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Visual symbols are representations of direct reality, which comes in the form of signs and symbols. The following is a
detailed discussion on the different kinds of visual symbols, which are drawings, sketches, cartoons, comics or strip
drawing, diagrams, charts and graphs, maps, and posters.

Rules of Thumbs in Using Visuals

1. Visuals must be directly relevant to the audio content.

2. Redundancy between visuals and audio must be avoided. If words are displayed, viewers must be given time to read it.

3. Visual displays should be big enough to be seen by the farthest pupil.

4. Visual displays must be attractive.

5. Visual displays must be aesthetically presented to maintain good taste.

Kinds of Visual Symbols

1. Cartoons

Cartoons tell stories metaphorically through pictures, which need no captions. Symbolism conveys messages, less words
more symbolism the better. The cartoon presents a certain issue or concern which could be either for or against it.

It is a pictorial representation or caricature of a person, idea, situation or issue that is designed to influence public opinion.
Therefore cartoons must be presented in a challenging manner. For better understanding they should be drawn around a
single idea.

Suggestion for the use of cartoons

a. Appropriateness to experience level. The age and the experience or maturity of the target learners must be taken into

b. Simplicity – contains only the essential features. The cartoon must not contain so many details.

c. Brevity of captions if ever but they may not be given any. Short and direct captions are used when necessary only.

d. Use of clear symbols. Use symbols that are conventional, like; the dove to mean death; the turtle to mean slow or
sluggishness and others.

e. Adequateness of size. The cartoon should be big enough to be seen and appreciated.

Cartoons could be used for motivation, for follow-up activity and for evaluation purposes.

2. Posters

A poster is combination of bold designs and color primarily intended to catch attention on a significant fact, idea or
message. Simply stated, a poster is a picture with appropriate caption.

Characteristics of a good poster

1. It must be bold and simple but dramatizes features.

2. It must be appropriate to the grade level and to the subject and purpose and purposes.

3. It must have only limited text, few words are generally used and key words are made to standout by means of type size
or position.

4. It must be attractive, pleasing to the eyes.

5. Design and color must be given consideration.

Composition, color and technique are principal elements in effective poster preparation. It requires a center of interest.
Color provides meaning and expression as well as beauty.

6. It must have elements of dynamism and shock.

Posters are best used for motivation and for creative experience as depicting ideas, concepts and generalizations to
summarize a celebration or a unit.

3. Drawings and Sketches

These are crude and simple lines, which are effective in showing what needs to be shown with sufficient clarity, to make
the meaning vivid to learners or students.

They are drawings with no illusion of depth but a smart teacher can use them in a very effective way in explaining and
showing ideas and concepts.


Diagrams are simplified drawings designed to show interrelationship primarily by means of lines and symbols. They are
used to explain rather than to represent. It is a drawing that shows arrangement and relationship, as parts to a whole,
relative values, origins and developments, chronological flow, fluctuations and distributions.

The diagram is used to condense visual summaries of facts; the ideas rely heavily on symbolic means. However it must
be remembered that it is more effective if it has a strong foundation because it works better for summarizing rather then
introducing a lesson. It can be used singly but it is better if it is used simultaneously with other materials.

5. Charts

Charts are graphic or pictorial representations of a large mass of information or show progression thru time and space of
people or events, ideas and objects.

Kinds of charts and examples

1. Data chart – contains items of information pf all sorts especially quantitative data.

2. Pictorial chart – use relevant pictures to present data or information on quantifiable data over a specific period or
3. Schematic chart – shows a principle or a law as applied like that of refrigeration

4. Diagrammatic chart – verb chart is popular example

5. Multiple leaf chart – internal working parts of a machine

6. Phantom view chart – shows hidden parts of a machine without obliterating the outer parts

7. Development or progress chart – profile of a place or a person

8. Table chart – bus trips

9. Time and tabular chart – presidents and their term of office

10. Stream or tree chart – family tree

11. Flow or organizational chart – school personnel chart, life cycle of a frog or the water cycle.

6. Graphs

Graphs present quantitative data for easier analysis and interpretation. It shows comparative relationship of data involved
in size, trends and growth. Graphs are best used in developing and in summarizing a unit.

