Visual Thinking in Education
While discussing the state of the current education system within this article, I think it’s important to note that I am making reference to the education system as a whole as we know and understand it. There will of course be exceptions within any area of study. Some schools, programs and/or classes do not typically reflect the nature of the education system. These are however outliers. These schools, programs and classes are the innovators and builders of the new visually oriented world of education. All credit goes to the work that they are doing. However, for the purposes of this discussion let’s bundle education into one category that we will explore here within this article.
The State of the Education System
For over 100 years now the school education system has been focused on teaching kids three fundamental things: reading, writing and arithmetic. Now, nobody will argue that these are important areas of study. We certainly gain a lot of value from learning these critical life skills. However, I personally believe that there is a missing piece within the way we educate kids. I call this the BIG Visual Void.
I’ve already discussed how we are hardwired to think visually. I’ve also presented you with three studies that show the value of doodling and visual forms of thinking. Please do have a read of these articles to get more background information about this topic. I personally believe that visual thinking skills should be taught within the school system just as readily as reading, writing and arithmetic.
Consider for a moment that 75 percent of the neurons in our brain are hardwired to process information visually. I can of course understand that when we write and read that we are using our visual sensory processes. However, the human brain naturally craves more visual stimulation. For instance, a bunch of text on a page will not stimulate the brain as readily as text intermixed with images, symbols, graphs, charts, icons and doodles.
Many kids today are struggling at school because we are missing an important piece of the puzzle. They are struggling because we are failing to teach them optimal ways to use their brains. Instead we leave it up to them to figure these things out for themselves.
Students the world over are not realizing their full potential because they haven’t been taught how to use their brain to its full potential. And that’s a problem because with kids under-performing at school they eventually end up under-performing at life, and that not only hurts them but hurts society as a whole.
The Consequences of the Big Visual Void
When a child is struggling at school, we often lay the blame on the child who seems bored and has difficulty concentrating for extended periods. It’s of course not the teacher’s fault or the fault of the education system. It’s all on the child, and maybe in some ways blame also goes on the parents for allowing things to this stage. God forbid they might assume that the child has some kind of learning disability.
Boredom and difficulty concentrating are early signs that the child’s brain is simply not being stimulated in the right way in order to get them excited about what they are supposed to be learning. This is by no means a learning disability. It’s rather a teaching disability. It’s up to teachers and the education system to introduce methods of teaching that help stimulate interest in a subject. The child is certainly not to blame.
This problem of course stems from the fact that there is a lack of creativity in our methods of teaching. When we encourage creativity we stimulate the imagination and that by itself can make a seemingly boring topic interesting. However, under most circumstances kids aren’t encouraged to think creatively and therefore they rarely use their imagination while learning, and this of course leads to poor thinking habits, poor memory and recall of information, and essentially ineffective learning habits.
Is it any wonder that kids today are struggling at school?
Kids must come to understand that visual language and expressing themselves visually is a natural part of being human. Understanding how to use these visual skills opens doors to a world of incredible opportunities. In fact, kids will gain a superior advantage when they eventually enter the workforce if they are taught how to develop their ability to think creatively and solve problems using visual language skills.
Here’s What Needs to Change
I personally believe that the school system must provide a platform that prepares kids for the real world. This platform includes the following:
First, we must teach kids how to strengthen their imagination. Strengthening imagination, of course, comes through methods that will help stimulate the brain in a multitude of ways. Doodling and introducing kids to visual thinking principles is the most optimal way to do this.
Once imagination is strengthened, this naturally improves a child’s ability to think creatively. Understanding how to think creatively will of course further stimulate their imaginations. As a result they will be able to work through problems much more effectively. And because they can now deal with problems this encourages them to think more critically about their life and circumstances.
With these three elements in place, a child will be in a more optimal position to cope with and handle everyday emotions. As a result they will be better able to handle conflict while interacting with others. And then with all these skills in place they will be far more capable of overcoming the plethora of adversity and problems that life often throws our way. And of course overcoming adversity requires imagination, creativity, critical thought, etc.
However, in order to overcome adversity each child also needs to learn how to make better decisions. And of course making better decisions comes down to the practice of foresight, insights and hindsight. The three critical decision-making skills that will prepare them for the real world.
Visual Thinking is the Answer
Visual thinking provides the perfect platform where all this becomes possible because it helps bring thoughts to life, thereby allowing kids to develop the necessary hindsight, insight and foresight required to make better, smarter and more creative decisions about everyday problems.
These skills can of course be taught in a multitude of ways. However, in order to accelerate this process there is no better way to teach these critical life skills than through the methods of visual thinking. A combination of the doodle, self-growth and visual thinking tools can very quickly lay a solid foundation for a child’s future.
Finally, it’s important to understand that we are entering a new technological world built upon ideas, visuals, creativity and imagination. We are entering the age of innovation, and tomorrow’s innovators will be the visual thinkers of today.