It’s been a while since the last post introducing one of our SIG Day speakers, but we hope the wait has been worth it as we introduce three more this week in the lead up to the 50th IATEFL conference in Birmingham. Here is Sally Janssen, outlining some of the thoughts and principles which inform her session ‘Harness gesture: from tool to technique for improved classroom communication’. Sally’s workshop is also the first on our SIG Day schedule, so hopefully by the end of this post your appetite will have been whetted!

It’s just lines in 3D space


  1. Everyone can draw.
    Artist Hans Hartung said that a single line can express every human emotion. Gesture is creating lines in 3D space. It’s not mime – gesture creates symbols.
  1. If I’m not an approval lightening rod through which all English wants to travel, who takes ownership of the English?
  1. Teachers underutilise gesture. And insistent silence. This is not TPR, nor is it The Silent Way – it’s about being aware that what your hands and body are doing carries a lot more communicative weight than we traditionally take advantage of. And it’s ridiculously fun to use this in the classroom, not just as tool, but as technique with directed purpose.
  1. I’m a teacher educator, teacher, student and artist. I’m currently working in Jeddah, Saudi, where the standard monolingual beginner level learner is the standard. This workshop arose from my observation of zillions of experienced teachers, teaching an A0 class in Saudi, and a strong interest in Teaching as Art.

*I think Teacher Development around technique is not about the newest thing. It’s about a teacher moving towards a point that is often undefined. It’s a taking away and an addition, a refiling of what we use. The new is something we haven’t used before in this way.

Sally (left)

Sally (left)

Thank you, Sally! Look forward to seeing you in Birmingham!