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April 2020 - Year 22 - Issue 2

ISSN 1755-9715

The Power of Visualisation

Joanna Czeredys is a freelancer cooperating with various private language schools and universities. She enjoys teaching both adults and senior students as well as international students. She has already run courses for Chinese, Ukrainian, Russian, and Turkish students. She is very keen to share knowledge and experience with other teachers. She expands her knowledge during conferences and workshops. She has CELTA and DELTA M1 diplomas.  Email: czeredysjoanna@gmail.com

 

Nowadays we perceive the world through images: we are even surrounded by them. Therefore, I started considering if the images have such a big impact on our daily life, how the situation looks like in the learning process. I started searching for the theory behind, but more importantly I have analysed which possible solutions I can incorporate into my teaching.

Observing my teaching experience I use images and their power using different methods. One strategy relies on the power of image; the other one conglomerates image and visualisation technique.

The authors  of the book 12 zasad skutecznej edukacji (p89-101) underline the power of image thus they mention the psychological term eideitism, which enables people to create images and memorize them.  They highlight that we should help our students to memorise knowledge in both verbal and visual codes. It is vital as such double memorisation stays longer in our minds; moreover, in the situation when we forget one code the other one can be recalled.  

Another source of my inspiration to look at the visualisation as a key in boosting the learning process of my students was the book written by Eline Snel Uważność I spokój żabki. The author gives a variety of techniques and ideas for improving concentration among kids and  shows how important it is. She uses the techniques of mindfulness to make life better. I looked at her exercises and adopted one of them towards my teaching as I found out that such an easy solution can bring effects in teaching adults.

Also the news delivered by Polish Institute of Mindfulness, which show direct connection between  practice of mindfullness and the boost of the brain function among adults make me feel even more confident in the use of visualization, images and concentration techniques in teaching. (https://www.facebook.com/PolskiInstytutMindfulness/posts/1665865813575094)

Finally I got really enthusiastic when I read an article by Nik Peachey, who promotes almost the same technique as I do at my classes.  (peacheypublication.com)

Looking at  the theories behind the use of images, I try to incorporate many vivid pictures, which stay in mind and facilitate the memorisation. The strategy to  use a visual at the beginning of a lesson to start a discussion pays off.  Two websites: unspalsh.com and mixkit.com are worth to be used. Moreover,  presenting a new topic  or grammatical problem through the use of visuals such as films is also beneficial. With some groups we prepare short films, so they show the use and application of the topic of a lesson. I do it as part of a flipped classroom activities, as well. As homework, students prepare short cartoons, then we share and watch as a group and in such a rather hilarious way difficult aspects of English grammar become easier to be understood. With the use of visualisation technique I ask my students to recall the cartoons when they mistakenly use a tense or a grammatical structure.

Another technique that helps images to stay longer is to create personalised booklets to each coursebook. I ask my students to bring photos that are related to the topics included in our book. Then by the end of each chapter, I ask my students to concentrate and think carefully what the chapter was about, then they write down any key ideas they have learnt at the back of their photo. I always check and discuss the ideas individually, so I am sure there are no mistakes there. In such a way by the end of the course students usually obtain a booklet of 12 pages with the things they have learnt so far, I encourage them to come back to it any time they want. I receive the feedback that such a technique is very useful for my students as recalling personalised knowledge is much easier.

The above examples represent the use of images, but I also follow the method of visualisation, which demands some steps to be undertaken. First you should sit straight, close your eyes, concentrate and start visualising the process. The first time I asked my students to close their eyes, they looked quite embarrassed, but then we tried it a few times and it started working.

So what I really like about visualisation is that you work on concentration and try to find the images that will stay in memory. In order to adapt visualisation in classes I found out certain solutions.

One of the strategies is to incorporate mindmaps into teaching. The techniques to write down ideas not linearly, created by Tony Buzan,  became very popular (tonybuzan.com).  I quite often try to use mindmaps as a revision exercise or as a speaking brainstorm activity as it helps students to expand the perception of a concept. Once we create our mindmap in the class I share it with the students either at the platform dedicated to the course or we use blackchannel.com as our source of communication. This enables us to easily find the mindmaps and come back whenever my students need them or whenever they find time.

Another scenario when I use visualisation is a revision by the end of a lesson. I ask my students to close their eyes, think carefully about our lesson, open the eyes and write down the expressions, pieces of vocabulary, grammar they recall from the lesson onto a 3D picture which represents a topic of the lesson. I usually create 3d pictures in the form of a word or a picture so that students write in.  This idea was an inspiration of a technique provided by Eline Snel. For example, during our lesson on ecology I asked students to draw a tree and write down words into it one- by- one. Then I asked them to take photos of their completed trees and come back to them if they want to revise the lesson. Furthermore, I prepare 3d words to be completed; for example for a lesson on countable and uncountable nouns I prepared a 3d  word ‘scales’ so that students could write words into it. As I try to use the technique quite often, my students create their personalised collections, which  become a great ready- made revision materials.

The above mentioned examples show how we can benefit from the power of images and boost learning process.

 

Links

https://www.facebook.com/PolskiInstytutMindfulness/posts/1665865813575094

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/pcn.12972?fbclid=IwAR0t-HQOEP6-MwRZfHUh94RwBEseKI6nWaCr7JbZ6bz4ShZeoFubfHOYF0o

https://peacheypublications.com/visualisation-to-enhance-creativity-in-the-elt-classroom?fbclid=IwAR0Scxshzn67GhKvA8eJ1FTfNQxg244WIpcJeD0BuSx7RTbjOuayu4yaoKo

https://www.eslbase.com/teaching/mind-maps-language-learning

https://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/

https://www.educationworld.com/a_curr/profdev/profdev094.shtml

https://www.wired.com/category/backchannel/

https://unsplash.com/

https://mixkit.co/

 

Bibliography

Bąbel, Przemysław, Wiśniak, Marzena12 zasad skutecznej edukacji

Snel, Eline Uważność i spokój żabki wyd. CoJaNaTo

 

Please check the Pilgrims courses at Pilgrims website.

Please check the How to Motivate Your Students course at Pilgrims website.

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    Joanna Czeredys, Poland

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