thinking. How can we use Visual Art to learn English? 00:10:48 Well, in my English classes for children, we focus on learning new vocabulary through being creative. This isn’t always easy I can assure you, but I try to focus on the children having fun. It's always about having fun, When it’s fun they seem to retain more of the information. My students keep a visual diary which is like a sketchbook (a little book to draw in) and each week we work on an original piece of art. For example, one week we might learn new vocabulary in English for different parts of the face. Then, we create something that helps us to use this vocabulary. So we are making portraits and learning the steps to draw a face. We also learn different verbs like - write, draw and cut and 'can I have this' or 'do you have this' and we build on this vocabulary slowly. Once the children finish their artwork I try to get the children to speak about what they have created by using the vocabulary. At the moment I am also planning some activities using different coloured shapes. We will be learning the names of different colours and shapes to create pixel art. It seems to be very popular at the moment. I then like to show the children real-life examples of this type of art.

For one small example, there is a Street Artist that I love called Invader who makes street artworks using square titles. His artwork can be seen all over the world. By showing the kids real-life examples, it really helps to explain how what we are learning is relevant and real and relevant for every daylife. In future episodes, I’ll talk a little bit about some of these artists that inspire me. By the way, if you’re an art teacher please don’t hesitate to get in touch because I’d love to share some of my ideas with you and hear some of yours too because it's not always each to combine teaching art with English and maybe we can even talk about them on the podcast! 00:13:15 I just realised, I used my first English idiom. (An idiom is when the words don’t describe exactly what they mean). It's more like an expression). The expression ‘To get in touch’ What does that mean? To get in touch with somebody, it means to communicate with somebody. To make contact with somebody by sending them an email or making a phonecall to them. So that could mean ‘send an email’ or to make a phone call to someone. To get in touch with me, you can send me an email to info@artyanglais.com

00:14:00 Now to talk a little about why using art to learn English can be helpful for your learning because I think it's really important that you understand why I am so passionate about this subject. I recently read an article (and I read a lot because I'm very interested in methods of learning and improving ways of learning ) I read this article on the British Council for Teaching English which summarises all the reasons why I believe using art as a subject for learning a language is so useful (and sometimes under-utilised which means it’s not used enough). I'll also talk about some of the ways you can use art to help you learn in future episodes as well. I have some ideas for my next podcast which I'll talk to you about later. I am going to discuss some of those reasons and explain how even my intermediate students can use art or visual images to help them with learning English. 00:15:04 The first point is (that I'm really passionate about and I use a lot) - Art gives us something to respond to. You don't necessarily have to like a piece of art in order to respond to it. For example, we can use a picture of artwork or even a photograph to react to it. We can describe what we see, how it makes us feel and if or not and why. One thing I do with my students is to show them a picture and I ask them to tell me - 'What is the absolute first thing that comes to mind? This is another English idiom which means the first thought that you have in your brain. 00:15:55 I also use images to get my students to start describing how they would move through this place. If I use a painting or picture of an old, dark and scary house, then we can start talking about how to use adjectives like gloomy and spooky. Then we can start talking about verbs and adverbs that help to describe how we move through space like ‘I ran briskly’ or ‘I looked cautiously inside’. I know, I'm using grammar terms! But what I am trying to say, is that with me I try to teach the grammar in a way that is practical that comes about when we are talking about these images. Secondly, responding to a piece of art by giving an opinion helps us to start talking about what we think about art because art is so subjective. Being subjective means that no idea is right or wrong. So it gives us the chance to discuss what we believe without being wrong. An opinion can be a few words or adjectives or a long description. But even with my students who struggle with speaking in full sentences, being able to use one or two words is a good starting point to help them feel successful. 00:17:29 The third reason why we can use Visual Art to teach English is examples of art can be found everywhere. Visual Art can be so many different things - a comic, a drawing, a piece of street art, a video game, sculpture, photography, graphic novels. political comics etc. Different styles might appeal to different people so it’s much easier to find examples that might appeal to different people and what they like for example. 00:18:04 The Fourth reason for using art to teach English is it gives us a way to communicate non-verbally and verbally together in a very personal way. Just to give you one example when I work with my younger students and they are not really sure what they want to tell me, I always have vocabulary cards in front of them and they always use the vocabulary cards and they point to certain things and they use the visual images to explain what they want to do.

