I wanted to continue from an earlier post on Visual Literacy since the Issue Brief is fast approaching and visual literacy is a key component to my argument as to why the arts, music and art, are so important to have in the education system today. It needs to stop being cut because its so important!
WHAT VISUAL LITERACY IS AND HOW IT’S USED, SPECIFICALLY THE SEVEN STANDARDS TO IF (YEAH ITS OFFICIAL, IT HAS ALOT OF STANDARDS AND SUB STANDARDS), I’LL SUMMARIZE THEM HERE……..
For years the definition of visual literacy remained an uncertainty, until now. As more research was implemented and discussed, a solid definition of what visual literacy is and what it entails arose from the American Library Association. The Association defines visual literacy as “a set of abilities that enables an individual to effectively find, interpret, evaluate, use, and create images and visual media.” This definition found on the ARCL website clears up any uncertainties regarding visual literacy and goes on to explain how people are considered “visually literate” and how students and teachers alike within higher education should be implementing visual literacy into their lives, education and curriculum. They go on to further stress its importance, “Scholarly work with images requires research, interpretation, analysis, and evaluation skills specific to visual materials. These abilities cannot be taken for granted and need to be taught, supported, and integrated into the curriculum” (American Library Association). The image has become a prominent aspect to learning and interacting in daily routines, however it has grown into a way to understand other cultures and other viewpoints.
The greatest misconception is that visual literacy was primarily set for the art classroom, while that is not a wrong assumption, it is not taking into account all of the uses of visual literacy in this ever growing world which we inhabit. Both teachers and students can find ample support from its various uses as they use visual aids both inside and outside the classroom. Susan Britsch, author of the article “Visual Language and Science Understanding: A Brief Tutorial for Teachers” further stresses why it is of utmost importance that this be implemented in all classroom and not just the art studio, “If teachers understand how to read visual compositions in an informed way, they can see how these function as part of the child’s construction process. This knowledge and an understanding of literacy enable the teacher to offer new possibilities and new tools, broadening the context that the child brings to the experience.” This quote at the conclusion of her article ties perfectly into the Seven Standards of Visual Literacy; if teachers and students embrace the use of this concept they can gain a deeper understanding of visuals and the critical thinking associated with it.
The Association’s Seven Standards of Visual Literacy provide a few in depth examples of how visual literacy is used in both the classroom as well as everyday routines. The Standards begin with the ability to articulate a need for an images, “The visually literate student defines and articulates the need for an image” and elaborate further in mentioning that the student should also be able to research, locate, and cite from images that may prove useful to them in whichever project or analysis they are involved in. This shows that the student is aware of the wide array of images sources and is cognizant of the scopes of meanings behind those images also; whether it is cultural, social, political, or historical contexts, visual aids can have more uses than just advertising. The third Standard does mention that a visually literate student learns how to analyze images based on the technical and design components within a particular image, which presents aspects that seem more necessary to artists, however, being able to decide on and further discuss the motivations behind why something is placed or colored the way it is proves very effective in learning successful evaluation and interpretation based on further research. The last Standard involving analyzing images is Standard Four. Being able to notice the design elements of a visual image allows for discussion on aesthetic aspects. This allows for students to learn motivations of artists, why was this placed here, why is their text accompanying this, what purpose are they trying to convey or accomplish here? These are simply a few questions that can arise in a discussion of a visual aid, and these deeper meaning questions enhance critical thinking skills, analysis, and interpretation skills as well. As the Standards illustrate, the realm of visual literacy involves more than just observation of artistic mediums, it encompasses the abilities to analyze, discover, research, and utilize visual images to support projects or ideas the student or instructor may be presenting to a larger audience.
The role of visual studies has expanded into a broader spectrum, forcing people to notice visual literacy more than ever and use it. Brian Kennedy narrates a short video What is Visual Literacy? , that elaborates on how visual literacy works and how humans become visually literate. He notes that our world is growing increasingly “visually saturated”; meaning that images are all around, spanning from classical artworks to stop signs. Kennedy presents the differences between visual literacy and all the other literacy categories by describing the history of visual literacy and by providing the definition of it as the process of sending or receiving messages primarily through images (something skillfully utilized in the video itself). Kennedy is emphasizes that visual literacy is a form of critical thinking and not a skill, our sense of sight is one of the most important senses we have as humans and it is an integral part in our education, learning, and daily living processes.
My sources if you wish to continue researching what I hinted at here.
“ACRL Visual Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education.” ACRL: Association of College and Research Libraries. American Library Association. Oct. 2011. Web. Feb. 19. 2015.
Britsch, Susan. “Visual Language and Science Understanding : A Brief Tutorial for Teachers.” Australian Journal of Language and Literacy 36.1 (2013): 17-27. Web. 2 Feb. 2015.
Kennedy, Brian. What is Visual Literacy? Toledo Museum of Art. 12 February 2015. Video.