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Using photos as lesson warmers

large__3259582692Photos 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.

Odour judgeGuess 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?

Golf ball diverA 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.

Dog food testerDiscussion

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

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More ESL lessons and activities help

  • Grammar
  • Speaking and Pronunciation
  • Vocabulary activities
  • Warmers
  • Writing