I also have another student who loves watching makeup tutorials on you-tube made her own example of a make-up tutorial by drawing diagrams. Then she explained each of the steps to me. This was such a so motivating to her because it was personal and she was able to use the visual images to describe the actions in the diagrams. She found that it was a really excellent way for her to use language as the images helped her to find the words. This student also finds it much easier sometimes to explain things to me when she draws her ideas. For example, even when she recalls her holidays, I encourage her to draw diagrams and pictures to explain to me what happened. 00:19:30 This leads me to my fifth reason. When I use language to direct my students to do something, for example - ‘can you draw a blue square,’ it helps me to know what they have understood immediately. It gives me immediate feedback and I can asses their understanding. I can immediately change the way I speak to them to try and help them understand. I am then able to correct them or tell them if it’s right. When we are engaged in creating, it teaches us to have hope. We learn that being creative can have no limits so it can help to build our self-confidence. I see this all the. time with the students that I teach. Their confidence skyrockets when you help them to draw something and at the same time they're learning how to speak a language, it's unbelievable how much their confidence grows. 00:20:34 Lastly, using art as a subject doesn’t always have to be ‘making artwork.’ This is just only one aspect of using art to learn English. If we use a picture to describe something, it might not be considered a work of ‘art’, but the process of drawing is well I think it's a way to help us visualise. The important thing that I always try to encourage is that the student is an ‘Active Learner’.

00:21:15 What is Active Learning? ‘Active learning’ is a way to learn where students are doing things to be part of the learning. For example, reading, writing, drawing and discussing (talking about) ideas to solve a problem. The opposite of active learning is passive learning. For instance, if you just listen to a teacher talk about something, or listening to a podcast, that is passive learning. The main characteristics (parts) of active learning explain that learning should be: 1. Relevant - which means it has to have some meaning to your life

With all the students I teach, I try as much as possible to make the learning relevant. For example, I have a student who loves insects and nature. So I try to adapt lessons for her to maintain her interest. Obviously, if you have a smaller class of children or you're only teaching 1:1 it's much easier to do that. But where possible, when I have groups of student I make sure the learning is relevant to things like group age, geographical location and cultural context. 2. Reflective - which means you should have a chance to describe what you have learnt or solve a problem 3. It should be engaging - which means you enjoy completing the task and you are motivated to complete the task. 00:22:58 Even with my teenage and adult students, we don’t necessarily make art, but we often use visual imagery as a visual cue (or an image) to start talking. I have also thought that in future I will give simple sketching and painting lessons in English as I feel this is a really practical and fun way to learn the language and also a new skill at the same time. Personally, I'm a very visual learner. Concepts and ideas make much more sense to me when I see pictures or I can draw to communicate my thoughts. I guess this is why I’ve worked as both a landscape architect and an art teacher in my life. Being a visual learner is one of three different types of learning styles that were studied by Neil Fleming - visual, auditory or tactile. This learning theory has been disputed however I'm going to use it to talk about it because I believe it's still relevant because being a different type of learner and understanding the ways you prefer and the things that you prefer will help you to know how to learn better. In the transcript notes, I have put a little picture to show you that I am a visual learner and to show you what the different types of learning styles mean, what they look like.

Different learning styles

00:24:26 So, visual learners like images and pictures to help them learn. Auditory learning means you are better with listening and tactile learning means you learn better when you are touching and making things. for me there are dfferent aspects of these learning styles that work. I really tried hard to understand which aspects of learning styles make it much easier for me to learn. For me the biggest and most active part of my style is Visual Learner so I really enjoy learning things when I can see a diagram or a graphic. Now, for the first part of your active learning. I have a small task for you. You can find out what your learning style is by searching on the internet for one of the many surveys. Even without the results of the survey, you might already have a good idea of what your style is.

