Photos make excellent talking points. While the obvious use is for reviewing vocabulary (such as through creating flash cards) you can also use them to elicit a range of language. Either photocopy and hand out to pairs or groups, or hook up your laptop to a video projector in larger rooms.
A good source for photographs is the free photo sharing site, Photopin. Make sure you scroll down to past the sponsored images to access the section of free-to-use photos.
I also like the frequent gallery series in the Guardian newspaper. Here’s an example of how you can use the photos in one such gallery – The world’s oddest jobs.
This sequence of photos can be used for a number of language activities, either as a teacher-led whole-group activity, or as pair / small group work.
Guess the person’s job.
Go through as many of the photos as you consider appropriate to your students. For each, ask these questions:
What is he / she doing?
Why is he / she doing it?
What are the advantages or disadvantages in this job?
Would you like this job? Why / Why not?
A day in the life
What does this person do every day in his / her job?
What special equipment does he / she need?
How does the person feel doing this job?
What training do you need for this job?
How much money do you think he / she earns?
Of course, you can also use the photos as a springboard for further discussion.
1. What sort of job do you want?
2. What’s important to you in a job?
Career prospects / Salary / Colleagues / Work-life balance / Interesting work / International travel…
3. What makes a good boss?
4. What jobs are there now that weren’t possible 20 / 50 / 100 years ago?
5. What jobs are most popular with young people?
Photo credit (for the camera): Nick Wheeler