Pictures play an important role in our lives – and our teaching of English. Some of the first books we encounter as children are largely made up of pictures, and we retain our love of the visual as we grow older.

When we reach James Porcaro’s age, we may have the ability to look back at the bigger picture of our professional lives to see those aspects that have given our teaching the most meaning. In our main feature, James reflects on his 50-year career in education, and identifies seven facets that have had the most resonance for him.

Jonathan Lee and Benjamin Moorhouse exploit the use of pictorial depictions of emotion in their article on the potential of emojis to help students with their writing.

Jade Blue finds that graphic representations of grammar are a vital aid in teaching certain items and patterns, when explanation alone cannot reach the students’ understanding. Jessica D’Ambrosio also starts with pictures – pictures of people from the past – when she helps her students differentiate between the various forms of (be) used to and would.

It is moving pictures that work best in class for Sandi Ferdiansyah as he uses his love of film to motivate his students and show them how people interact and communicate in English in different real-life contexts.

Melanie Oh Hye Min works with young children whose love of pictures is innate. She uses simple pictorial storybooks as a springboard for her students to create and illustrate their own stories.

Inspired by information supplied via a QR code at a Thai temple, Tien Minh Mai has turned his classroom into a virtual museum, with pictures of famous artworks on display, accompanied by information supplied by the students. Visitors to this classroom museum can also access the students’ writing via QR codes.

Lumana Tamrakar’s Newari story, retold in this issue by David Heathfield, is accompanied by a picture Lumana drew herself of the monstrous Rakshas. He appears to be a terrifying forest demon, yet he turns out to have some compassion for suffering humans.

So, it seems that we don’t always get the whole picture, and this is also demonstrated by Hall Houston’s ‘halfalogue’ technique, which exploits the common phenomenon of only hearing half the conversation when we are in the company of someone who is talking on a mobile phone. Hall’s students are invited to supply the other half of the dialogue, completing the picture in any way they like – in English.


Helena Gomm