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Visual Literacy
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Learning Styles
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Global Communication
All of these examples of learning and literacy (verbal and visual) form a tool to enable global communication. The concept of a global village or universal language has been in existence since the Modernist art movement exemplified by the creation of a universal alphabet by Herbert Bayer of the Bauhaus. During its time the alphabet was stifled because people weren’t interested in communicating on a universal level. Now that many languages are coexisting the need to reevaluate the ways in which we communicate is necessary. The global village strives to build a way for many cultures that speak many different languages to communicate in one universal way. If the population were consistently visually literate the closer we would be to sustaining a global village and universal language that may be more accepted. The United States in particular is a country that needs to embrace such a concept;

... it alone has approximately 323 languages spoken, representing over 55 different countries.

The language barrier only appears to be growing and the use of a universal language to communicate with everyone could help mitigate the cultural
divide that is continuing to grow.

Global communication can also aid people when the spoken word isn’t an option. There are many physical and mental disabilities that restrict the way in which one communicates, such as deafness or autism. The ability to communicate visually will help bridge the gap between those who are disabled and those who are not.

Art Literacy vs. Visual Literacy
Some schools have maintained an art literacy program that is taught by volunteers. While these programs do show an interest and dedication to the arts, the curriculum is much different than visual literacy. The current art literacy curriculums aren’t meeting the needs of the students. Art literacy relies on replication to drive its lessons; it involves the education of a historical artist and asks students to use this knowledge to replicate that artist’s particular style.

Visual literacy demonstrates how the visual world can communicate a variety of messages; it gives students a lens in which to see the world. While the historical information given in many art literacy classes is important there is information that can be determined about each artist by deciphering the messages being communicated by each piece, visual literacy gives students this opportunity.

However, the use of skills that visual literacy teaches allows students to critically analyze pieces of work, historical or modern, and gather the important aspects of the artwork without knowing the specific movement or time period. It enables students to grasp the zeitgeist and understand what was going on in the particular artist’s time.

The distinction between art and visual literacy is especially important because many schools are eliminating art literacy because they don’t see practical application for the students outside of the art class. Visual literacy should be taught so that students are prepared for the world outside of school and the visual messages they will be bombarded with.

The understanding of historical art movements is important to the way in which art and visual communication has evolved, therefore knowledge would be given throughout the development of visual literacy, but wouldn’t be needed until higher level vocational activities took place in high school or college.

Learning Styles
Research that has been conducted over the past twenty years has proved that students don’t all learn in the same way. Many students continue to struggle in school because their teacher doesn’t understand the importance of providing educational material in a variety of teaching forms.

As the media rapidly takes over every aspect of life, the development of a resistance is in need. The education of visual literacy will teach students how to read between the lines and understand what each message is actually sending to them.

It teaches them how to think critically and analyze before making positive or negative associations with messages. This resistance allows students to maintain individuality, refraining from the ideals that the media sets before them. It will also help them determine right from wrong within the media, allowing them to judge what is fact and fiction.



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