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Using Visual Aids

Visual aids help make your instruction meaningful for students. Visual aids help you reach your
objectives by providing emphasis in a different way than speaking. Clear pictures, graphs, or models multiply your students level of understanding of the material presented, and they can be used to reinforce your message, clarify points, and create interest.

Visual aids engage your students and require a change from one activity to another: from

hearing to seeing and sometimes touching. They enable you to appeal to more than one sense at the same time, thereby increasing your student s understanding and retention level. !ith drawings, posters, transparencies and other visuals, the concepts or ideas you present are no longer simply words " but words plus images.

Many low-cost options exist for visual aids, including the chalkboard or whiteboard, overhead

transparencies, flip charts, photographs and flannel boards. #emonstrating a process or simply passing around a sample of some equipment or model are also effective ways to clarify messages visually. $f visual aids are poorly selected or inadequately done, they will distract from what you are saying. The tips listed below will help you in the selection and preparation of visual aids.

Tips on Preparing Visual Aids Make sure your visual aids support your objectives before selecting the visual aid(s). Remember that visual aids are only tools for instruction. oo much emphasis on visual aids can distract from instruction. !sking yourself how visuals will help your students learn what you want them to learn will help you plan their incorporation. Each element of a visual aid (a single transparency or a page of a flip chart) - must be simple and contain only one main idea. "lacing more than one idea on a single image confuses your students and decreases the impact of the visual. Keep visual aids B !E". #etermine the di##erence bet$een $hat you $ill say and $hat the visual aid $ill sho$. #o not read straight from your visuals. Ask your students to read or listen% not both$ visual aids should not provide reading material while you talk. Rather% use them to illustrate or highlight your points. &f possible% give students paper copies of various graphic aids used in your presentation. hey will be able to write on the paper copies and have them for future reference. emember the importance o# variety& Using the same #orm o# visual aid #or every lesson decreases the e##ectiveness o# that tool& Use variety to maintain student interest& 'se local photographs and e'amples when discussing general problems and issues. (hile a general problem concerning welding safety% for example% may elude someone% illustrating with a photograph or example of local welding practices can clarify the issue. 'se charts and graphs to support the presentation of numerical information. #evelop sketches and dra$ings to convey various designs and plans. (hen preparing graphics% make sure they are not too cro$ded in detail. #o not overuse color. )ee that line detail% letters% and symbols can be seen from the back of the room. !# you have handouts% don(t let them become a distraction during the presentation. hey should provide reinforcement of your ideas and you should create opportunities for your students to refer to them during instruction. *anding them out after your lesson%

decreases the likelihood that your students will actually read them unless re+uired to do so. The )halkboard or *hiteboard !lways face the classroom when you use the board , even when you write. Rather than turning your back to the class while you write% and talking to the board% you should learn the skill of standing to the side and writing. (rite clearly and legibly. 'se large letters and be sure those in the back can see. -ive your students time to take notes. "ause periodically to let them reflect% to ask +uestions% or simply to copy down what you have done. "lan how you will use the board. )tudents use your work to take notes (if you do not believe this% ask to see one or two notebooks after a class)% so poor organi.ation hurts them. (ill you put your agenda to one side and then build an outline on the rest of the chalkboard/ 0an you erase details while leaving the main points visible/ )tructure your work. 1ou can use headings% colored chalk% circles% underlining and different styles of writing (block letters% all caps% etc.) to help students see different sections and concepts. &f% in working through a problem on the board% you make an error% do not 2ust erase it. )top% alert your students that you have made an error% and ask them to find and fix it. &f you use the board to list students3 comments% do so verbatim$ change a student3s words only if he or she agrees to the change. The +verhead Projector and Transparencies &f possible use laser printers or copiers to produce transparencies% allowing you to directly copy graphs% charts% diagrams and photos and bring them to class to illustrate important points and enliven discussion. &f you prepare your transparencies ahead of time% you can usually make them neater and more organi.ed than if you were writing on a board. 'se 4bullet points5 rather than full paragraphs. 1ou will avoid falling into the trap of reading to your class. his also helps students take notes in outline form. !void putting too much information on any single transparency. 6ach transparency should be used to illustrate a basic concept. &f you have a more complicated concept% use multiple% simple transparencies. !void using too many transparencies. More than 78 or 79 transparencies during a onehour class can overwhelm students with information. )tructure your transparencies as you would a chalkboard. 'se headings% underlining% different typefaces% etc. &f possible% employ color to help students see your outline . (rite on blank transparencies during class occasionally as an alternative to the chalkboard. he overhead pro2ector allows you to face your students during instruction. Make sure the image is focused correctly and check occasionally that the image is aligned with the screen. 6ach letter should be 7-9 centimeters tall to be visible in a typical classroom

"lip )harts 6ach sheet of paper should contain one main idea% sketch% or theme. (ords% charts% diagrams% and other symbols must be penned in a large enough si.e to be seen by people farthest from the speaker. 'se and vary the color& !lso% check from a distance to make sure the color works well and is not distracting. 0ompleted flip chart sheets can be hung around the room for reference at later times. "repare headings on individual sheets before class as a way to structure instruction. +bjects and Models :ringing an actual physical ob2ect (tools% plants% soil% feed% etc.) into the classroom can greatly increase student interest and understanding. (hen actual ob2ects are too large for the classroom or too small to see% try to find or create models that approximate the actual ob2ect. (hen using ob2ects and models% keep the activity as interactive as possible. (hen you find that you;re spending a ma2ority of your time lecturing to the students about what to do or how things work% try to think of ways you can get them working through ideas in groups% lab% interactive lectures% etc. 0reate opportunities for students to touch the model as appropriate. &f you choose to pass the model around the room% wait until it has made its way to all students before moving on with the lesson. )tudents can3t explore with their hands and eyes and listen at the same time. &nclude students in the development process and<or provide opportunities for them to experiment with the model or modify it. his can increase students; understanding of the model and its relationship to the physical world. 0reate opportunities for students to analy.e and comment on the model. his increases their understanding of the relationships between different inputs and rates. )tress that models are not reality and that a model;s purpose is to help bridge the gap between observations and the real world. Photographs (hen actual ob2ects or models are not available% photographs work well &f passing photographs around the room% follow the same guidelines as with models and avoid advancing instruction until all students have seen the photograph &f possible% enlarge the photograph into a poster or on an overhead transparency so all students can see the photograph while the teacher describes it !void trying to support too many concepts with the same photograph as this can become confusing for students "hotographs can be effectively used to do the following= 0ompare historical events or practices with current ones &llustrating concepts or ideas that are unobtainable locally :ring local images familiar to students into the classroom to make instruction more real !sk students +uestions about what they think caused the situation they are viewing

!sk students to predict what they think will happen next in scene represented "oint out safety ha.ards that cannot be replicated safely "ictures of diseased plants or animals are excellent for making preliminary diagnoses "hotographs can be used to assist students in identifying different types of plants% animals% e+uipment% etc.

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