Using Visual Thinking to Understand Complex Concepts in the Classroom
Patricia A. Dunn
Teachers College Press
Drawing Conclusions explores the use of juxtaposed visual representations (JVRs) to help preservice teachers grapple with abstract concepts, theories, or complex controversies in education. Acting as both a learning tool and an intellectual spark, JVRs are two simple contrasted sketches that students produce on a divided sheet of paper. In these drawings, students attempt to visually represent contrasting ideas that the class is struggling to understand (such as code-meshing versus code-switching, descriptive versus prescriptive grammar, peer response versus peer editing). JVRs are powerful tools for the teacher education classroom because they employ active learning and scaffold pedagogical strategies, act as a low-stakes but important formative assessment tool, help students grapple with complex literary and critical theories, and aid in reorganizing and revising a long writing project.
Offers a method for pushing students to higher-order thinking in just a few minutes, helping them analyze critical concepts in English education, writing studies, linguistics, literacy, English Language Arts, and related fields.
Outlines how to use JVRs to encourage students to think in a wider dimension, to use different parts of their brain, and to awaken different neurons.
Provides multiple examples of JVRs to help instructors adapt this intellectually stimulating heuristic to their own classrooms.
Patricia A. Dunn is a professor of English at Stony Brook University.