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Visual Literacy
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Learning Styles
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Understanding ones self and others in terms of learning styles is a way to empower students to excel in the act of learning. It asks classrooms to shift from teacher centered to student centered, therefore presenting knowledge in multiple styles. The way in which people learn can be divided into three categories: Auditory, Visual and Tactile. Many people embody many of the characteristics from all three categories, however, most students are stronger when material is presented in the one that best suites them. In most cases once students have identified which style is best for them, they can begin to identify and seek out material that suites them better.

It helps students point their questions and effort to a place they know they will understand. Auditory learners learn through listening. They learn best through verbal lectures, discussions, talking things through and listening to what others have to say. Auditory learners interpret the underlying meanings of speech through listening to tone of voice, pitch, speed and other nuances. For auditory learners, written information may have little meaning until it is heard. These learners often benefit from reading text aloud and using a tape recorder. Auditory learners are more likely to: participate in class discussions/debates, make stronger speeches and presentations, use a tape recorder during lectures instead of taking notes, read text out loud, create musical jingles and mnemonics to aid memorization, discuss your ideas verbally, dictate to someone while they write down your thoughts, use verbal analogies and story telling to demonstrate their point. The education of visual literacy will help these students understand and work with teachers and students that are more inclined to learn in a visual manner.

Visual learners learn through seeing. These learners need to see the teacher’s body language and facial expression to fully understand the content of a lesson. They tend to prefer sitting at the front of the classroom to avoid visual obstructions. They may think in pictures and learn best from visual displays including: diagrams, illustrated textbooks, overhead transparencies, videos, flip charts and handouts. During a lecture or classroom discussion, visual learners often prefer to take detailed notes to absorb the information. Visual learners: illustrate their ideas as a picture or brainstorming bubble before writing them down, write a story and illustrate it, use multi-media (e.g. computers, videos, and filmstrips), study in a quiet place away from verbal disturbances, visualize information as a picture to aid memorization. Education of visual literacy helps these students much like the education of language helps students who are auditory learners. Visual literacy helps these students decipher messages and materials, critically analyze the information and communicate back in both a verbal and visual manner.

Tactile learners learn through moving, doing and touching. Tactile people learn best through a hands-on approach, actively investigating the physical
world. They may find it hard to sit still for long periods and may become distracted by their need for activity and exploration. Tactile learners are more likely to: take frequent study breaks, move around to learn new things, work at a standing position, use bright colors to highlight reading material,
dress up their work space with posters, and skim through reading material to
get a rough idea of the reading before settling down to read it in detail. Visual literacy helps tactile learners because it teaches them processes that will help motivate students to physically create communicate with the people around them. It also helps teach them how to communicate visually so that they are able to communicate with visual learners in a more concrete manner.

These learning styles represent a large spectrum which teachers have to consistently consider when writing lesson plans. Teaching visual literacy allows students who are visual learners to understand and excel in their own style. This also teaches students who are auditory and tactile learners a new way of acquiring knowledge. This knowledge allows students to understand the way they learn and find ways to make success a frequent occurrence. Knowing how each student learns also makes teaching a student easier; teachers know which methods to try first and what probably will and won’t work on an individual basis.

The first step in acknowledging learning styles is to implement testing. Learning style tests can be effectively done in third to fourth grade. These tests should be conducted at the beginning of the school year so that teachers are aware of each students learning style before the year progresses too far. The tests are quick, taking only fifteen minutes to conduct and assess.

This knowledge will stay with a student for a lifetime if they are effectivly taught how to manage and seek out the information that suites them.

 
 
   
     
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