Why am I “visualising ideas”?

Photo by Gil Epstein
Photo by Gil Epstein

As a teacher of deaf and hard of hearing students I’m constantly “visualising ideas”. By “visualising” I mean a multitude of things.

For starters, there’s Sign Language, an absolutely visual mode. When something is large, when you sign you show just how big it is. And its not just your hands involved, its your facial expressions too.

But that’s just one aspect of it. About half my students don’t use sign language (many have cochlear implants). Yet just talking about something (whether using speech, sign language or both) is not enough for these pupils to really and truly understand ideas and concepts I’m trying to teach. Everything is always supported by the written word. In addition I use pictures, graphs or just plain line drawings. And to make those truly “visual” in the students’ minds I need a lot of examples (as closely related to the pupils’ lives as I can). In fact, I even have reading comprehension exercises based on pictures (more about that in another post)!

This need to visualize everything has become such a part of me (I’ve been teaching for more than 25 years!) that even when lecturing to hearing people I use pictures. I must admit the feedback has been very positive! As you see, I’ve even added a picture here!


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