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Interview 3: Transcript - Research
Research > Interviews > Interview 3 Transcript
This is the transcript of our interview with Mrs. Selvan.
What is your personal opinion on visual learning?
Mrs. Selvan: Your first question is “what is my personal opinion on visual learning”. And by visual learning you are defining it as strategies and means of communication for the purpose of teaching and learning in a classroom setting, such as the use of mind maps and media. Alright, essentially this is my opinion. Visual learning and all the various means of visual learning is certainly useful, if you consider it in the generic sense. And I think that there are different kinds of learners and there are different learning styles. This is not just hearsay; this is one of the theories of education. So, visual learning will definitely cater to the needs of the particular type of a group of students who are primarily visual learners. They need the visual stimulus and they need visuals to help them to either recall or remember key concepts and understanding.
To continue with my response to your first question about the usefulness of visual learning and the various strategies, I would like to say that despite the fact that you know, there are many other modes of teaching and learning, clearly VL and all the various strategies are definitely useful because not only would it benefit the visual learner, that would clearly be the preferred style of that learner, but it also helps the other learners who are more linguistic or the kinesthetic type of learner in the sense that they will benefit from having a lesson or any kind of text enhanced through the use of a visual. It also offers variety for the teachers and the students. Variety is always useful and generally enhances the interest level and the teaching process.
The other thing about visual learning is that it clearly has a role to play in the whole teaching-learning process. The thing is that it’s also a case where it has potential clearly to benefit and enhance but there is a limitation with visual learning in the sense that sometimes it is inappropriate or the use is too limited, or sometimes the visual is too cosmetic, its static appeal. It doesn’t really sort of increase the depth or the vigor of the learning. These are a few limitations of visual learning. By and large, the visual learner is also associated to the younger learner as opposed to the learners in university or adult learner. It appeals to an age group more; I think that’s the generalization. The other thing about visual learning is that it requires extra help or resources or materials so on and so forth. There is a certain cost involved, as opposed to linguistic learners or where it’s just text or pen and paper or textbook or whatever, where it is very much easier. So the mobility factor is another thing, the possibility of visual learning is a limitation at times as well.
So therefore it’s definitely useful but there are these other limitations which sometimes hinder it as the preferred choice for teachers as well as students. Then, do I think that it is utilized sufficiently in secondary schools? Well I think it is utilized insufficiently in secondary schools and I say this because I think that the use of visual learning is uneven, certain disciplines I think use it all the time. I’m sure you know D&T (design and technology) and the arts classes of course, fundamentals. I think for language learning and I could be wrong here, but I think for language learning and maybe mathematics perhaps the use is less. I think more often than not the linguistic approach and the text you know, pen and paper or just responding to text in mathematics. I’m not sure about science also.
Do I think it is utilized sufficiently in Raffles Institution? I think it is probably is utilized adequately in ri given the time and given the packed curriculum and I think the teachers pick and choose it quite carefully because of limited curriculum time we have to be very careful with how we use the curriculum time. I would think many of my colleagues would use visual learning as a strategy only when it really enhances the rigor of the lesson and if it is just cosmetic it is unlikely. I mean I can tell you for a fact that you know, for me I’ve shared opinions with my colleagues and visual learning is used very very specifically for more than just cosmetic appeal or aesthetic. There must be something enhanced, you know, through this learning process.
And as a language teacher, do I think visual learning is very beneficial? Actually I think I have already answered the question. Definitely there are benefits as compared to other means to learn something, learn a concept or to make concrete an abstract concept and if that can help of course it is beneficial.
So do you think that maybe visual learning should be used as enrichment instead of being like the core subject?
Mrs. Selvan: I think it’s neither, I don’t think visual learning should be supplementary or core, or enrichment. I don’t think that it should be relegated to any particular category, I think that it varies from discipline to discipline, for example in the teaching of arts or maybe even science I suppose its core and it should be, but I don’t think it should be relegated to any category I think it should be more a case where the use of the visual learning should always be to enhance the learning process in a meaningful way and it shouldn’t just be benched on improving the aesthetics of the lesson or cosmetic use or cursory or superficial use or anything colloquial about the use. The use of visual learning must be meaningful and it must attend to the needs of the learner. If it works as a strategy for a certain type of learner, then yes, for that learner it should become core.
So how do you think we can integrate it in the curriculum such that it suits different norms? Because there are other different learners.
Mrs. Selvan: Yeah. So for example, in the design of teaching packages and worksheets, for example like I design one short story, I would have different kinds of response to it, for example a linguistic response, where a student would have to write a response of sorts, a linguistic response. But also create an activity where a student is expected to maybe draw a visual? In the same worksheet, he can draw a visual to consolidate the key points of that particular worksheet. So in that way for that particular activity, with one worksheet I am catering to two different kinds of learners. And again the use of visual learning, not every single lesson can cater to every single kind of learner, it is impossible because there are too many variations and if you attend to so many variations all the time then the learning process might be slowed down. Yes it can be done but not every single hour or every single subject. Then if you have that, the process will become varied and the content delivery might be slowed down tremendously, because each and every learner wants attention from the teacher. So the teacher will have to respond to the visual learner or the linguistic learner or the one who is kinesthetic, you know, the multiple intelligences, to ensure that the learning is taking place there will be a lot of repetition and the students have to wait and take turns and that will slow down the content delivery. Because the teacher is attending to many different kinds, you have to consider the practical issue of time and the efficient use of time.
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