How Do You Teach Visual Thinking Strategies to School Kids?
Open-ended interactive sessions can be really effective for feedback-based teachings. So, educators are trying out unorthodox methods to ensure comprehensive student growth. Visual Thinking Strategies, or VTS, have become an oft-used tactic.
When following this technique, teachers present a visual art to their students to observe and form their own interpretations about it. Accordingly, they ask the students to present their takeaways about the image in question. Consequently, a student’s capabilities of analysing and describing imagery can improve exponentially.
As a teacher, there are several ways you can teach visual thinking strategies to school kids. For instance, experts suggest asking leading questions to the students that will encourage them to indulge in critical thinking. It would help if you also used conditional language, to sum up, a student’s answer to give it a crisp form for the entire classroom.
Note that when dealing with young children, you should not select a piece of abstract art for interpretation, as that can be difficult for them. Instead, use artwork like doodle decoding to help your students' cognitive development. Allow a minute or two for your students to observe the image before you ask them to start explaining their interpretation.
Additionally, when one student completes the presentation, try to engage the rest of the class in the discussion. Before asking other students for their own ideas, try to build on what the previous student said. So ask them questions like what else they can add to their friend’s concepts. This will also encourage the notion of a collective learning experience in a classroom.
Note that you need to have proper preparation before conducting a VTS class. So, make an adequate lesson plan and have the necessary pointers handy.
What Are the Questions You Should Ask During Teaching Visual Thinking Strategy?
Critical thinkers in the academic field observed that there are primarily three questions that a teacher should ask the students when teaching visual thinking strategy. Obviously, you can ask further follow-up questions for the benefit of the discussions.
These suggested inquiries help allow students to open up to you when presenting their opinions. So, they can learn hypothesising and problem-solving skills via such practice.
Firstly, you need to ask students about what is going on in the picture that you have put on display in the class. Let them observe the image for a stipulated amount of time, and then call upon a student to answer your question.
The answers, as it is evident from this discussion, will vary significantly from one student to another. As a result, you will receive different feedback. Ask them to elaborate on their points by asking what they actually see in this picture that makes them come to their specific conclusions.
The following discussion will allow youngsters to showcase their decision-making and communication skills. As this activity-oriented learning module also encourages public speaking, the kids will also benefit in the form of a confidence boost. So, if the conversation ever hits a roadblock as the kids struggle for words, encourage them by asking what else can all of you find collectively from this image.
This will make the classroom feel like a safe space for the young minds under your supervision. Moreover, as they succeed in analysing the image more minutely, the resulting validation from their peers and you will act as a positive reinforcement for your students.
As you act as the facilitator of this practice, try to compare or contrast the different takes by the students and make them understand what that signifies. As you are dealing with young kids and conceptual practice, these discussions can often go off-topic. You should consider the discussion has its own flow, as you are striving to integrate the practice of critical thinking. So, the traditional notions of information acquisition take a backseat for a while.
Leading educationalists specialising in Visual Thinking Strategy also suggest that you should not interfere when a student is presenting with your own input. As this is abstract thinking, there are no hard and fast rules about being right or wrong here. However, if a student is making an objectively factual error, you should correct the child after the VTS session is over. Additionally, when you conduct your regular class, try to incorporate what the kids have learned in that session by interlinking the concepts.
How Can Visual Thinking Strategies Promote Learning in Classroom?
Much like any traditional Teaching Learning Material [TLM] oriented study plan, VTS can primarily help make the lesson feel more personalised and exciting to young children. This can especially come in handy for science-related lessons. Analysing subject-related images will provide them with a working knowledge of the topics.
This way, they are not just rote learning something just because it is written in their books. Rather, they can understand the practicality behind it through their own critical understanding. One can imagine how such a process will help them grow up, as the students will start to deal will geometric diagrams.
Visual thinking also allows students to have a simplified understanding of complicated subjects. So, they can begin to connect the dots between related ideas. Such clarity of information will enable them to conduct further exploration and internalise the crux of the matter without a hitch. Visually presenting the problems in front of them allows your students to deconstruct them and understand the factors involved quickly.
Moreover, with such graphical reorganisation of given ideas, students also learn how to recall previously acquired information in the form of images. Such techniques are crucial in thriving during their evaluations.
How Can Visual Thinking Strategy Help Students With Diverse Needs?
Imagery-based learning modules can be highly effective for students who are facing challenges with learning difficulties like dyslexia. Note that if you are using visual stimuli and aids to engage dyslexic students, it is exponentially helpful for them to organise their train of thought.
Students who are struggling with dyslexia can be prone to spontaneous disorientation during a traditional class. Without proper understanding and communication from the teacher’s end, this habit of zoning out can hamper the academic development of young children. However, if you are integrating the usage of VTS, they can experience the information coming to life – figuratively.
As a result, when trying to decode an image, these kids become active in the learning and knowledge-gathering process. Reinforcing such habits helps them concentrate on the lessons at hand without distraction. Moreover, you can also use other aids like coloured cards or highlight the crucial parts of a larger text to help them understand it better.
Similarly, visual learning strategies are also incredibly effective for young kids who have been diagnosed with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD. According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, this is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders diagnosed in children.
As kids with ADHD can have a hard time concentrating on a topic, they can thrive in alternative visual-spatial learning. Visual thinking provides the scope of utilising their divergent critical thinking capabilities to their fullest. The activity-based, hands-on learning allows them to generate creative ideas. So as you teach visual thinking strategies to school kids, you can also integrate kinaesthetic learning to enlighten their learning experience further. These alternative means of teaching continue to break new ground in academics. Therefore, one can assume how such ideas have the scope of revolutionising this sphere for the better.