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HomeDrawings, scribblings, and diagrams in English language learning and teaching

Drawings, scribblings, and diagrams in English language learning and teaching

Dessiner, gribouiller, schématiser pour apprendre et enseigner l’anglais

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Published on Tuesday, June 08, 2021


L’idée de cette journée d’études est née d’un constat : le dessin est central aux apprentissages pour les enfants et la trace écrite en langue prend souvent une forme dessinée à l’école élémentaire. Pourtant, l’utilisation du dessin semble rare au-delà du secondaire, mais pas inexistante, comme les organisatrices de la journée l’ont constaté : on dessine aussi à l’université ! Le dessin comme outil d’apprentissage de la langue fait néanmoins l’objet de peu de travaux et manque de visibilité. L’objectif principal de cette journée d’études est donc d’explorer les apports des dessins, gribouillages, schémas, etc. pour l’apprentissage de l’anglais, de la maternelle à l’université et en formation d’enseignants.


ARDAA Workshop 
Date: 15 October 2021
Location: Nanterre University


The idea of this workshop was the result of an observation: drawing is central to children's learning and the written trace at the end of a language class often takes the shape of drawing in primary schools. However, the use of drawing seems to be rare beyond secondary school, but not non-existent, as the organisers of the day noted: people also draw at university! Drawing as a language learning tool is nevertheless the subject of little work and lacks visibility. 

The main aim of this study day is to explore the contribution of drawings, doodles, diagrams, etc. to English language learning, from pre-school to university and in teacher training. 

In the context of embodied cognition, Bara and Tricot (Bara & Tricot 2017, 14) note that "learning words in a foreign language is an activity where multiple encoding (e.g., with the support of a drawing) is fairly consistently successful (Lawson & Hogben, 1998). The positive effect would then not be strictly related to the mobilisation of the body, but, more generally, to the complementarity of verbal and motor information, which would facilitate memorisation processes".

Graphic representations from learners are sometimes exploited as research data, and sometimes elicited for research purposes, as they open a window on the processes of conceptualisation and learning. For example, Feunteun and Simon (2009: 5), in their study on language appropriation by five- to seven-yearolds at school, note that their drawings provided interesting data on the negotiation process regarding linguistic and cultural perceptions. Adoniou (2013) uses an approach in which allophone learners in a primary school in Australia draw before writing in the target language. Siagto-Wakat (2016) and Roohani and Naseri (2020) study the effects of scribbling on language anxiety and lexicon memorisation in English as a foreign language.

Leroux and Plessis (2020) ask high school students to graphically represent their conception of the link between the verb form and chronological time in order to uncover their representations and enable the teacher to adapt their discourse to the students’ cognitive development. Josse (2020) also proposes to undergraduate English majors to draw the two possible interpretations of ambiguous sentences to better grasp the opposition between linearity and syntax.

In the context of English language teacher training, Rémon (2020) asks students, to draw a diagram of learning processes in order to make them aware of the role of the body in the practice of a foreign language.

It is in the line of this work that we wish to continue exploring these practices of drawing, subjective mapping and sketching in the specific context of the teaching/learning of English.

We wish to give learners or teachers’ graphic creations their rightful place in a context of English language learning, whether these are used as data for / in research, or at the heart of a teacher’s lesson.


Papers should preferably be in English as some of the workshop participants will be non-French speakers. Should some speakers prefer to communicate in French, they will be assisted in producing an abstract and slideshow in English.

The audience will be invited to take notes in the form of drawings or sketches and share them with all the participants. The day will begin with a sketching workshop (a method of note-taking by drawing and spacializing information).

Two types of contributions are possible:

20-minute research-format papers followed by 10 minutes of discussion,

10-minutes experience-sharing talks followed by 5 minutes of discussion. The last slide will present some questions to open the discussion.

Interventions may address the following points:

  • Drawing/scribbling/mapping for teaching/training/explaining
  • Drawing/scribbling/mapping to assess
  • Drawing/scribbling/mapping to memorise
  • Drawing/scribbling/mapping for meaning-making
  • Draw/scribbling/mapping for interaction Drawing/scribbling/mapping... why not?
  • Drawing /writing: pros and cons
  • Drawing/writing: opposition or convergence?
  • What if the written trace after a lesson wasn't in the written form?

Preference will be given to presentations which focus on specific aspects of English language learning (grammatical, phonological, civilizational, geographical or communicative activities) and that give an account of classroom experiences (from kindergarten to higher education).  The presentations will state the theoretical framework, the research objectives and the results. Any attempt to qualify or measure the contributions of drawing (in any form) in an empirical manner will be welcomed (data highlighting involvement, motivation or actual learning).

Speakers are invited to bring in learners' productions for display.

Speakers will also be required to send the text of their paper by Sept. 15th 2021 to enable our sketchers to prepare their drawings.

Abstracts should be sent to pascale.manoilov@parisnanterre.fr and josephine.remon@univ-lyon2.fr

before June, 15th, 2021

Subject of the message: Workshop Drawing Please specify in the body of the message:

  • Name of author(s)
  • Title of paper
  • Institution/affiliation
  • Email
  • Telephone number(s)

Scientific committee

  • Pascale Manoilov Laboratoire CREA EA370
  • Joséphine Rémon Laboratoire ICAR UMR 5191



  • 200 Avenue de la République
    Nanterre, France (92)


  • Tuesday, June 15, 2021


  • dessin, enseignement, apprentissage, langue vivante, mémorisation


  • Elise Ouvrard
    courriel : elise [dot] ouvrard [at] unicaen [dot] fr

Reference Urls

Information source

  • Elise Ouvrard
    courriel : elise [dot] ouvrard [at] unicaen [dot] fr


CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« Drawings, scribblings, and diagrams in English language learning and teaching », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Tuesday, June 08, 2021, https://calenda.org/883048

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