Language Learning through Art


“This type of immersive experience represents an exceptional opportunity for language learners. Language study is inherently cultural, situational, and sensorial. The true strength of this program is that it provides learners with a space wherein they may experience and interact with cultural objects while developing linguistic competence in a concrete and approachable way. This is an invaluable contribution and we look forward to continuing this wonderful collaboration with the Beach Museum.”

– Melinda A. Cro, Ph.D., Associate Professor and the department head of Modern Languages, Kansas State University

This resource guide is a collection of collaborative ideas for using art and the art museum to increase second language learners’ comprehension and oral and written language production through examining and discussing works of art. These activities in an art museum provide context rich experiences for language learners to listen to their target language structures (language input) and speak in their own original phrases and sentences (language output) while simultaneously accessing visual associations.

The resource guide features units created by faculty in the Department of Modern Languages and the English Language Program at Kansas State University and materials developed for K-12 language teachers. Units will continue to be added on a regular basis.

While the lessons were developed for use at the Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art, using art from the museum’s collection and special exhibitions, they can be taught virtually. Permanent collection images can be downloaded from the museum’s website at Objects from the permanent collection will be identified with an accession number which will start out “KSU, Beach Museum of Art.” Lessons can also be adapted to be used with other works of art.

Section 1: Modern Languages

K-State Modern Languages has helped us develop Japanese and English versions of Art Bytes, short talks about works from the permanent collection of the Beach Museum of Art They can be accessed at

Describing states of being - Japanese (pdf)
Describing where things are located - Japanese and French (pdf)
Language learning through art for French (pdf)
Language learning through art for German (pdf)

Section 2: English Language Learners

Visual Thinking Strategies example (pdf)
Visual Thinking Strategies for language learning (pdf)