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The Learning Conference 2003

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Presentation Details


Art, Identity, and Teaching Second Language Literacy

Tim Walsh.

The presenter will report upon findings of a study regarding the use by a diverse group of bilingual and ESL teachers of innovative art materials to activate students' personal senses of identity and thus provide meaningful content for second language literacy activities. The presentation will focus on teachers' and students' engagement with the materials in elementary and secondary public school classrooms. Participants will be encouraged to use selected integrative materials themselves in a hands-on activity.

As a result of attending the presentation, participants will understand the theory that underlies the relationship between visual experience, personal identity, and L2 literacy. Teacher educators and classroom teachers will gain insights into the personal yet systematic adaptations of theory that classroom teachers make as they use the materials. The method of presentation will be as follows:
The presenter will first describe the materials used in the study, illustrating his description with examples of student work. Next, participants will be asked to engage in a practical activity that emulates activities engaged in by the students involved in the study. He will then present the theory that underlies the creation of the materials, and will briefly discuss the integrated ESL teaching methods that teachers used to present the materials. Finally, by focusing on the observations of participants in the study, he will discuss teacher attitudes toward this approach to ESL literacy instruction for diverse student populations, and their strategies for using the materials as innovative tools for the assessment of literacy development. The discussion will be facilitated by further reference to children's drawing and writing. A handout will include a brief bibliography, examples of the drawing materials and student work, and extensive verbatim quotations from teachers who participated in the study.


Tim Walsh  (United States)
Assistant Professor of Practice, Language and Education
Department of Arts and Humanities, TESOL Program
Teachers College, Columbia University

Dr. Walsh, a teacher educator and professional artist, has introduced classroom teachers in the United States, Asia, and Latin America to means of integrating art and literacy since 1980. His research interests include the professional knowledge development of second language teachers, and aesthetic and literacy education in public school settings. He has developed materials for use in the education of linguistic minority children and youth, and he currently teaches pre-service and in-service graduate education students in New York City.

  • Second Language Literacy
  • Teacher Education
  • Diverse Learners
  • Aesthetic Literacy
  • Student Identity

(60 min Workshop, English)