Images can essentially enhance materials designed for adult ESL learners with literacy needs. However, we have to be mindful of the amount and quality of the images included in the teacher-made materials. The role of pictorial representation is to support the text not to replace it! Images need to be selected and used in a balanced way to scaffold a “reading path” for learners but not replace the need to read the materials. Overloading learning materials with pictures may result in learner distraction and may create a situation in which reading words is unnecessary. On another note, images may convey different meanings and associations for different people. An image of a hospital (often used for healthcare representation in a needs assessment activity) or tent (camping in the woods) or a poppy (Remembrance day for some) may be perceived very differently by a local instructor and a refugee learner from a troubled part of the world. What I have learned while working with pictures is that reading images is a skill and itself and, not often but still, we may need to teach learners to navigate pictorial information especially if culturally or historically bound.
Free Images - Pixabay
Once you create something that you think is worth sharing do not hesitate to do so. Remember that often a worksheet that looks perfect on the screen or on the paper may not be as functional in the classroom. The best materials are those that have been tried and tested in learners’ hands and reviewed or revised accordingly. A wonderful video tutorial on how to design learning materials for adult learners with low literacy has been created and shared by Shelley McConnell. To watch, click below.
Best Practices for Making Worksheets for Low-Level ESL Literacy Learners
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