Kinds of graphs

1. Line graph – is the most accurate of all graphs used in plotting trends of relationships between two series of data. It is
used when there is a considerable number of data to be plotted and if these data are continuous

2. Bar graphs – simplest of all graphs to read. They are represented either by vertical or horizontal bars. The lengths of
the bars represent an amount or percentage data. It is best when number of values to be compared is small.

3. Circle or pie graph – the sections of which are used to represent component parts of a whole. They always present total
amounts, their parts or segments are calculated in percentage or fractional parts of a whole.

4. Area or Solid graphs – use for the simplest quantitative comparison thru the use of geometric shapes. It is used to
compare two or three related totals.

5. Pictorial Statistics or pictograph – it makes use of related pictures in showing quantitative data. Pictures give realism
and interest so it is widely used specially in the elementary grades.

Principles of Pictographing

1. Simplicity – picture used must be simple
2. Comparison of relationship must be strikingly seen
3. Approximates rather than precise amounts are represented
4. Pictorial symbols used must be self explanatory rather than by the size.

7. Strip Drawing or Comic Strip

Strip drawings are recommended for their story value in adaptation of the classics. They are affective in instruction not
only because they are simple, clear and easy to read but because they deal with materials that has been made personal.

Comics is a form of cartooning in which the same cast of characters form a story in sequence of closely related drawings,
designed to entertain the readers. They are usually enjoyed by elementary pupils as well as secondary students because
of their simplicity, attractiveness, color and relevant plot. The uses of super heroes or fantasy themes add interest to the
learners. Thus the use of the comic strip in facilitating instruction must be used to the maximum.

Values derived from the strip drawings

1. Increases interest in the subject
2. Individualizes and personalizes instruction for certain types of pupils
3. Serves as a valuable practice in reading
4. Widens reading interest

Reasons for using comics strip

1. It is easy to read so it encourages reading
2. It builds vocabulary
3. It satisfies the collectors’ interest in acquiring copies
4. It provides excitement
5. It is inexpensive
6. It satisfies the children’s idea of art

8. Maps

Maps are usually shown on flat surface and are used to represent the surface of the earth or some parts of it, showing the
relative size and position according to scale or projection and position represented.

Maps according to content

a. Physical map – also called relief maps, they are the best because of their three dimensional representation; which
includes geographical outline of land and water. Commercial or economic maps- also known as product or industrial map
since they show land area in relation to the economy.

b. Political map – shows national boundaries down to the smallest division

Maps according to form

a. Chalkboard outline map
b. Student outline maps
c. Projected maps
d. Wall maps (decorative maps)
e. Atlas – collection of maps
f. Sand table map
g. Pictorial maps

Standards in judging maps

1. Visibility – details are clearly seen and read
2. Detail – less detailed maps are better
3. Scale – marks are clear, dependable and easily interpreted
4. Symbols – not too many to be remembered
5. Color – should be used as an aid to reading it
6. Accuracy – in terms of its specific purposes
7. Grade level relevance
8. Print – is legible or readable
9. Durability – can stand several use

Purposes for which maps are being used

1. To enable students to understand both relative and exact position of political units, land masses and political area.
2. To furnish information concerning areas, distances, directions, shapes, size and relationships
3. To provide orientation and means of visualizing large and remote areas
4. To clarify materials
5. To provide visual basis or comparison and contrast
6. To provide means of regional synthesis
7. To provide interest and stimulation to learn more about people, geographical influences and places
8. To enable students to trace movements, migration and distribution of people, vegetation, animal life and culture
9. To serve as one method of study for recording purposes
10. To provide an ‘object test’ means for certain types of measurements
11. To furnish means of self-expression in unit and project study.

Points to remember in utilizing maps for teaching

1. Make sure that the pupils or students comprehend the purpose of the map
2. Promote or develop positive emotional attitude
3. Allow ample time for pupils’ first look
4. Make sure they understand map symbolism