Culture-Led English Learning

Blue Noun Language Hub is an alternative language school. Not only is it designed by an artist, but we often partner with our local creative community to deliver authentic English learning experiences.

It is our particular kind of creativity that makes English learning fun, manageable, attractive and rewarding.

However, a subset of our guests are art and design professionals who need to improve their English for creative careers. (Because we have an artist at the helm, we know the language skills needed to excel in an international creative career).

Whether you are joining us for English for Create Careers, or all sorts of different kinds of professional English presented creatively, this blog shows how an artist English teacher can inject interest into any English class.

1. An Artist English Teacher Can Bring Quality Culture into the Classroom

Art and culture open conversations and explore and stretch language. 
For example, in one English class this week we looked at a citizen science/creative project called ๐—Ÿ๐—ฒ๐—ด๐—ผ ๐—Ÿ๐—ผ๐˜€๐˜ ๐—”๐˜ ๐—ฆ๐—ฒ๐—ฎ.
๐—Ÿ๐—ฒ๐—ด๐—ผ ๐—Ÿ๐—ผ๐˜€๐˜ ๐—”๐˜ ๐—ฆ๐—ฒ๐—ฎ is conceptually clever, skilful in production, ‘Instagramable‘ and fabulously eco in spirit.

Let’s take a quick look at this art project and the English language objectives behind discussing it. 
FREE Facebook English Group Lego lost at sea


The Lego Lost At Sea Facebook page was created by British writer and beachcomber Tracey Williams, who first started to discover pieces of sea themed Lego on beaches around her family home in South Devon, England in the late 1990s. She now lives in Cornwall, England where the shipwrecked Lego still washes up daily.”

Lost Lego at Sea Facebook Page

Target Language

By the end of class, participants had the language skills to:
  • present the ๐—Ÿ๐—ฒ๐—ด๐—ผ ๐—Ÿ๐—ผ๐˜€๐˜ ๐—”๐˜ ๐—ฆ๐—ฒ๐—ฎ project (past and present).
  • feel more confident in saying large numbers,
  • discuss this style of messaging, purpose and ‘citizen science,’
  • offer opinions on how it compares to ‘high art,’
  • suggest where it could be exhibited next (making suggestions). 

“In 1997, nearly five million bits of Lego fell into the sea when a huge wave hit the container ship Tokio Express, washing 62 containers overboard.”


Lost Lego at Sea Facebook Page

2. Artists Often Have Empathy

This is something you need from any kind of coach. Language learning has ups and downs, and frustrations.

An empathetic coach can navigate you around the hurdles, and knows when to push you and when it is time to rest.

Relaxing on an Immersion Englihs holiday - 3 girls sitting in a nice public garden. For artist English teacher blog.

3. Artists Have Stories to Tell

Artist studies are brilliant environments for language learning as they are exciting, tactile and visual. 

As an artist English teacher, from time to time I still find time to make a bit of artwork.

Let me share this one. It has a coincidental, conceptual synergy with the Lego Lost at Sea project. It is also inspired by an English immersion activity. 

Bonus | About Lost Shark

Itโ€™s been a couple of weeks since our English immersion holidays visited the Scottish region of Argaty, where there is a farm that protects and feeds red kites (as well as several other protected Scottish species).

The red kite feed is spectacular. Dozens of birds swooping down to snatch morsels of food away into the sky. Other birds, preferring not to land attempt to steal their prizes away mid-air.

Argaty is a must for any visitors to Scotland with an interest in ecology, ornithology and/or wildlife photography.

Art Talk | Inspiration

Perhaps I only spotted the balloon in the sky because I had been birds watching so intently, but afterwards, driving towards Dunblane,  there it was in the sky. The oddest of sights.

You donโ€™t expect to glance up and see a shark flying above you. And certainly not a shark sporting a rakish gangster hat, but there it was, someoneโ€™s treat sucked into the sky and disappearing fast.

I parked up and snatched a few photos before it was too far away to find with my lens (with the naked eye, I could already only see it as a dot).

It Needs to Resonate

Itโ€™s not really a story is it? An escaping balloon.

Only as an artist, I know that objects in the wrong place can be incredibly powerful. (My installation art practice used to consist of it).

Something resonated with me about this, the stupidest of objects sharing the same sky as those timid, magnificent birds.

It actually felt shocking: my mind asks will the novelty balloon be as funny caught up in a tree for decades? Or sinking into the ocean to tangle up wildlife. 

Our landscape needs fewer trashy objects and more chances to glimpse these magnificent birds surviving in the natural wilderness.

A second language needs to resonate too, to last.

We lose superficial vocabulary all the time, but if you feel a guttural connection to the spirit you felt in the language, it can last. 

Artist Statement

When I uploaded the dayโ€™s photographs onto my computer, the two sets were side by side in my photo library. 

I made this short film sketch to try to capture how sad I found the two juxtapositioned. 

Itโ€™s a rough edit, but thatโ€™s how I want it.

Iโ€™m not offering any conclusions, just explaining how it felt at the time.

As an artist English teacher, I know how difficult explaining feelings can be, but that language is critical to building trusting respectful relationships.

Don’t skip it just because it is difficult.

Tune in to artists’ stories and you gain the language to tell your own.

Further Information

Find out more about Argaty Red Kites.

Or read our blog describing our Language School Visit to Argaty

More about our Alternative Ways to Learn English.

Discover more about Ruth’s Artwork.