“We are all bilingual”
This quote by Moline (2011) really resonated with me because it is so true. We all use visuals everyday and it is a huge part of our lives. Especially now with smartphones, GPS, billboards, and the internet. It is a second way of communicating.
So that brings me to my first point….
Why should we as educators care about visual literacy?
We all perceive visuals in different ways and that is what makes visuals and images so intriguing! We all have a DIFFERENT way of seeing things. It also helps us communicate with one another. Moline discuses that some people can be poor writers but can communicate through visual forms and that we should care about visual literacy because:
- It allows students to express their form of communication in the way that works best for them
- Books that incorporate visuals, graphs, and diagrams help them understand the text
- It helps students develop research skills
- Visual literacy helps in everyday life outside of school
- It helps students make meaning of the text
- Through visual literacy, students can create meaning of words and images
Here is a great video discussing why it’s important to teach visual literacy, ENJOY!
By having a better understanding of visuals, it provides a larger viewpoint of the various types of literacy and what it means to be literate. Everyone is a literate citizen and we all use our own perferred literacy styles. Visuals are a huge part of our lives and they help us broaden our other literacy skills. We as future teachers need to use visuals as a way to promote creativity, personal identity, and help strengthen students literacy skills. Visuals help students make meaning, connections and percieve things that works best for them.
So, how do we as teacher teach visual literacy effectively?
Effectively teaching visual literacy is an important task that helps students PERCEIVE what they see and learn meaning through the use of visuals. According to Arwood, Kaulitz and Brown, various ways of teaching visual literacy include:
- Provide visuals in a way a child learns meaning
- Provide different levels of visuals in materials in different ways
- Adapt to the students level of meaning
- Use sound-based interventions to assist the child
- Focus on the students strengths
Remember, all students learn differently and it is up to us to teach them in an INLCUSIVE WAY and know what works best for each student. Arnie and Forester learned in very DIFFERENT ways and SHOULD NOT be compared to one another.
To go along with this, Frey and Fisher mentioned some important concepts teachers need to do to teach visual literacy effectively including:
- Choose texts that are interesting to the students
- Use materials that rewards meaningful analysis
- Connects with the students lives
- Provide comics with “graphic language”
WHAT?!?! Why comics?
Comics teach students how to undertsand meaning through images and become engaged while searching for the meaning. It allows the teacher and students to analyze images and build upon those skills.
Growing up, visual literacy has always been my strength in school. If I was unclear with what my teacher was saying, a visual always helped me understand concepts and meaning. I remember in my second grade classroom my teacher had images posted all over her walls for all subjects. It was all-relevant to what we were learning and that always gave me something to refer back to. During English, if she provided us with a vocabulary word, an image would always follow. This helped me learn my words through the use of visuals. The images provided meaning to the words and for me; it made everything a little bit easier. I also loved when we were given books that were very rich in visuals because I learned better when I could visualize a story. As I got older, the books provided less visuals and reading and comprehension became harder for me. I love the idea of incorperating texts that include graphs and charts as a way to provide clarity for visual learners.
I See What You Mean, Moline (2011) Chapters 1 – 3
Arwood, Kaulitz and Brown, 2009
Frey and Ficher (2008)