Teaching Visual Spatial Learners
Visual Spatial Children: Learning Disabled, Learning Disadvantaged
or Learning Differently
By Cate Turner
Is it really that difficult to successfully teach a visual spatial learner?
How can a teacher teach to a child that `thinks the world' so differently from the majority?
I use the term `thinks' deliberately here.
Simply stated spatial thinkers are creative or original thinkers.
Left brained or sequential thinkers analyse known facts, reason and progress from simple to complex ideas.
Left brained learning is the `norm' for the everyday classroom.
To teach to a spatial child a teacher has to be open to the idea that there is a different way of learning than the one that he may be using in the regular classroom.
Also absolutely necessary is a belief in the possibility that such children may not necessarily be `disabled', that they may in fact simply be different.
This is an attitudinal concept. If a teacher feels that the child that they have concerns about has a brain `defect' than they will treat the child differently to the child that needs something `explained' in a different manner.
Gifted children, in particular gifted visual spatial learners, are very sensitive to people's perceptions of them and their learning abilities.
Such sensitivity is a key indicator of visual spatial learners listed in Silverman's Visual Spatial Learner Attributes Comparison between The Auditory - Sequential Learner and the Visual Spatial Learner (Silverman, www.gifteddevelopment.com/articles
A parent of a gifted visual spatial girl of 8 tells of how by supplying her daughter's open minded teacher with a book on differentiating the curriculum his (the teacher's) whole idea about teaching was dramatically altered.
Quite possibly Beck's teacher employed some of the ideas outlined below as part of the everyday life of the classroom. It is almost certain that if some of these concepts had been incorporated in Jerry or Pat's classroom than their learning experiences would have been considerably different.
Interestingly when I asked Pat how best he learnt he reiterated Linda Silverman's point about kinaesthetic learning.
or Bodily Intelligence
is another aspect of Gardner's Model of Multiple Intelligences
and in my research, I have found it to be almost inextricably linked to Visual Spatial Intelligence. (Appendix 2 ~ Multiple Intelligences)
One of the most common reasons a child develops an exceptionality in space and vision intelligence is due to a lowered ability to process information in an auditory sequential manner.
Many also develop high levels of body awareness as well. Such individuals learn with their hands more easily than they learn with words. Pat, in his description of how he learns, supports this concept.
In further discussion, Jerry also supported aspects of Silverman's teaching methodology saying that he has to
before he can spell it.
Jerry would have benefited from a Visualisation Approach to Spelling.
I asked Pat what could teachers have done to make learning easier for him.
The key word in Pat's explanation (here and above) is the word show.
Pat would have benefited from being given a visual display of what was expected of him.
In regard to maths, where key elements of learning involve rote memorisation, particularly series of numbers, visual children need to see the whole picture first before they can break it down into segments.
Silverman gets children to complete blank multiplication tables complete with as many shortcuts as possible, enabling them to see the parts of the process which make up the whole.
This process continues on and eventually the child has only a few facts to learn rather than the `huge' amount that initially confronted them.
How much easier would it have been if Pat had been shown this way of multiplication rather than the auditory sequential rote learning?
© Cate Turner 2004-
© APDUK 2004-