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1. Visual Thinking Strategies

1.1. "All learning involves STAGES where knowledge is incomplete and understanding limited." Abigail Housen and Philip Yenawine

1.1.1. Stage 1: Accountive Viewers (storytellers) focus on concrete observations, emotions, what is known, what is liked.

1.1.2. Stage 2: Constructive Viewers (criteria builders) use logical tools like perceptions, experience, values, and knowledge of craft, skill, effort, function, etc., to determine value

1.1.3. Stage 3: Classifying Viewers (art historians and critics). Analytical, critical, decoders, categorical, understanding the context (place, school, time, style) to provide deeper meaning.

1.2. Conversational Strategies for Discussions

1.2.1. Feldman's Approach Description (Elements, materials, subjects) Formal Analysis (Principles, Focal Point, Composition) Interpretation (What is going on? Theme, symbolism, artist intent, style) Evaluation (Craftsmanship, technique, aesthetics, communication, relationships, responses)

1.2.2. Housen and Yenawine Take a moment to look What is going on? What do you see that makes you say that? What more can we find? Final comments

1.3. Visual Thinking Strategies Curriculum

1.3.1. Accessibility (recognition and trust)

1.3.2. Captivation (interest)

1.3.3. Expressive content (open to interpretation)

1.3.4. Narrative (looking for stories)

1.3.5. Diversity (flexibility and appreciation)

1.3.6. Realism (stylistically accessible)

1.3.7. Media (understanding techniques and responses)

1.3.8. Subjects (narrative groundwork > build to combinations with less obvious subjects)

1.3.9. Sequences (simple > complex)

1.3.10. Series and Themes (unity, relationships)

1.3.11. Image Selection Select images that are appropriate/accessible for the visual literacy level of students/viewers. Will they be adequately challenged but not overwhelmed? Do they have the necessary background knowledge or experience to make meaning of these images?


2.1. What is it?

2.1.1. What does it look like? Social Phenomena Research guided by Aesthetic Features Mediums and methods carefully chosen and designed to communicate and facilitate further discussion and questioning. Expanding on a topic (not focusing) Overarching themes with explicit or implicit connections that prompt discussions.

2.1.2. Gestalt Theory: the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. What are the connections, and how do we make meaning with the information we have access to?

2.1.3. "The Arts teach us to See, to Feel, to Know"

2.2. How is it used? (Purpose)

2.2.1. Goal: New questions, not correct answers "Save some space in your mental life for the ambiguous" -William James

2.2.2. Prompting audiences to ask more questions and discuss possible meanings.

2.2.3. Promoting insights that would otherwise be unavailable or not considered.

2.2.4. Diversification of Perspectives NEW PERSPECTIVES REQUIRE NEW EXPERIENCES Rethinking assumptions Encourage empathy for "otherness"

2.2.5. Noticing and Awareness entices discussion of subtle interactions within complex social phenomena. Vicariously re-experiencing the world and lived experiences through art forms Attention to external realities can facilitate awareness of internal realities.

2.3. Who can benefit from it?

2.3.1. Audience: Who is it designed for? Is the research method, presentation, subject matter, media, etc. appropriate for the target audience to allow them access? Is the research "filtered" in the way it is communicated to the audience (mass media)? Social Researchers New methodological tools allow diversification of viewpoints, as well as types of questions, research, and understanding that are made possible using new tools. Subjects of the research People whose lives are "revealed" by the work. Artists Involvement of audiences to facilitate social awareness and potential changes. Educators Focus on humanity and learning experiences, not just data points Embedding memories through experiences, not just direct instruction. Policy Makers How can we help those in positions of power see things from a new perspective to influence change and acceptance of diverse experiences as valid and important? Opens discussion for potential solutions to public policy issues. General Audiences (Public) Are they prepared for the experience? Are there opportunities provided for reflection and discussion? Socially driven quest for plausibility.

2.4. What makes it valid research?

2.4.1. What makes it "real" research? Does it help us rethink an important social issue, and reinsert HUMANITY? Does it help us make meaning of social phenomena through connections? Does it help us re-search and revisit a phenomena to increase understanding?

2.4.2. Quantitative (standards) or Qualitative (criteria and characteristics)? Standardization=Assumptions We cannot understand the complex by oversimplifying or omitting that which is "messy". Life and social phenomena are messy, and require time, questioning, and even paradoxes to be made sense of. Most human experiences are NOT explicit and quantifiable.

2.4.3. Does research require measuring something within very specific and controlled parameters? Is all knowledge collected and experienced this way? NO! Intuition, Gestalt, Subjectivity, all provide meaning, but are not easily measured.

2.4.4. Science and Art are two sides of the same coin, looking at life using different experiences and methodologies. Remaking the Maker: the tools we use shape who we become and what we come to understand. All research should be open to uncertainty (it is only "highly probably true") and further research and interpretation from different viewpoints.

2.5. Benefits and Limitations

2.5.1. Politics and Ethics

2.5.2. Kickback from scientific research community Fighting for validity (Quantitative research CANNOT provide all answers)

2.5.3. Diverse viewpoints revealed (Iceberg)

2.5.4. Understanding HUMANITY, not just DATA (Complexity!)

2.5.5. Is ABR useful for my research purposes? If I can design a study or ABR experience to explore the benefits of emphasis and instruction in Visual Literacy using various strategies. My conclusions may be too directed to qualify as ABR: I want to encourage curriculum and/or policy changes, not just conversations about what visual literacy is.

3. What is it?

3.1. High level of consciousness about what we see: Alertness, "Wide-Awakeness"

3.2. Perception: Attention to detail, relationships, nuances, changes.

3.3. Looking below the surface of an image for possible meaning and plausibility of understanding.

3.4. The ability to "read" an image, to make sense of the connections between all it's parts, the method of creation (medium), and it's context.

3.4.1. Mediums mediate meaning

4. Why is it important/necessary?

4.1. Imagery is filtered by our consciousness (lenses and bias): How do we develop conscious sensitivity to images, their meanings, and their influence?

4.2. Perceptions change: What we see in one viewing will not always be the same (based on situation, context, experience, new insights)

4.3. "Art is a way of encoding knowledge about complex issues." "The quest for certainty is a hopeless pursuit." -John Dewey

4.4. Imagery communicates on conscious and unconscious levels: What messages are we perceiving, and how do we respond?

4.5. Skills transform a material into a medium. No skills = No Technique. No technique = No effect (communication doesn't happen)

4.6. "The ability to deal meaningfully with visual art is not the same as the ability to deal with music. Each form of representation has it's own demands and exacts it's own requirements. This suggests that... students will need to be prepared in more than one 'language'." -Tom Barone and Elliot Eisner

4.7. What determines the "rules" for the visual language we teach? What visual cultural references should be introduced? What strategies for interpretation should be taught?