Five reasons to use infographics in a proficiency-based classroom

1. Infographics are authentic.  

Infographics which originate in target language articles, advertisements, etc. are an authentic source of target language. Fortunately, infographics are available to support a variety of common unit themes.  My French 2 students will begin the year by reading an infographic about the daily life of French teenagers, as an introduction to a unit on daily routines. My French 3 students will first read an infographic about current educational reforms for their unit on schools and education.

2. Infographics are full of cultural content.

As authentic resources, infographics contain current, relevant information about the cultural practices, products and perspectives of the target culture. When reading an infographic, the content of the lesson becomes the information given, rather than the vocabulary and structures used to present this information–a major goal of proficiency-based instruction.

3. Infographics are easily understood, even by novice language learners.

Infographics are full of context clues!  Images, graphs, tables, etc. provide the extra-linguistic support that these learners need.  In addition, the colors and graphics sustain the attention of novice readers without overwhelming them with lengthily text.  The cultural information included in many infographics lends itself to making the cultural comparisons that are an integral feature of the interpretive mode.

4. Infographics lend themselves to interpersonal tasks.

Many infographics represent information collected through polls, surveys and questionnaires. As a result, the teacher can quickly develop questions that the students can use to interview each other in order to gather the same types of data that are given in the infographic.

5. Infographics are readily available. 

Long before I knew how I would be using them, I began collecting infographics on Pinterest.  As I began to exploit these resources in a more purposeful way, I was able to find additional examples by searching for a specific topic, such as “Vacances Infographies”  on Google images.  Feel free to follow me on Pinterest if you’d like to see some of the infographics I’ve collected.

Here’s an example of a lesson I created, based on an infographic about vacations: vacationlesson1

I hope these ideas will get you started using infographics in your classroom!

If you have other ideas or suggestions, please leave a reply!

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