Visual arts for writing compositions in ESL


This example was submitted by Chun Yang (University of Southampton), as an example of creative assessment in English as a Second Language modules.


Whilst 60% of the module was based on traditional pen and paper tests, teachers had some freedom to assess oral and listening skills, as well as to design their own formative assessment.

In Yang’s own words:

 I adopted some interdisciplinary approaches, such as creative writing which allowed students to use English, Chinese, paintings, and photos, presentations with slices combined with languages (e.g. Mandarin, English), multicultural elements (e.g. Anglophone cultures, Chinese cultures, ethnic minority cultures), and multiple art forms (e.g. painting, photography, calligraphy, architecture). The students were really engaged in class and were more open to sharing ideas and expressing themselves.


Yang states that the examples provided are part of an assessment designed to motivate a particular group of students (i.e. art majors). Art students could put their skills into practice in language classes, which motivated them to take their English learning further.

Using a variety of languages (English, Chinese) and mediums to write compositions allowed students to experiment with other creative mediums and think about communication in a different, more creative, way.

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