Two Visual Spatial Learners
Visual Spatial Children: Learning Disabled, Learning Disadvantaged
or Learning Differently
By Cate Turner
Two Visual Spatial Learners
I asked two 39-year-old adult male gifted visual spatial learners about how they learned, school experiences and what they thought about the term gifted learning disabled.
I chose to ask Pat and Jerry as even though they are the same age, in all other respects (personality, attitude, upbringing) they are almost exact opposites.
Jerry is employed in research and analysis at a Sydney university.
Pat is a shop assistant in a hydraulics company in a small country town.
Jerry identified himself as a visual learner and had this backed up by a psychologist specialising in dealing with the gifted. Pat is still coming to grips with the entire concept of being a visual learner - a month ago, Pat had not even heard the phrase `Visual Learner'.
Pat (Person No 2 on the diagram below) was not a (relatively) informed subject when I asked him a series of questions relating to the idea of visual learning.
Pat's answers are thus not an amalgamation of advanced research into the area. His responses are purely and simply how he believes himself to be.
I say this, as Jerry (Person No 1) is very well read in the area and has a greater applied understanding of the `why's and how's' of visual spatial learning than Pat.
Interestingly though, Pat and Jerry gave remarkably similar accounts of what it is like to be a visual learner.
Jerry and Pat - A Visual Representation
Using a linear diagram to define each of the individuals in terms of visual spatial and auditory/sequential giftedness or left brain and right brain learners this is how I believe Pat and Jerry would `appear'.
Briefly, in the first diagram the more to the right the line the more gifted the individual, in the second diagram the more to the left the more gifted the individual.
Visually Spatially Gifted.
This is how they would look in terms of being:
Auditory Sequentially Gifted (Logic and Word Intelligence)
Before analysis of the above diagrams it may be worth explaining a little more about how Left Brain people, Whole Brain people, and Right Brain people actually learn.
Left Brained Learners ~ Auditory Sequential
Most of a left brained learners information is stored in alpha numeric form.
For example, rather than remembering someone by their face they remember them by their name.
If a left brained learner is trying to find directions to Ryde from Collaroy they would more than likely memorise the street names and how many stop lights, roundabouts and turns there are from point A to point B rather than pictorially describe the route.
Information is absorbed by the left brained learner in a sequential manner - rather like an algebraic equation: if J = 10 and P=15 than P + J = (quite obviously) 25.
Rather than seeing the `big picture', left brained learners see the world in piecemeal form and need to have each piece in place (in order) before they can proceed to the next step.
Whole Brain Learners ~ A relatively even mix of both auditory and visual
Whole brained individuals have the best of both words as they have an ability to shift the task at hand to the side of the brain that most suits the style of processing to be done.
Right Brained Learners ~ Visual/Spatial
If a right brained learner is asked to remember an event they are likely to flash to an image and remember it in minute detail. Street directions are given by sight recognition, “You go past the Oak factory and turn left at the Vita Wheat factory,” rather than by detailing street names.
Such learners regularly master the big picture or larger concept as a first `step'.
Later in their processing they go back to fill in the blanks.
As they are spatial and three dimensional in their thinking right brained thinkers are more at home drawing or creating, than holding conversations or report writing.
Right brained thinkers have an incredible ability to hold images in their head for extended periods of time.
Are we all just one or the other?
At this point I feel that it is important to note that just about everyone thinks to some extent in pictures - it is not an ability that is strictly limited to a fortunate few. This statement is particularly true for many gifted individuals.
So, whilst an individual (gifted or not) may function in a predominately left brained manner chances are that visualisation is implemented (in some shape or form) without ever realising it.
Just in the two examples of Jerry and Pat it can be seem that a person may be an amalgamation of many learning styles. There are many children sitting in the classroom learning quite proficiently in an auditory sequential manner - yet these children may be equally at home learning kinaesthetically, visually or even musically.
These children are not being given the opportunity to participate in a well rounded learning environment. Such children may surprise the teacher when they are given the opportunity to explore their other learning abilities.
Relating this to the diagrams
At first glance this may seem a confusing equation. Though to summarise, on a scale of giftedness relating to visual spatial
, both are on the right (creative side of the brain) although at differing levels of ability.
When they are placed on a scale to determine left brain or auditory sequential giftedness
Person 2 is oriented more toward the left indicating a moderate level of giftedness in that area.
Person 1 remains at the right side of the scale indicating that he is not as gifted in that area as Person 2.
(I emphasise here that this is my own determination of each individual.)
As the diagrams indicate, Pat and Jerry are different in their overall learning styles - yet both are visual learners
© Cate Turner 2004-
© APDUK 2004-