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visual aides have become important to the learning processes of children in all grad 3598321

Visual aides have become important to the learning processes of children in all grades of school. From simple skits to enhanced computer calculations and comparisons, teachers everywhere are learning the power of having their students visualize and take part in what they are expected to learn. This process is a great departure from the classic learning model of reading along and taking notes, so it takes some teachers and faculty a while to accept and learn new styles of teaching.

The three articles that I have chosen show the value of visual aides in the classroom, but also note the difficulties of changing long held educational beliefs. “You Gotta Have Art! ”, by Roger Glass and Priscilla Nemeth, describes the impact of visual learning in classes around the United States. For example, in order to visualize “natural environments found in Florida”, students were prompted to paint a mural on a school wall showing what they had learned in their science class. The mural was a way to learn as well as a point of pride to the children who helped create it (Glass & Nemeth, 2003, para.

5). Other schools use “a print of the city” to teach local history and geography, instead of simply using a plain map. The print allows children to see the buildings and sites that they discuss in class, rather than just have the areas pointed out to them on a basic city map that includes only streets and symbols (Glass & Nemeth, 2003, para. 3). The results have been more than anyone could have expected. Attendance and discipline have improved in the schools that promote visuals in the classroom, and scores on standardized tests have risen dramatically (Glass and Nemeth, 2003, para.

2). It is apparent from this article that allowing children to see what is special about a subject, and also take part in projects that they can be proud of, encourages them to come to school interested and ready to learn. “Talking Science, Modeling Scientists”, by Elizabeth Edmondson, William H. Leonard, Chris Peters, and Anna O. Baldwin, describes a program in place in South Carolina schools that lets the students learn visually in class and then share the knowledge with students in other schools who are learning the same lesson.

Students were taught a science unit on electric circuits by such means as “lighting a bulb with a battery, bulb, and wire, constructing a flashlight using a series or parallel circuit and switch, and designing and wiring a simple cardboard house” (Edmondson, et al. , 2006, p. 29). The learning did not stop there. Students learned to write about what they had visually learned, and then shared the information with student partners over a special system. (Edmondson, et al. , 2006, p. 30). This system allowed students from each school to post questions and answers to each other by means of a dedicated message board (Edmondson, et al, 2006, p.

30). Students were encouraged to “buddy up” and work on projects together (Edmondson, et al, 2006, p. 30). Also, those having trouble learning were paired with those who had a mastery of the subject, so long distance peer tutoring occurred as well (Edmondson, et al, 2006, pg. 31). Teachers reported that this system of visual and hands on learning much improved the students’ comprehension levels and incidently improved their writing skills due to the reports that they posted (Edmondson, et al. , 2006, p. 31-32).

This project not only serves as an interest to children who easily catch on to the lesson, but it also gives them a chance to help fellow students who are struggling. Achievement is possible for all with this method, and it would be especially productive if a “richer” school district paired up with one that did not have the same luxuries. “Meet Mr. Shannon”, by Kristin Kearns Jordan, gives a viewpoint from a school in New York that struggles to add visual learning methods to their curriculum. The person in the title, Mr.

Frederick Shannon, is considered a “master teacher” with his own manner of instruction called the “Shannon Plan” (Jordan, 2003, para. 2). He has used this method of primarily visual learning for twenty-five years, and he helps new teachers put it into place (Jordan, 2003, para. 2). For example, one teacher has picked up the habit of having a student dress as a “hamburger” to illustrate how a paragraph should be written. The “bun” simulates a strong opening and closing sentence, and the “meat” simulates the important information that should be given within the paragraph.

She also uses “hand signals” to teach the components of a plot (Jordan, 2003, para. 4). Unfortunately, this school is plagued by regulations that cause the teachers to have to take classes on theory, which makes them not have time for special learning techniques (Jordan, 2003, para. 5&6). In this school, visual learning has to fall by the wayside. Considering that children now have to pass competency tests to move to the next grade, and seniors have to pass a graduation exam to receive a diploma, there is often little chance for teachers to vary from the standard program in their classes.

It is little wonder that children with no chance for variation from the basic lessons tend to dislike school All three of these articles contain teachers who are ready and willing to use visual learning techniques, but some are much more lucky than others. Consider the South Carolina schools that have an expensive, state of the art visual program, and then think of the New York schools that are so bound in regulation that they can barely manage to fit a few skits in their lessons.

Most schools will fall in the middle ground of using art and pictures as visual aides. In every case, though, visual elements enhanced the learning process, which should prove to even the most doubtful person that taking time for special types of learning enhances the educational experience. Notes and readings are not the only way to learn, and our nation’s educational system needs to bear that fact in mind if we are going to produce top caliber graduates.

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