Icons and Images
By Busy Beavers
Podcast #3 – Icons and Images
Dave here, Busy Beaver guy,
This is the third Newsletter in my "Getting Kids Excited About Education" series. This is about learning with pictures and sound instead of letters and words.
You can watch this as a Podcast on our You Tube Channel.
In University I encountered the concept "Semiotics" and a quick Google-Wiki refreshed my memory. Semiotics is the study of how signs represent meaning. That is a real key element in my Busy Beaver teaching method.
The principle idea of all of the lessons is to communicate what's going on in each picture without reading the words.
Images are a great way to communicate across all languages and cultures because they are universal. If we see a picture of a puppy sleeping, we all think "cute" regardless of what language we speak. Simply put – a picture says 1000 words.
When we consider the fact that we spend a great deal more time in our lives "reading" images as opposed to text it's no wonder that humans are predisposed towards images and icons over written words.
Yet so many people believe that in order to learn how to speak a new language we need to sit down and pour over a book filled with confusing words – Is that how you learned to speak your native language? Or did you learn it through using it?
I've had students who after 3 years of English lessons still couldn't read. They disliked English and often acted up in class because it frustrated them. I removed all of the distractions (pencils, jackets, back packs etc.) sat them down at a table and showed them flash cards. Then I asked questions and taught them to answer in full sentences.
The students picked up the new skill quickly, because it's simple, but more importantly the kids who couldn't read suddenly became much more engaged. Now they were on the same level as the kids who could read and they were a lot more confident to speak up.
My point is that in learning a new language – shouldn't the emphasis be placed on speaking first?
Native speakers of any language learn the spoken word before the written one.
If we're studying math we need books and pencils. If we're studying a language we need images and sound.
By Busy Beavers
July 18th, 2011