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Presentation on theme: "EFFECTIVE TEACHING: THE VISUAL THINKING STRATEGIES."— Presentation transcript:




4 How VTS was developed The Key Players Dr. Abigail Housen, Cognitive Psychologist, Harvard, retired  Daughter of a cognitive psychologist and art historian  Began researching thinking in 1979 while on staff at Harvard  Was looking for a way to help students who struggle in the classroom  20 years gathering data – Aesthetic Development Interviews (ADI)  Developed pilot methodology with museum educator Philip Yenawine  Began testing theory and refining the process  Presented and published her findings in 1999 – Eye of the Beholder: Research, Theory and Development  1993-1998 ran 5-year study in Byron, Minnesota  1998 published findings of Byron study indicating that after 5-years of VTS, the test students demonstrated significant growth in their critical thinking  Co-Founded Visual Understanding in Education with former museum educator, Philip Yenawine  Housen continues to do research into cognitive and aesthetic development and thinking

5 The Other Player Philip Yenawine, Co-Founder Visual Understanding in Education, semi-retired  While working as educator at Museum of Modern Art, NYC, Yenawine began to question the efficacy of museum education specifically with children  Introduced to Dr. Abigail Housen  Began to work with Abigail on the Visual Thinking Strategies  Housen & Yenawine built on the research of their predecessors: Rudolf Arnheim, Jean Piaget, Lev Vygotsky, James Mark Baldwin, John Dewey, et al  Co-founded Visual Understanding in Education with Dr. Abigail Housen  The title, Visual Thinking Strategies is named in honor of Arnheim whose research led him to write convincingly about the connection between visual perception and thought – ‘visual thinking’  Continues to lecture, research, write, and speak about the ability of VTS to develop critical thinking and nurture student achievement

6 Research Studies 2005: Artful Citizenship Project: The Three-Year Project Wolfsonian, Miami, Florida 2003-2007: Thinking through Art; The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum School Partnership Program Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston, Massachusetts 2000-2002: Aesthetic Development and Creative and Critical Thinking Skills Study, San Antonio Public Schools San Antonio, Texas 2003-2008: Aesthetic Thought, Critical Thinking and Transfer Byron Public Schools and Minneapolis Museum of Art Byron, Minnesota 20 additional reports of findings available


8 Writing Sample Pre-VTS, 4 th Grade student, struggling in all courses Syracuse, NY

9 Post-VTS – 6 Lessons

10 Cont…

11 Writing Sample – VTS Year 1 3 rd Grade Students, San Antonio, Texas, ELL Crack the Whip – Winslow Homer


13 Writing Sample – VTS Year 2 4 th Grade Students, San Antonio, Texas Family of Saltimbanques, Pablo Picasso


15 CONNECTING VTS TO THE COMMON CORE STATE STANDARDS “Students who are college and career ready in Reading, Writing, Speaking, Listening, and Language…exhibit with increasing fullness and regularity these capacities of the literate individual” (CCSS, 2010, p.7). Information provided property of Visual Understanding in Education Students demonstrate IndependenceHow VTS supports Independence They comprehend & evaluate complex texts across a range of types and disciplines They construct effective arguments They convey intricate or multifaceted information They articulate their ideas & build on others’ ideas They discern speakers’ comments They request clarifications They ask relevant questions They demonstrate command of the English language They acquire/use a wide-ranging vocabulary As self-directed learners, they seek out & use resources including teachers, peers, print, & digital media Works of art are complex visual texts from a wide variety of mediums & forms; art subject matter spans all disciplines. In VTS, students construct meaning from & evaluate these complex texts, supporting interpretations with visual evidence as they construct effective arguments. They articulate intricate & multifaceted information as they communicate ideas & build on those of others. They listen intently to others, discerning key points which may support or refute their own interpretations. They request clarifications & ask relevant questions as they work to comprehend what they see. VTS teachers model correct English language & scaffold wide-ranging vocabulary through paraphrasing. As they critically examine art, students seek out & use resources such as teachers, peers, prior knowledge & experience, and visual evidence from the work to construct meaning.

