Art, Research, and Teaching SIG

Brennan Conaway, Coordinator

The Art, Research, and Teaching (ART) SIG ( is a new group for artists, researchers, and teachers who are interested in the role of visual art in the classroom. William Hall and I both independently considered ideas for a visual art SIG sometime around 2020. We each pursued it separately, then things stalled, but became re-energized through an article that William and Eric Luong (another founding member of ART) wrote for the LD-SIG newsletter (Hall & Luong, 2021).



Art has the potential to enrich the learning experience, and ART provides a forum to share resources and discuss innovative ideas about language-learning. Art has many vital uses in the EFL classroom and is particularly important for engaging digital natives, whose experience with language is almost always multimodal.

We also believe visual art offers many benefits for language learners. These include providing content for students to connect with the target language, encouraging active learning via collaborative art activities, supporting multicultural literacy and multi-modal reading skills, offering affordances to interact with SLA material, reducing social anxiety, increasing social inclusion, and promoting critical thinking skills—the bedrock of learning how to learn.

We hope ART will appeal to a wide range of members: artists who teach, teachers who make art, language teachers at art schools, art teachers in CLIL programs, creative teachers engaged in action research, and other language teachers who use art (or want to use art) to bring some creativity into their classrooms.



As the founding coordinator, I combine my experiences as an artist/designer with EFL concepts I first encountered in the TESOL master’s program at Temple University Japan. I use visual art and critical inquiry in my courses at Tama Art University and Meiji Gakuin University.

William Hall (Program Chair) came to Japan on the JET Programme, after graduating from Glasgow School of Art. He studied art education at Kagoshima University, then completed an MFA and PhD at Kyoto City University of Arts. He teaches English and art theory at Kyoto Saga University of Art.

Martin Sedaghat (Publicity Chair) is a teacher for both preschool and university students in Niigata. With a background in archaeological illustration and creating art for picture books, he has learned that art is a powerful tool for providing visual and tactile modalities in the classroom.

Will Tiley (Treasurer) is a lecturer at Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University in Oita. While his preferred medium for artistic expression is music, visual art is also an important part of his life and lessons. He explores social and cultural discussions and art-creation in the EFL classroom.

Namiko Tsuruta (Membership Chair) is a former US preschool teacher, with a psychology degree from the University of Michigan, and a longtime EFL practitioner and teacher trainer in Kanto. Her passion for the arts and languages extends to her lessons, inspiring learners to express their authentic selves.



We are excited to feature writers and artists in our ART Gallery publication. We think many teachers have ideas and innovations about using visual art in their classroom, and we want to hear from those teachers. We also display art in the journal: artwork used in lessons, student artwork, or art inspired and informed by the EFL-teaching experience. As such, we would like to invite you to contribute both articles and art for consideration.

Our first in-person event, Art in the EFL Classroom: From Kindergarten to University, was in January 2023. Most of the core officers presented their experiences and lesson ideas utilizing visual art for language learning. A wonderful byproduct of this event was meeting Namiko, who became our Membership Chair.

We are currently discussing a future event with the tentative title Art Is Useless. Of course, this is an ironic title, but it points to popular (mis)conceptions about the utility and value of art.

Most of us are new to JALT. We do, however, appreciate the power of visual art to revitalize language-learning, and we hope you will join us sometime! If interested, please contact us at



Hall, W. & Luong, E. (2021) Dis/connect—a virtual art exhibition by students of Miyazaki International College and Kyoto University of the Arts. Learning Learning, 28(1), 26–30.