Tips for Drawing-Challenged Trainers

Uncategorized Mar 03, 2017

Do you feel drawing-challenged?

As teachers, we often use the board to "draw" a word or concept. I have always felt "drawing-challenged" and dreaded those moments when I realized that drawing on the board would be helpful for my students. My most recent "drawing disaster" was an attempt to draw an airplane which ended up looking like a sickly bird!

Have you also had drawing disasters?

Well, hopefully our drawing skills are about to improve! I was away last weekend and decided to make it a computer-free weekend. This meant spending several hours reading. While reading Creative Confidence by Tom and David Kelley (another great book), I learned about author Dan Roam and his wonderful books that help people become better visual communicators.

Dan has several books but the one that I think relates most to what we do as teachers is called Blah Blah Blah - What to do when Words don't Work We know as ESL/EFL teachers, sometimes our words "just don't work".


Dan believes that everyone can learn to draw better (I love his growth mindset!). He starts with the premise that we can all draw 5 simple shapes - circle, square, triangle, line and a blob. His first of three free videos illustrates this perfectly


My favourite video is the second one called Essential Visual Grammar where he explains how to use the lessons learned from the first video in a more complex way (spoiler alert - be prepared for a mini-lesson in parts of speech).

If you are 'drawing-challenged" like me, watch Dan's free videos or purchase one of his books.  I think Dan would be a perfect ESL teacher since he is able to effectively break down concepts into small chunks!
Let me know if your drawing improves!

Happy drawing! Patrice



Online Resources

Lots of free downloads (posters, calendars, resources) for all grades, ages, subjects.



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About Me

My name is Patrice Palmer, M.Ed., M.A., TESL and I reside in Canada. I have 20 years’ experience as an ESL Teacher, TESL Trainer, and Curriculum Writer in Canada including 7 amazing years in Hong Kong. I have taught students from 8 to 80 years in a variety of programs such as ESP, EAP, Business English, and language programs for new immigrants in Canada.  I now work as a teacherpreneur (check out my other website at doing the things that I love such as writing courses, blogging, sharing teaching materials, and instructional coaching for new teachers. Having a flexible schedule allows me to conduct short-term training around the world at any time of the year.  Download teaching resources at


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