Search This Blog

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Education post: Visual-Spatial Learners: Identification

As part of a class that I am taking, I am writing a series of blog entries related to visual-spatial learners (VSL).  I need to:
Create a blog with at least 8 entries to share resources and/or strategies with other educators, administrators, and/or parents.  Be sure to include pictures, links, etc. in your blog. Make sure to describe how the resource or strategy might be useful to you and how it would impact VSLs.
So, here goes.  For the class we are reading the book, Visual-Spatial Learners by Alexandra Shires Golon.    I'm only about forty-one pages into it so far, but it reads easily.  So far the book (and the class) are concentrating on identifying VSL students and individuals.

VSL students are to be contrasted with Audio-Sequential Learners (ASL).  There are also Kinesthetic Learners, but Golon groups them with the VSL students for her book.  

Golon likens learning in a style that's not yours to writing with your non-dominant hand.  You may be able to write legibly, but you will never be as comfortable writing with that hand, nor will it look as good.  So too, for VSL learners, you can learn to learn sequentially, be more "organized", and learn auditorially, but it won't ever be as easy for you as learning visually and spatially or kinesthetically.  

How do these people learn?  They think and store information in pictures!  I must say that I find this notion rather peculiar, as I certainly don't (except for maps).  In fact I don't even think in words - I guess I must think in ideas, because words and pictures slow me down.  I guess there is one other area where I store information spatially.  I know where passages are in my Bible by which page and what part of the page they're on.  That's one of the reasons I don't want to switch to a new volume, even as my old one gets worn!

VSL also don't learn well by repetition and drill, so math and foreign language taught that way can be deadly.  They are often more intuitive; they see an idea or a solution all at once, and showing how they got there is difficult for them.  They have trouble sequencing and organizing ideas (and themselves!).  They are often very creative artistically - and they often "think outside of the box".  Or they don't even know that there is a box!

For further information on the characteristics of these learners, check out Linda Kreger Silverman's Introduction to VSL or Starjump.  Here's a good graphic that helps describes these students, taken from the Starjump site.

So, future sessions will address how to give these learners the tools they need to do well in school, especially for teachers.  Hopefully we'll also find resources on how to enable students to use their strengths to learn better, and how to overcome their "disadvantages" with their own learning style without forcing them to be  someone that they aren't.  Most authors on this topic that I've read stress that methods that help VSL, will also help reinforce and teach the ideas for ASL students as well.

No comments:

Post a Comment