I Think in Pictures, You Teach in Words:
The Gifted Visual Spatial Learner (Note: all quoted from this link)
Every few years, this post finds it's way into my psyche...I really should study the whole thing, just to see what's up. For the first time, I noticed this morning that they are speaking of talent development. I'm homeschooling, but I'm at a loss as to where to go with Ben. It's like a dead end street, teaching as a public school teacher would, because, well, in truth...if you take a look at the article...it's NOT the way he learns. It would be an exercise in frustration, the same as school was. I'm thinking....THIS is why our kids are singled out, whereas in the past, they weren't recognized, just thought to be "slow" maybe. Schools can't take much more. They are, by design, only meant to teach a certain type of child. They can't take responsibility for not being able to teach certain children. It has to be the kids fault. Luckily, for them, most children can obtain an education from them so it confirms their viability. Unlucky for the kids who don't fit their mold.
This article describes Benny to a "t", his gifts, which are creativity, humor, sense of space, wholistic thinking, associative thinking....everything a school tends to squash. His "deficits", basically, pen and paper drills, which make up 90% of school. Makes me think maybe his biggest deficit IS the public education system. I will not lie: when I recieved my degree in Special Ed, I couldn't wrap my little mind around visual thinkers. I was hoping I wouldn't have any in my class. I would bet my bottom dollar that a good share of kids without mental retardation in special ed classes are visual thinkers. Too bad for them.
I'm thinking now, that I can be quite a hypocrite. I'm singing the praises of my child's unique learning style...while a part of me would be relieved if he could be "healed" of it's difference. Why???? Because it hard, and a lot of people with autism can't survive alone, as a person of a more typical nature does without trouble. Maybe it's shame that he'll be "on the county dole". Or blue collar. He has always voiced a fear of being homeless if he can't produce. I've been raised classist, as well as racist, the child of a wealthy (eventually) business owner educated in private schooling. I remember the day I let go of my racism...It was literally "washed away". I need to "wash away" my doubts in my son. He's going to take the road less travelled, not by choice but by nature.
Well, anyhow, I have quoted parts of the article, just to give you a sense. See if you recognize your child as I did mine.
The following characteristics will help in the identification of gifted visual spatial learners. However it should be noted that not all gifted visual spatial learners will match all these characteristics:
Likes complex ideas and tasks and does well on them, yet often fails at simple things
Is physically sensitive, often has acute hearing and intense reactions to loud noises.
Poor listening skills, often seems not to be listening
Has difficulty finishing tasks/school work
Has poor handwriting or difficulty keeping in the lines or grips the pen very hard and presses on the paper when writing
Loves Lego, puzzles, jigsaws, computer games, television, making things
Likes art and/or music
Has a poor sense of time
Is extremely sensitive to criticism
Is emotionally very sensitive
Has difficulty with spelling/times tables
Can remember the way somewhere after going there only once
Has a vivid imagination and/or disturbing dreams
Is very disorganised.
Left Brain Mode
Verbal: Using words to name, describe, define
Analytic: Figuring things out step-by-step and part-by-part
Symbolic: Using a symbol to stand for something e.g. the sign + stands for the process of addition
Temporal: Keeping track of time, sequencing one thing after another
Rational: Drawing conclusions based on reason and facts
Logical: Drawing conclusions based on logic: one thing following another in logical order
Digital: Using numbers as in counting
Linear: Thinking in terms of linked ideas, one thought directly following another, often leading to a convergent conclusion
Right Brain Mode
Nonverbal: Awareness of things but minimal connection with words
Synthetic: Putting things together to form wholes
Concrete: Relating to things as they are at the present moment
Nontemporal: Without a sense of time
Nonrational: Not requiring a basis of reason
Intuitive: Making leaps of insight, often based on incomplete patterns, hunches, feelings or visual images
Spatial: Seeing where things are in relation to other things and how parts go together to form a whole
Holistic: Seeing whole things all at once; perceiving the overall patterns and structures, often leading to divergent conclusions
(Springer & Deutsch, 1989)
Whereas left brain thinking is step by step linear thinking over time, right brain thinking is an holistic system where all knowledge is interconnected in space. When left brain thinkers are asked the answer to a question, they will look for the right answer based on the facts at their disposal.
When right brain thinkers are asked a question, they usually respond with some form of “Tell me more/it depends”. As all their knowledge is connected, they can see many paths to differing answers and they want more information to help them decide which path to take to the required answer.
This divergent thinking is the hallmark of creativity but may not be understood in school where achievement is often seen as having the right answer. As Jeffery Freed says “Because one of the attributes of right brained thinking is a non-sequential divergent form of thinking, their minds often veer into unusual and different territory.
This can result in illogical or often unsubstantiated conclusions. On the other hand, they may view a problem from an entirely different angle, leading to new breakthroughs and discoveries” (Freed, 1996, p16).
The last quoted bit from the article follows. I will try to correct the html, but may just make a mess, which would make me sad, because THIS is where I recognize Ben's way the MOST. It's right there in black and white.
The following table lists the strengths and weaknesses of the visual spatial learning style.
• thrives on complexity • poor auditory memory, does not
remember three step instructions
• systems thinker • difficulty memorising facts; poor at
subject areas that
equire rote memorisation
e.g. biology, foreign languages
• high abstract reasoning • struggles with easy material
• loves difficult puzzles • poor at calculation
• keen visual memory • difficulty learning phonics
• creative, imaginative • difficulty with spelling
• good sense of humour • low word recognition
• better at mathematical • performs poorly or not at all on timed tests
analysis than computation
• better at reading comprehension • difficulty learning mathematical facts
• better at geometry than algebra • inattentive in class, easily distracted
• better at physics than chemistry • disorganised, forgets details
• fascinated by computers, • hates drill and repetition
especially computer graphicsNow, I could say, "How did they know my son?????", except I had a student in special ed 20 years ago who had almost exactly the same thinking style. Same weaknesses, same strengths.
• avid television watcher • "forgets" written homework assignments
• loves music * submits short, sloppy work of poor quality
• day dreamer - rich fantasy life • handwriting laboured and difficult to read
• elaborate doodler • impulsive, tends to act first and think later
Source: Linda Silverman (1997)
This stuff fascinates me...hope I can learn from it.