Empowering Our Learning

Effectively engaging the eye generation is as much about teaching our students how to “read” and work with visuals as it is about broadening and enhancing our teaching approaches. Much of Johanna Riddle’s research is based on the assertion that “Once we unlock the door to intelligent vision, we set the stage for richer understanding and communication. We begin to grow and encourage what journalist Linda Ellerbee calls ‘savvy interpreters of meaning'” (p.29). By including the arts, technology, and imagery in our teaching, we add power to the traditional tools of learning and actively engage our students in the “visual, auditory, and kinesthetic interpretation and production of information” (p.55).

For more on the importance of using visuals in the classroom, view this slide show. (And while you’re at it, learn about some useful, new technology.)

You can also learn more about the importance of using visual thinking in the classroom in the slide show here. And this post provides some great visuals and thoughts for pondering.

How do you use visuals to empower your students’ learning?

The “Eyes” Have It

“Teaching should be such that what is offered is perceived as a valuable gift and not as a hard duty.”   ~Albert Einstein

Now there’s some food for thought…

It seems like more than ever this term, my students are feeling bogged down by the “work” of learning. This has led to some pondering on my part about what I can do to engage them more in the learning process to help them see learning as a “valuable gift” rather than a drudgery.

I have also been on a quest to further my own learning about visual literacy and its use in the classroom. One of the books I’ve read lately is Engaging the Eye Generation: Visual Literacy Strategies for the K-5 Classroom by Johanna Riddle. This text provides insights into Riddle’s own experiences in the classroom, makes a compelling case to include time for teaching visual literacy skills, and offers practical tips and strategies for doing just that.

Riddle found in her research that students wanted to “experience education – see it, hear it, create it. Influenced by current culture, their learning modalities were overwhelmingly visual. They wanted to show what they know” (p.2). However, these visual literacy skills did not necessarily develop naturally or as quickly as students’ other reading skills. Therefore, students need “guided questioning, discussion, observation, and time to consider various forms of information before they can successfully integrate their understanding of text and image” (p.10).

To learn more about Riddle’s ideas and strategies, check out the following links:

Engaging the Eye Stenhouse Publishing Book Blog Tour

Video of Johanna Riddle discussing her book

Engaging the Eye Generation Slide Show by Johanna Riddle