Visual Teaching Strategies for the Classroom
Visual Teaching Strategies for the Classroom
Consider these facts:
FACT: Approximately 65 percent of the population is visual learners.
FACT: The brain processes visual information 60,000 faster than text.
FACT: 90 percent of information that comes to the brain is visual.
FACT: 40 percent of all nerve fibers connected to the brain are linked to the retina.
FACT: Visual aids in the classroom improve learning by up to 400 percent.
"How smart are you?" is now irrelevant. A more powerful new question is, "How are you smart?"
How many of us remember when a calculator and typewriter were considered the height of technology? We are in the midst of a profound paradigm shift. We are moving from a period in which the language of production and manufacturing dominated our way of seeing the world to a time when ideas about information and communication shape our discourse. Some philosophers argue that we are actually in the midst of an even deeper change–one in which the pendulum of worldview is swinging from a more masculine, word-based culture to one that is more feminine and image-based.
It is hard to argue with the observation that the generation of students now moving into and through our educational system is by far the most visually stimulated generation that system has ever had to teach. Research shows us that 65% of our students are visual learners. Having grown up with cable television, video games, computer software for education and entertainment, and the Internet, our students are truly visual learners coming of age in an increasingly visual world. Notwithstanding individual differences in intelligence and learning style, this generation of students needs to be taught the way they best learn–with visual stimulation accompanied by active learning strategies.
As educators, we need to recognize the nature of our students and prepare them for the world in which they will live and work. We must allow this understanding of the visual nature of our students to influence our teaching techniques and the educational technologies we employ. We need to become Visual Teachers.
Who Are Visual Teachers?
1. The Visual Teacher is an educator who embraces and models full spectrum visual literacy.
The Visual Teacher understands the effects of visual stimulation on brain development and utilizes imagery where appropriate to enhance learning.
The Visual Teacher understands the underlying concepts of visual literacy:
* Imagery communicates in an emotional and pre-rational style that can bypass logical thought
* Imagery invokes the part of our brain that assembles symbols and visual elements into stories
The Visual Teacher actively encourages students to decode still images, such as documentary or advertising photography, and moving images, such as commercials, newscasts, dramatic or comic television programs and films.
The Visual Teacher explores with students the signs and symbols in art and visual media.
The Visual Teacher encourages students to encode or make more effective still images through an understanding of passive, neutral, and active imagery.
2. The Visual Teacher utilizes graphic, image-rich technologies in his or her teaching.
The Visual Teacher is proficient in the basics of contemporary image-making:
* Creating an original image
* Transforming an existing image from one format to another (print to digital/digital to print)
* Modifying an image
* Saving, storing, and archiving images
* Transferring images electronically
* Reproducing images
The Visual Teacher understands the advantages and disadvantages of various visual technologies and uses them appropriately.
3. The Visual Teacher avoids passive learning experiences by bridging " seeing" and "doing" using appropriate projects, activities, and technologies.
The Visual Teacher creates lesson plans and activities that reflect the Six Methods of Visual Learning, acknowledging that when we create and utilize images we will most likely be working in one (or some combination) of the following modes:
The Visual Teacher responds to student image-making, evaluating effectiveness based on criteria that corresponds to the Six Methods of Visual Learning:
* Did you discover something new (external)?
* Did you record your observation faithfully and accurately?
* Did you manifest an idea, thought, or feeling in visual form?
* Would a viewer "get" the idea, thought, or feeling you have expressed in visual form?
* Has your image changed a viewer’s mind or influenced his or her behavior?
* Did you discover something new (internal)?
The Visual Teacher creates assignments and activities that allow students to develop and apply their Visual Information Handling Skills:
* The ability to organize images for effective display
* The ability to establish visual criteria and arrange images in a visual database
* The ability to substitute images for words and establish a visual language
* The ability to combine images with text to share ideas more effectively
* The ability to integrate images with live presentations to communicate more powerfully
* The ability to alter, manipulate, or transform existing images to envision something new
This information is courtesy of the Visual Teaching Alliance, www.visualteachingalliance.com.