Tool: Voices In Pictures project, picture databank

This tool was developed in 2013-2015 by the Voices in Picture project consortium. It is addressing to immigrants and refugees and covers the areas of literacy, civic, Personal and interpersonal capabilities. It is available in English, French, German and Spanish and can be accessed through the website:


Picture 1: Small House in Lower Bavaria-Germany (Pictures of Windows)

The pictures databank of the VIP project is a tool, contributed by the EAEA, to teach a foreign language using original photos and creating different activities that can be adapted for different levels and languages. By using the tool, learners improve their skills in understanding a foreign language.

Using pictures as a frame provides support for people with low levels in basic skills and newcomers in a country when the local alphabet and cultural habits are unknown to them. During the process, participants improve or deepen their cultural understanding of the country they have moved into, and learn values such as tolerance and coexistence. They learn to deal with their new environment and new language. 

As the photos show elements from the real life, using them is a great way to invoke interaction with each other; indeed, pictures represent a common language and communication is made easier by using them.

The applicability of the innovative tool for the development of Life Skills

At a time when people take plenty of photos using their mobile phones, this should to be taken into account. Interesting pictures, taken by learners and based on different topics, can be used in teaching because they all represent various different cultures and reflect their interests/points of view. They are organised based on themes, which makes it easier for learners to navigate and communicate. As the topics cover quite a range of situations and subjects to be taught (e.g. colours, weather, buildings, markets, food, etc.), the tool is regularly used and belongs among the favourite teaching aids. The tool is easily transferable as the pictures come from a wide range of countries. Thus, many of the pictures are accompanied by ideas for ready-made activities and lesson plans regardless of the level of learning.

Picture 2: Result of a brainstorming related to one of the pictures