I will put a link to a simple questionnaire in the notes so you can find out what type of learner you might be. If you go and find out what type of learner you are, this is an example of you being an active learner. What type of learner are you? What might this mean for how you can improve the way you learn English? As I am a visual learner, I am going to talk to you a bit about what it might mean to be a visual learner. What are some of the characteristics of someone who might prefer visual images when they are learning? I'm going to stress this is a type of research that has been heavily disputed but for me, I still feel it's important because I've really noticed a lot about the ways I learn are more complementary to visual learning styles.

Visual learning

00:26:25 What does it mean to be a visual learner? If you’re like me, a visual learner you might use some of the following things to help you learn: - You use images or diagrams to understand ideas - You need things to be shown to you rather than described (often when people try to spell something out to me or explain something to me, I don't understand it unless it's written. - You need things to be organised and clear (for example - headings, dot points or bullet points in your writing work well to organise your ideas) - You see words and sentences in your head after seeing them written. For example, you really benefit from a transcript to help you start to understand something. This is something for me that really, really helps. When I see a word written when I'm trying to recall it in my brain, I can see the word that I've written somewhere before. - You are somebody that needs to take your own notes or rewrite and draw things in your own way. - You notice visual similarities and differences more easily - You might also have a photographic memory.

00:27:41 In all of these podcasts, I will try as much as possible to use images and diagrams to explain some of the things that I mean. As this usually helps me to understand and to communicate what I mean. Very often some people might be both visual and tactile and traits of auditory as well. This means that you learn best when making things and drawing things. Many of my art students can have characteristics of both or all of the learning styles! 'Characteristics' is just another word for traits or another word for the things that make you who you are. What does this all mean for me as a teacher and you as a listener? 00:28:13 Because I am aware of my own learning styles and some of these interesting theories of learning, it has helped me to plan the way I teach so that it is suitable for the way my students learn. As a teacher, I believe its most important to know yourself and the students you are teaching. If you’re excited and motivated to teach your subject area, then you're more likely to get the message across in an enthusiastic way. I hope all of this sound like something that interests you as a learner of English and maybe someone who is also a visual learner like me. Or someone who is creative like me. Or perhaps you’re not a visual learner, but you’re interested in the subject of art. I’d love for you to tell me more about your learning styles and what helps you to learn better. You can send me an email to info@artyanglais.com So, we made it to the end of the first podcast. I hope you found it useful, engaging and you were active in your learning! By active, I mean you were able to find out your learning styles. Next time I’d love to talk to you about something that I’ve recently started doing and why I love it so much. This type of art is called Urban Sketching. Maybe you already know about it. I want to talk to you about the many reasons I love it and how you could even do it yourself (to get you to be an active learner). I’ll provide you with some great links to native English speaking artists who make some really great ‘How to do Videos’. 00:30:15 Personally, being an Urban Sketcher in a place where I am trying to learn a language has been a great way to help me speak to strangers! You'd be surprised how many people stop to talk to me in French! And although I find it hard to respond, it's still nice to communicate with other people and to be in a really beautiful place. It’s also just a great way to slow down and to really see a place. I really look forward to sharing my ideas with you as I have really really taken an interest in this type of art. Anyway, I’m really looking forward to the next episode and I hope you’ll join me. As we say in Australia. I’ll catch ya later!

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Hi, I'm Tara. An Australian English Teacher in Montpellier. You can get in touch with me by email info@artyanglais.com

Discussion questions for practising your English.

A few questions for you...

What type of learner are you?

Do you agree that Visual art can help learn a language?

Can you describe a time where using art or images helped you with your learning?

Tell me some new vocabulary you learned?

What type of artwork or artists do you like and why?

What type of artwork or artists do you not like and why?

Find a picture, drawing or piece of artwork that interests you and tell me why you like it.


InnerFrench with Hugo Cotton


Art in the Classroom https://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/article/art-classroom

Using Art in the Classroom Videos


Visual Arts and English Learning (Farokhi & Hashemi 2012). https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1877042811030990

Active Learning

Bonwell, C.; Eison, J. (1991). Active Learning: Creating Excitement in the Classroom AEHE-ERIC Higher Education Report No. 1. Washington, D.C.: Jossey-Bass.ISBN 978-1-878380-08-1.

Learning Styles


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