Transform your Teaching: Module 2: Lesson 2: Graphic Facilitation Tools

As I mentioned in the first module, Build you Visual Vocabulary, graphic facilitation is versatile. You can graphically facilitate your sessions using as few or as many specialist tools as you wish. 

In my courses, I realise that most teachers have at least a pencil and a piece of paper. This is all you need throughout this course. 

Here’s a fun Instagram reel I made about this. Click the image to view. 

Image of a hand drawn person pointing at a whiteboard. Text on whiteboard says: How many pens do you need for graphic facilitation?


However, if you’re anything like me, you’ll slowly start to build your collection of graphic facilitation tools – and develop an addiction to pens!

Here are some tools you may wish to explore.  


1. Pen and paper 

All you need is a pen (or pencil) and paper. You can draw the icons and visuals during the session or have them pre-prepared before class. 

If you are working online or you want to save or reuse your work, you can scan the image. I like to use the Camscanner App which is free for Android phones. I tend to use the ‘Magic Colour’ feature, which brightens the colours and whitens the background automatically. 


2. Whiteboard and dry-erase markers

These are perfect for graphic facilitation. It’s simple to draw a visual template, container or graphic organiser on the whiteboard and ask learners to come to the whiteboard and add their ideas. You can give them post-it notes or their own marker pen to do this. If your students also like drawing, you can encourage them to add their own drawings too. 

The photos below are of my whiteboard. I wanted to find out how my students were learning English, and give them an opportunity to discuss and share ideas. I drew some containers on the whiteboard (See Module 1: Build your Visual Vocabulary: containers) and then asked them to add their ideas using post it notes. We then discussed how they like to learn and shared suggestions for favourite apps, websites and videos. Students then wrote a short text giving advice for how to learn English. 

3. Flipchart and markers

Flipcharts are great because you can pre-draw the visual, roll it up and store it or transport it. This means you can create something more detailed and reuse it multiple times. 

You don’t need to have a flipchart stand to use a flipchart. I ordered flipchart paper online then used panel pins (small nails) to hang it on my wall. 

An alternative to this is to use paper tape (aka masking tape) and hang each page individually. I recommend hanging another page underneath the top layer to prevent the pens from ‘bleeding’ onto the wall! 

It’s also a good idea to stick the piece of tape to your clothes first, to make it less sticky. This should reduce the risk of the tape removing any paintwork! 

Top tip: Ask permission from the owner of the surface first!!

Making paper tape less sticky
Making paper tape less sticky!

4. Teaching online

Graphic Facilitation is excellent for online teaching. It can make lessons more interactive and collaborative. 

In Zoom, you can display the visual using PowerPoint, Word or Whiteboard and ask participants to add their ideas using the annotation tools. 

Tools such as JamboardMural and Miro are also great ways to take graphic facilitation online. You can display the image, then ask students to add their own post it notes, doodles, text or images/icons. Mural even has its own visual templates for you to use.

Why not have a play around?


5. Visualisers

Visualisers are basically 21st Century versions of overhead projectors. They stream the visual to the computer screen and can be used in face to face or online sessions. 

Emily Bryson ELT image of a visualiser or document camera used for graphic facilitation online

I love using them for storytelling; I draw a story or ask students to create their own story as I draw it for them. Students can then re-tell the story in pairs, write it, discuss it then write their own. 

Here’s a video story I created using a visualiser. It’s aimed at adult learners devloping their literacy skills. This lesson focuses on the phonics sounds CEHRMD. I’ve shared the word document here, as I feel it’s best that lessons can be tailored, especially at this level. Click the image to view the lesson and the video. 

Stan and Pam go to the park – CEHRMD

You can find the previous episode, which focuses on SATPIN sounds at


6. Digital Tools

If you happen to have a tablet or laptop with drawing capabilities, you have lots of options available to you. 

– Create, save and edit your visuals

– Repurpose your visuals

– Draw ‘live’ straight into Powerpoint, Jamboard or Mural. 

– Share your screen in a video conferencing (e.g. Zoom) session to display your drawing software. 

There are lots of different drawing softwares to choose from. The most popular for Apple seems to be Procreate. I’m an Android girl so I use Adobe Fresco. I recommend trying a few and seeing what works for you. 

You can also draw straight into Powerpoint 365, which has a cool animate option. Here’s an example of this function in action! 

What tools do you have for graphic facilitation? What would you like to try? Share your thoughts in the Facebook group.