Macmillan Education has worked with the National Gallery of Victoria to produce a new resource called Inspired English. This unique project-based series uses very special works of art from the NGV’s catalogue as a springboard for the development of a whole range of English skills, along with creative writing and critical thinking.
On Thursday 21st July, we had the privilege of launching the series at the NGV, with the authors and Gallery Educators giving a group of teachers exclusive access to two of the works of art in the books.
As if being in the Gallery after hours wasn’t special enough, we got up close and personal with my personal favourite from the books, Picasso’s Weeping Woman, which was in a viewing room due to decorating work in the gallery. Being so close to such an iconic work of art was really something! Susie talked us through how the painting can be used to look at the nature of war and writing about its effects, and we were treated to a student reading his amazing poem inspired by the painting (included in the teacher resources).
We also looked at gender and social class issues in The First Cloud, one of author Susie May’s favourites. This painting, along with so many of those chosen to feature in the series, speaks volumes about a changing world and offers so much potential for exploration with students.
Finally, we retired to a room complete with a sparkling taxidermy deer (only in an art gallery!) for celebratory drinks and nibbles. It was a wonderful evening, and a perfect celebration of this new series of which we are all very proud. The feeling in the room was captured perfectly by a tweet from VATE’s Education Officer, Jan May, who said the series made her want to go back into teaching! Here are authors Susie and Purnima (complete with deer). Huge thanks to everyone at the NGV for the work that went into the launch.
Are you using Inspired English? We’d love to hear how it is going for you and your students! Send us your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org, or add a comment to this post.