The major goal behind the project is to encourage EFL teachers to use The Pavle Beljanski Memorial Collection (185 paintings from the first half of the 20th century) for the purpose of teaching English to teenagers. The whole collection was divided into five groups: landscapes, still-life, genre-scene, nude and portrait in order to teach students basic art vocabulary together with different elements and styles of painting.
The thematic working material was designed by experienced ELTA teacher trainers who worked closely with an expert curator on designing EFL assignments. The thematic working material was tested in six dynamic workshops with 13-to 18-year –old students in the period of October-December, 2018. The project itself was divided into two parts, a pre-visit lesson and a 90- minute workshop in the museum. In the pre-visit lesson, students in their schools, two primary schools, two vocational secondary schools and one grammar school had been trained how to behave in a gallery prior to their visit. Also, they had been acquainted with The Pavle Beljanski Memorial Collection and the collector himself through a reading comprehension text and exercises. They had also been taught art vocabulary through engaging activities. In six workshops, the curator guided students in English through the collection in order to revise the vocabulary and check how much they had remembered from the pre –lesson. Then they were divided into five groups: landscapes, still-life, genre-scene, nude and portrait and were given assignments accordingly. The students worked in groups on the painting they chose themselves. Later in the workshop, the students reflected on the whole experience and expressed their thoughts and feelings in different ways, which was uploaded on TALE Facebook page and TALE Instagram profile. The English teacher and the curator were seen as scaffolders, or facilitators who provided the challenges that students needed for achieving more. Thus, the whole concept of teaching promoted learner autonomy in general. The rationale for promoting it is rooted in the premise that learning takes place by encouraging students to go the extra mile and not to be afraid to make mistakes, making them confident to work by themselves, by involving students in reflection into their individual learning preferences and strategies and by encouraging them to further their learning of English in situations outside the classroom without help from any teacher.
The program was highly regarded by both teachers and students who appreciated the opportunity to be actively engaged in a unique and engaging learning environment. If you want to see more about the project please visit TALE Facebook page or look at TALE Instagram profile.
Team members: Gordana Klasnja, Jasmina Jaksic, Olja Milosevic, Vladimir Siroki and Anica Djokic.
Text by Gordana Klasnja