English for Artists games/ worksheets

PDFs and teaching ideas for artists, art students, etc. If you like anything here and want more, please support TEFLtastic.

Updated 11 October 2021

Related pages

Arts and media vocabulary page

English for designers page

Articles on teaching English through art

Discussion questions using images (my article on TEFL.net)

Drawing on drawing games parts one, two and three (my articles in Modern English Teacher magazine)

Photocopiable English for artists/ English through art classroom activities

Opinions on visual arts

Arts and crafts vocabulary yes no questions game

Explaining Japanese arts and crafts

Reactions to art adjectives discussion

Opinions on art

CPE Speaking Part Three on art

Defining art (including brainstorming art vocabulary and describing styles)

Art and media extended speaking revision board game

Art vocabulary discussion games

Describing art drawing games

Describing art extended speaking

Art discussion questions

Make the art discussion questions

Upper Intermediate art vocabulary

Other websites

Getty Museum Art for ESL students

A few ideas on how to use art (might need adapting, but could give you ideas) from Brighthub

ITESLJ art discussion questions (ditto)

English vocabulary for art students (just word plus definition, no exercises)

Using Art Postcards in EFL/ ESL Communication Classes from ITESLJ

And easy to navigate pages to find pictures, for you or the students:

www.moma.org/collection – LINK FIXED



Art in EFL textbooks

Landmark Advanced Unit 17

Natural English Intermediate Unit 3 Page 39- idiomatic ways of saying good, fantastic etc with paintings by Goya, Picasso and Rothko (half page activity)

Clockwise Upper Intermediate Teacher’s Resource Pack pg 9 and 10

Writing Games (Longman)- Art Adventure

Listening Extra 9.3 “But Is It Art?” Match listening about how Jackson Pollock painted to pictures

8 Responses to English for Artists games/ worksheets

  1. Heather says:

    Wow, this is an extensive blog! So many good ideas and such willingness to share.
    I have a query about the page above. I am currently completing an MATESOL degree in Canada. As part of our leadership course we are asked to write a business proposal for a professional endeavor we aspire to in the future, a sort of “where you think you’ll be in 5 years” essay supported, of course, with scholarly research and economic/cultural backing to suggest that said project could be a true success. At age 50, I tend to think my long-range plans will be simple and leisurely rather than forward-thinking. I sowed my wild oats and lost my shirt many years ago. However, I would like an A in this course so I soldier on with my idea.
    I have 30 years of experience in the arts realm as a teacher of music, drama, fine arts….you name it I’ve worn the hat. I thought a clever angle would be to expand upon the notion of teaching ESL through the arts by proposing an arts-based school in another country. Ideally I’d like Korea or Japan as those are the cultures I’m most drawn to, but these are not cultures which tend to give much credence to arts-based learning. Teaching to the exam is the norm here. Based on your experience working and living in Japan, do you feel that an arts-based project would fly in Asia? Would this angle set me apart or would they just choose my school for fun vacation learning? I would offer real classroom training with grammar, spelling, essays, etc, it’s just that I feel arts extensions would enhance vocabulary, free learning inhibitions and get students talking.
    Of course, this is just a dream proposal, but they may hold me to the idea throughout my learning with updates on my proposal, etc. Plus, I’ll have to expand upon my argument justifying Japan or Korea. If you think it’s a lousy fit for Asia, which of the countries you’ve worked in do you think this project would be best best suited for?

  2. alexcase says:

    Thanks for the positive feedback.

    I’m probably not the best person to ask about business ideas, but in Japan at least “English through…” courses don’t tend to be very successful, with “English through soccer” being the main exception and I feel more for the soccer than the English. A school promising English through physical activity for very young learners in Yokohama barely lasted a month. If you were in one of the few areas without an established school you could certainly offer that as one option and expand that part more if it became popular. You’d have to be in quite a rich area though, which might make the rent prohibitive.

    To be honest, I think the countries it would work best in would be UK and USA but for another language, e.g. “French through art” in night school.

  3. Heather says:

    That was my initial thought as well, but someone in my ESL training last year mentioned that this is a whole method of learning. She gave me the URL and I lost it. Google searching yesterday led me to you, and a great deal of scholarly support for using the arts in education in general.
    I can’t actually see sports as a medium for teaching another language as there is really not much breadth of communication beyond, “Yo, Carlos! Pass me the ball!” Definitely few grammar opportunities there, but kids would love it.
    Thanks again for your input.

  4. Selina says:

    Hi, I am currently setting up a course of English through art in Malta. I would be more than grateful if you have some good pin pointers. I am setting up a gallery and working with a school on this project so I would really do with some help
    I hope Heather can contact me.


  5. Heather says:

    I am a grad school linguistics student and have not actually taught such a program yet. My studies at the moment are focused solely on adults, but I do think the method has merit. I have 30 yrs of experience as a private music teacher and would love to set up/work in a school where arts training was the medium of English education, likely as a compliment to more form-focused instruction. Malta is an enviable part of the world to live, so go for it!
    Meanwhile, there is a book I bought when preparing for studies in this area. I didn’t end up doing the term paper on that but still have the book in my library as a resource. It’s called “Teaching the ARts to Engage English language Learners by Margaret Macintyre Latta and Elain Chan (New York: Routledge, 2011). You might want to check it out.

  6. Lucyna Juchiewicz says:

    I was looking for such a good page for a very long time! It’s very helpful!

  7. Nadia says:

    Heather, I think your idea is great, and wht not try in Italy, where there is so much art everywhere? I can picture adult educated people loving this!

  8. stephanie says:

    Thank you so much for your wonderful ideas. Really helpful for developing my ESL lessons with first year art students.

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