16 Students build Strong Content Knowledge:How VTS builds Strong Content Knowledge They build a broad knowledge base by: o Engaging with a wide range of subject matter o Engaging with works of quality & substance They become proficient in new areas through research/study They read purposefully & listen attentively to gain general & discipline- specific knowledge & expertise They refine & share knowledge through writing & speaking The wide variety of complex visual texts discussed during VTS help students expand their knowledge base and are selected for their quality and substance. The viewing, reasoning, & discussing of these texts constitute purposeful and meaningful research, and questions unresolved during VTS authentically motivate further independent and/or collaborative research. As students visually “read” works of art and listen attentively to gain general & discipline-specific knowledge and expertise, they refine, revise, and share their knowledge orally during the VTS discussion. They may continue to do so through various forms of writing & speaking after the VTS discussion concludes. Property of VUE

17 Students Respond to Varying Demands of audience, task, purpose, and discipline: How VTS helps students Respond to Varying Demands: They adapt communication to audience, task, purpose, & discipline They set/adjust communicative purpose as warranted by the task They appreciate nuances such as: o How audience affects tone when speaking o How connotations effect meaning They understand that different disciplines require different types of evidence VTS teachers scaffold content-specific language & vocabulary through modeling & paraphrasing; also by inviting students to explain vocabulary & concepts arising within the discussion that others might not understand. VTS teachers stress respectful discussion & debate within the VTS context which affects speaking tone & register. They further model how to adapt communication to the audience, task, purpose & discipline. By selecting VTS images that depict a variety of contents & disciplines, teachers provide opportunities for students to discover that different disciplines require different types of evidence. Property of VUE

18 Students Comprehend as well as Critique:How VTS helps students Comprehend & Critique They are engaged & open-minded, but discerning readers & listeners They work diligently to understand precisely what an author/speaker is saying They question author’s/speaker’s assumptions & premises They assess the veracity of claims & soundness of reasoning By inviting students to share their unique interpretation acceptingly, VTS teachers encourage & nurture student engagement. Recognizing art’s multiple interpretive possibilities as they listen to the diverse ides of others, students are given opportunities to contemplate the sufficiency, veracity, & soundness of evidence during the VTS discussion as well. This encourages open-mindedness, but also critical thinking that inspires lively discussion and respectful debate. Property of VUE

19 Students value Evidence:How VTS helps students value Evidence: They cite specific evidence for oral & written interpretations They use relevant evidence to support own points in writing/speaking They make their reasoning clear to reader/listener They constructively evaluate others’ use of evidence Evidential reasoning is a hallmark of VTS. Question #2 requires evidence to support interpretations. Paraphrasing by the VTS teacher and requests for clarification from teacher and peers help students express their thinking with increasing clarity. Respectful disagreements reinforced by supporting evidence help students constructively evaluate others’ use of evidence during VTS discussion. Property of VUE

20 Students use Technology / Digital media strategically & capably: How VTS supports Technology / Digital media use: They use technology to enhance reading, writing, speaking, listening, & language use They tailor online searches to efficiently acquire information They integrate online & off-line learning They understand strength/limitations of various technologies They select/use appropriate technology mediums/tools The addition of computer-based student writing, journaling, and/or blogging assignments to extend the VTS discussion could serve to reinforce students’ thoughtful, effective, and efficient use of current and emerging technologies. Technology-based research to answer questions arising during the VTS discussion could provide opportunities to integrate online & off-line learning and to authentically discover the strengths & limitations of various technology tools & mediums as well. Property of VUE

21 Students understand Other Perspectives & Cultures: How VTS supports understanding of Other Perspectives & Cultures: They recognize/appreciate diverse cultures, experiences, & perspectives in the classrooms & workplace They actively seek to understand diverse perspectives & cultures through reading & listening They communicate effectively with diverse others They critically & constructively evaluate diverse points of view They vicariously inhabit diverse worlds & cultures through experiences with great classic & contemporary works of literature representative of a variety of periods, cultures, and worldviews Another hallmark of VTS is its ability to reveal the diverse interpretation, viewpoints, and ideas expressed in works of art and those voiced by peers during VTS discussions, promoting understanding, sensitivity and respect that can transfer over time from the classroom to the workplace. Such acceptance of diversity will also facilitate effective communication within the classroom and beyond as students develop skills to critically and constructively evaluate divergent points of view. Thoughtful selection of a wide variety of classical and contemporary artworks representing various time periods, cultures, worldviews, and mediums allows students to vicariously inhabit the diverse worlds of the artists during VTS and expand their understanding of other perspectives and cultures. Property of VUE

22 Summer Workshops HIGHER THINKING SKILLS: The Visual Thinking Strategies Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday: July 30, 31, August 1, 2013 Or Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday: August 13, 14, & 15, 2013 9 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. each day SB-CEU/SCECH Credits Available Additional Information in your Packets Or register online at “This is a great way to place strong emphasis on visual thinking and verbal retrieval. I encourage my students to think through their problems using their thinking skills. I enjoyed watching & hearing them draw conclusions!” Teacher comment following VTS tour at DIA.


24 Questions? “I LOVED how she taught us to LOOK at the art and challenged us to express what we saw and felt. I was pleased that she also let the students know it was ok to see and feel different things about the same piece of art. I personally would have never gotten as much out of this experience had I gone on my own. I probably wouldn’t have taken as much time at each piece.” Teacher who organized field trip for VTS tour of DIA




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