Archive for March 3rd, 2012


Teaching Pictures as a Form of Communication

March 3, 2012

Reading a picture

I am not sure how this blog post link landed on my computer but this is soooooooo interesting (to me) in this day of discussions around literacy, Common Core State Standards, and integration. Educator, Zac Chase has a blog called Autodizactic, on February 23rd he made a post called If a picture’s worth a thousand words, isn’t art class more valuable than reading?

He was visiting the Boston Institute of Contemporary Art with his students. In his past he thought about images as second rate; the written word was the end all. And he admits that that is the way of the world. His thinking has changed and the post is about his transformation and I’d say still transforming. If you are a visual art educator I know you teach the messages/communication of creating a piece of artwork. If you are a music, dance, or theater teacher I know you teach the value of communication through the art form. For the most part, this is second nature to visual and performing arts teachers. Perhaps you teach this in a more intentional manner.

I am reminded of my graduate course in literacy. It was the first time I had thought deeply about what literacy is and my understanding and perspective were broadened. For years I had taught interdisciplinary units that were connected with writing but I didn’t realize that literacy was so much greater than communicating by writing and reading.

If you don’t already, go beyond your content and think about how important what you do is to other content for students’ learning. Not just as a teaching tool to help facilitate student learning but also as the way many students do learn. Have a discussion with colleagues on this topic. But before you do, I suggest you read Zac Chase’s post which might help you understand how a teacher of another content might think about this notion. And, also read the comments under his post which include some of Mr. Chase’s thinking as well.

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