Sunday, November 13, 2011

Strategies for Visual-Spatial Learners

 5 Strategies for Visual-Spatial Learners

I'm not too happy about his suggestions, so here are mine:

1) This is one thing a lot of teachers forget: a written word is also a picture. You don't need to go to Egyptian hieroglyps or Chinese signs, you just have to look at A to see a picture of a sound. It would help visual learners if they realized that letters are shapes and words are these shapes in a certain order. I have always thought -ing-verbs are very comfortable verbs, and not before now I realized it's because of the soft, round ending all these words have.

2) Yes, it does work to illustrate the flashcards, or use images in stead of words to express the meaning of a word, but there are limits, and the limits come up VERY quickly.
So - I say again - use colors when you write your flashcards. Assign a color for verbs, adjectives, nouns (one for feminines, one for masculines, or which other classes of nouns the language has), conjunctions, adverbs, prepositions, and all the other classes of words.

 As you can see of these different cards, you can use different colored papers; add different color edges or areas to the cards. Heck, make "artist trading cards" of your flashcards. THAT would work!

Write the different parts of the word in different colors - for example

maalata - to paint
maalaama- painting phase (third infinitive)
maalaamaton - unpainted (negative participle)
maalaamattomalla - "with the unpainted" "using the unpainted" "on the unpainted"
maalaamattomallakaan - "not even with the unpainted" "not even on the unpainted"

3) Go through texts and mark all the verbs with underliner of one color, all the adjectives with another color... if you color co-ordinate with your flashcards, you add just another visual clue to your mind.
Now, I know this is very close to parsing, and if you hate grammar, you'll hate parsing too, but - it happens to be so that all the verbs act alike, all the adjectives work the same way... it does help to do this little bit that smells grammar, even if you hate grammar ;-) - if your mind works in visual-spatial way.

4) movies, tv, cartoons, comics, even illustrated fairy tale books will work. In old-fashioned fairytale books there was a short sentence under each picture, describing which part of the fairytale the picture illustrated... "Prince sees the beautiful princess sleeping" and so on. Take screencaps of your favorite movies and tv shows and add a sentence, quote, a couple of lines, or something similar. Associate a certain phrase, a certain order of words, to a picture, and you'll remember it much better.

Of course you can use the "inspirational" fridge magnets and posters and gifs all around the internet to learn phrases and idioms too, or make something like that yourself.

5) YouTube and other language teaching videos. It's easier for you to understand a dialogue as accompanying a visual meeting of two people. Especially if the dialogue is also published under the images as text...

6) "Harry Lorayne's Magic Memory Aid"
"The Italian word for “chicken” is  pollo, pronounced exactly like the English “polo”(PO-lo). Imagine your Italian host urging you to join him for an unbelievable spectacle. An Italian impresario with a gift for animal training has staged the world’s first polo match between teams of chickens! You’re thrilled that you’re going to be able to go back home, and tell your friends you saw chickens playing polo!

The Italian word for “wife” is moglie, pronounced MOLE-yay. Imagine you’re a man about to get married and you get a friendly tip from an indiscreet clergyman that your bride to be is known to have a strange animal as a pet and fully intends to bring that animal into your home after the nuptials.
You’re torn! It’s too late to call off the marriage. All the relatives have been invited and the paperwork is all in. Besides, you love her.
You decide to barrel forward and hope for the best. As the organ plays and the preacher intones the vows, all you can think of is, “What kind of animal is it? Is it a lion? Is it a tiger? Is it a slick and sneaky snake? A giraffe?” When the two of you arrive at your threshold after the honeymoon, the suspense ends. She brings forth a pleasant little cage containing a cute, furry little creature.
“This is my pet mole,” she says. “He’s going to live with us.”
You cry forth your relief. “Hooray!” you shout. “It’s only a mole. It’s only a mole! Yay!"
It’s only a mole-yay. Your wife’s secret animal is nothing more than a mole, therefore, “Yay!
“Wife” equals MOLE-yay

The more vivid, in fact, the more vulgar, your associations are, the more readily they will probably come to mind. Feel free, in your mental imagery, to take clothes off. Get people naked. Get everybody into bed, in the tub, swinging from vines, or making nominating speeches immersed in bubbling Romanian mud. Get them wherever you need them so that the association you want is readily retrievable.
X-rated images come readily to mind, even to the minds of nice people. (So, train - masculine, train station - feminine...)
Make your associative images lurid and unforgettable."

- Barry Farber: How to learn any language

7) mind mapping
I haven't tried this much myself, but those who believe in it, believe in it very strongly... if one knows how to use it, I can think it would help visual-spatial learners.

Michael on mind mapping - for languages
using mind maps in language learning
claritas lux - mind mapping
using mind mapping to learn languages

P.S: About the other styles of learning.

- "repeat after me"
- read the flashcards out loud
- read stories, assignments, directions out loud
- storytelling
- record yourself speaking
- experiment with voice, tones, accents, volume,
- music
- speeches, talk
- rhythms, chants
- background music when doing silent exercises, BUT WORDLESS AND QUIET
- ask questions
- participate in discussions
- practice discussions
- use a dictaphone
- watch videos
- word associations
- mnemonic poems and rhymes and lists
- learn jokes, anecdotes etc.
- put your notes onto tapes and listen to them

- learn new words by seeing the word written
- visualize things
- write down key words, ideas, instructions
- draw pictures
- color code things
- use pictures, shapes, sculptures and painting
- diagrams, charts, pictures, and films
- written directions and notes, to-do lists, assignment logs; bullet journaling with colors and symbols
- absolutely avoid "visual squirrels" - no visual stimulation other than what is supposed to be learned
- highlighters
- associate symbols with concepts

- touch, build, move, draw - object manipulation
- study while walking
- copy the facial expressions and gestures
- paper flashcards; arrange them in groups, shuffle them, have a pack in your pocket
- write, draw
- use fidget toys while you study
- letter blocks, letter cookies, letter plushies...
- drama presentation
- props
- scrabble, word puzzles where you need to write or circle things on paper
- needs practical information, examples, stories, needs to connect the facts with physical reality
- collections

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