Showing someone a picture is visual teaching. If you tell a tale about a fairy, every person listening to the tale will make different pictures of the fairy. This is visual learning. When you’re teaching a fact, such as the shape of Canada, your learners need to see it. But if you tell them exactly what their fairy should look like, you’re stiffling their creativity.
Visual learning is a skill essential for many things in life. One of the major challenges any person teaching anything has is that s/he has no idea of what picture a learner’s mind creates. The learner will most likely look as if s/he is in a trance while focused on the imagined fairy and thus seemingly not paying attention to the teaching person. Do you know people who were reprimanded for daydreaming in class at school? Ask them what they’re imagining and you’ll find something highly creative. You may have heard a teacher say to a learner “the answer is not on the ceiling!” But for the visual learner the answer is EXACTLY on the ceiling! [Another reason why the answer is exactly on the ceiling is that the ceiling is often the only blank piece of wall in a classroom – and visualizing pictures against a blank background is so much easier!]
To understand visual learning we have to put ourselves into the learner’s perspective.
- Where does s/he hold his/her pictures?
- Are the pictures in color or black and white?
- How bright are they?
- How far / near are they to his/her face?
- Is the person looking through his/her eyes or from an outsider’s perspective?
- How large or small are the pictures?
- Do the pictures move or are they still?
- How fast do they move?
Once any individual understand his/her style of visualization, s/he will have much more control over his/her pictures. Visualizing is fun, effective, and invaluable for anyone! Exercises for sharpening the visual skills will also help improve visual learning.
Contact me for more NLP help with visualization, visual teaching, and visual learning.