How to Teach Visual Learners

Ninety percent of learning uses the visual system, so finding the best ways to use visual methods in teaching can make the learning process much more fun and engaging for students.

How to Teach Visual Learners in Olympia

American Family Vision Clinic

Teachers are tasked with molding, shaping, and of course, educating young minds. They are expected to teach reading, writing, arithmetic, and a slew of other subjects that children need to know. Most teachers do not choose their profession in order to teach children how to merely pass tests. Nevertheless, they are required to help their students get good grades in order to pass their classes, standardized exams, and boost overall school ranking percentiles.

Supporting Students in the Classroom

In order to maximize their students’ skills and help them succeed, teachers and educators alike need to be aware of how their students learn and by extension, how to support each student’s personal and academic development. That’s why teachers spend a good deal of time not only developing creative ways to present information, but methods to ensure their students can absorb and process the ways in which the environment they’re in supports these efforts. 

Supporting Students in the Classroom
Visual Learning Ideas You Can Use to Teach Effectively

Visual Learning Ideas You Can Use to Teach Effectively

There are numerous visual learning methods which can be used in classrooms that can make learning not only possible, but enjoyable. By using these methods, students have a greater chance of learning well and performing successfully.

  • The use of visually interactive computer software gives students an opportunity to see ideas in illustrated form. History students can trace the movement of ancient peoples from one land to another, while literature students can better understand “amber waves of grain” in picture form.
  • Charades-influenced word games, like Pictionary for example, enable students to act out or draw what it is their learning. Science students can illustrate “gravity” by acting out something falling on the ground, or by depicting music that describes the concept. Consider the song “Defying Gravity” from the play “Wicked,” for example.
  • Active visualization that allows students the opportunity to close their eyes and conjure an image of what they’re learning, encourages creativity, independent thinking, and critical thought. By encouraging students to describe what they see in their mind’s eye, they can come up with innovative ways of understanding the material that’s been presented to them.
  • Academic material that is heavily illustrated can help learners who do better with presented images versus those they create in their mind. This skill is in many ways its own illustration of the phrase, “a picture is worth a thousand words.”
  • Encouragement of students’ artistic expression allows them to sketch what they’re learning in ways that make sense to them. Math students who have to solve for letter variables, can use pictures of apples or beach balls instead of the letters x or y.
  • The use of math manipulatives that encourage students to measure their physical environments by unorthodox means can make learning creative and fun. Instead of using a ruler or tape measure to define their physical space, students can determine the width of a classroom by how many pencils fit between the walls. What’s more, students can choose what implement to use as a measurement tool.
  • Engaging videos that are age and subject appropriate can go a long way in teaching students about a variety of topics, from colors, to biology, to astronomy. Learning through videos often provides a relaxed environment that allows students to take in a good deal of information in what can feel, though not always, like a day at the movies.
  • Journals in which students are allowed to record the pictures, thoughts, and feelings that come to mind as they learn can provide students with a reference book that helps them tap into what they’re learning and more, how they are processing what they take in.
  • Mind-mapping is a way for students to connect thoughts and concepts through graphs, diagrams, and charts. They can build word and conceptual connections within and between subjects, and improve their overall comprehension of their studies. This can be done on paper or by computer.
  • The Internet has made virtually every topic accessible to students across the world. Google and other search engines afford students who learn visually the ability to understand the simplest and most complex topics in ways they can best process the information.
  • Building models helps students recreate events, scientific concepts, and literary references in ways that make sense to them. It also encourages them to use anything from standard art supplies to things found in nature to tell stories as they see fit.
Supporting Students in the Classroom
Visual Learning Ideas You Can Use to Teach Effectively

Visual Ownership in the Classroom and Beyond

When students have the opportunity to see things as their minds allow, instead of how someone else wants them to, they feel respected, acknowledged, and ultimately learn well. Giving students ownership of their vision and perception tells them that their opinions, beliefs, and individuality are deserving of praise and recognition. It is when children feel both heard and seen that they flourish in school and beyond.

Dr. Zurcher cartoon

When Visual Problems Persist

If children are in an environment that disallows them to learn the way they function best, alternative options may need to be explored. If your child struggles because they are unable to benefit from the visual learning methods listed here, they would do well to be seen by an optometrist who can help them learn well through other means that may include environmental adjustments or vision therapy. No matter what, our goal is to help your child see and appreciate their world, both in school and out. 

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