Why do we remember faces and objects, but often forget names and written words? That’s because the human brain understands things which are concrete and visual, thus processing and remembering pictures much better than words, sentences or sounds. Visual thinking is key to effective learning and long-term retention.
Before beginning a new topic or even a course, it is important to help students to “clearly see” and understand where they are in terms of their current knowledge on the subject. Plus, it helps to start with a creative ice-breaker activity which could help team members better understand each other and communicate effectively.
The Vision-sketching activity is one of such engaging activities. All what instructor needs to prepare is a set of crayons and some sheets of large sized paper. This works perfectly with a class size of 8 students and more.
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to arrange this activity:
- Teams comprised of 2-5 students formed.
- Each teams gets a sheet of paper and a set of colored crayons or pencils.
- Teams are asked to brainstorm and come up with possible answers to the statement “If […topic here…] was a picture, cartoon or symbol, it would look like […the result of team’s creative thinking…].
- Then, they draw that image together using their drawing tools. To ensure that all team members actively contribute to the process, it could help if each team member picked up one or two unique colors to help their team with illustrating.
- The most important rule for creating Vision posters is that “there are no rules”. Thinking outside the box and imagination is highly encouraged.
- Once finished, teams make a quick presentation of their findings and illustrations.
Here’s an optional follow-up activity.
At the end of the class or the course, teams could use the back side of their posters (or use existing picture) to draw an additional element based on what their have learned during the class or course.
Below are some examples of posters which my students created during the Summer Intensive course on “Japan in International Organisations”. The statement which they had to discuss and base their illustration upon was: “If Japan’s participation in international organisations was a picture or cartoon, what would it look like?”
Poster #3: This team imagined Japan’s engagement in international organizations through the UN framework in which Japan was illustrated as working actively together with its key strategic ally – the U.S.