Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Visual Thinking Strategies: Using Art to Deepen Learning Across Disciplines

The Scream by Edvard Munch

"I was walking down the road with two friends when the sun set; suddenly, the sky turned as red as blood. I stopped and leaned against the fence, feeling unspeakably tired. Tongues of fire and blood stretched over the bluish black fjord. My friends went on walking, while I lagged behind, shivering with fear. Then I heard the enormous infinite scream of nature."

An innovative idea that encourages students to think beyond the literal comprehension of a visual. 

While teachers are struggling to teach visual literacy to their students through a gamut of advertisements, pictures, leaflets and brochures, the question really is what approach should be used.

Abigail Housen, a Harvard graduate, has been studying how varying degrees of exposure to visual art has affected people's viewing experience since the 1970s. Built on the foundations of aesthetic development that guided Piaget and Vygotsky, she uses an approach known as the Aesthetic Development Interview (ADI) to get interviewees to talk about a given image.

In this approach, no questions are asked, thus insuring that the interviewer does not influence the interview. The subject is simply invited to talk as if s/he were thinking out loud, talking about what is seen. The interviews are taped, and then transcribed and coded using an empirically-derived coding manual. A temporary aesthetic stage is assigned in this process, and this scoring is then compared to a clinical analysis, arrived at by an independent reading of the entire interview.

I've always wished that there was time to explore pieces of art work in class. There's so much to be gleaned in terms of insights and perspectives from artwork.

'A picture is a poem without words' ~ Horace.

For Vimeo's video on how VTS can empower children and unlock language learning and creative thinking, watch this video on Visual Thinking Strategies

For more on VTS, check out Visual Thinking Strategies

Disclaimer: I do not own the rights to the Scream image above. I will be ready to remove it should there be any copyright infringement.

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