The 5 W’s for Using Photos in the ESL/EFL Classroom

Most ESL/EFL teachers have one thing in common.  It is our penchant for saving everything.  I have always loved collecting photos, images, posters and anything visual.  (Many of my photos are still in perfect condition because I laminated them while working in Hong Kong years ago).

Here are the 5 W’s for using photos in your teaching:


Using visuals in ESL/EFL classrooms makes sense because these aids can improve long term memory and comprehension to name a few benefits.  Dr. Lynnell Burmark suggests that “unless our words, concepts, ideas are hooked onto an image, they will go in one ear, sail through the brain, and go out the other ear. Words are processed by our short-term memory where we can only retain about seven bits of information… Images on the other hand go directly into long-term memory where they are indelibly etched”.


The list below includes 10 ideas however I am sure that there are many more.


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