Zentangle Art in the Classroom for Teaching English

What is Zentangle Art? Zentangle is a technique that uses repeating lines and shapes to create elaborate and organised patterns or motifs. It was created in the early 2000s by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas and has since become a popular form of contemplative and creative art. The term „Zentangle” is a mix of the words „zen”, which suggests a state of calm attention and meditation, and „tangle,” which represents the patterns’ abstract and linked character. Zentangle’s core is found in its simplicity and the careful, focused process of sketching repeated patterns.

The Zentangle approach will help pupils  unleash their inner artist

Incorporating Zentangle art into English language education may be a fun and creative procedure for enhancing language skills. Zentangle is a calming and attentive approach for creating organised patterns and shapes. It can help students enhance their language abilities while also boosting relaxation and concentration when used in language education.

Zentangle Art can be used to introduce new vocabulary words and/ or phrases connected to a certain topic. Students can use Zentangle art to create patterns that represent different words or phrases. If the word is „tree,” students can create Zentangle designs such as leaves or branches. In this way, the images will represent a visual support that can contribute to reinforce their understanding and memory of the vocabulary.

After reading a story, students might be encouraged to use Zentangle art for illustrating significant scenes. Characters, places, and significant story elements may all be represented by different patterns and designs. This will foster students’ imagination and it will also allow students to practise comprehension while also encouraging creativity in storytelling.

It might be easier to explain common English idioms to children using Zentangle art (for example, „raining cats and dogs,” „hold your horses,” and „to go bananas”). Students can be asked to make Zentangle drawings that graphically express the idioms’ literal meanings. Then, the teacher can ask them to guess or explain the idioms’ real metaphorical meanings.

Zentangle art can also be used to reinforce grammar concepts. Students can be asked to create a Zentangle poster that aesthetically depicts the grammatical rule they are taught. Take for example the rule of using apostrophes in shortened words. The task might be to create a Zentangle illustration using abbreviations like „can’t”, „won’t”, etc.

The art of Zentangle can be used to develop presentation and speaking skills. Students can present their Zentangle artworks to the whole class, explaining the ideas behing their designs, deescribing the process of creating the artwork, presenting the associated terminology or language topics they usedd. This encourages speaking practice and enhances students’ confidence in using English.

Making language learning fun and memorable is a very important goal. Students are more likely to participate actively in the learning process when they find language learning interesting. Interesting activities can grab the interest of students and stimulate their curiosity, resulting in improved engagement and devotion to learning. Considering everything said already, I strongly consider that Zentangle art can be a great addition to other language learning tasks that encourage creativity and communication in English.

Further readings


prof. Carmen-Lidia Nistor

Școala Gimnazială Mihai Eminescu, Brăila (Brăila) , România
Profil iTeach: iteach.ro/profesor/carmen.nistor

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